Blog, Travel Tips, & News

The Joy of Solo Travel

The joys of solo travel-featured image-PP

Last month I sailed on Windstar and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and particularly enjoyed having my own stateroom while I traveled with a friend. That inspires this week’s article about solo travel (and the announcement of a new group cruise with solo cabins for women only)…

The Joy of Solo Travel

One of the growing trends in travel, of which I am happy to partake, is the increased interest in solo travel.

And when I say solo travel, I’m talking about someone traveling in individual accommodations, not sharing the typical double occupancy hotel room or cruise stateroom.

I have become a huge fan of solo travel over the years. Obviously, I travel a great deal and I do a lot of traveling on my own, checking out a destination prior to escorting a group or evaluating certain experiences and cruises. Particularly in the last few years, I’ve done a number of cruises solo, and I have to say I love it.

The main reason is the joy of having a room all to myself. I can just make my own schedule – if I want to stay up late and read a book, or sleep late, take a nap in the afternoon – I’m not impacting anyone else. The bathroom is all mine. I can take a shower whenever I want.

This part sounds bad, but it’s really cool not to have to be considerate of other people. When I’m in my own room, I’m not negotiating the temperature in the room, if the TV’s on, or who gets into the bathroom first.

The other aspect about traveling solo is I don’t have to consult on activities as I would with a companion, where we would likely feel the need to find the shore excursion that we both want to do. On my own, there’s no discussion or compromise, I just pick what I want to do and off I go.

We’re seeing more and more interest in solo travel, from folks who may be on their own, or may have a spouse who doesn’t want to travel, while they want to continue to explore the world.

Solo Travel Options

When you’re truly traveling by yourself, I will say that it’s actually easier than you may think.

For folks who are interested in a land tour, an escorted land tour is a great way to be a solo traveler. On a land tour there are a number of group sightseeing activities and group meals, which creates a common experience for everyone, and an easy way to meet your fellow travelers. I found that most travelers are very welcoming of solos, and it becomes very easy for an individual traveler to feel like they have a group of people to hang with, balanced by that time alone in their rooms.

It’s a bit different on a cruise, as most people are traveling on their own, either as couples or individual travelers. As a solo traveler not part of a broader group, I think the cruises do a really nice job of facilitating the travelers in single occupancy staterooms.

Typically, they will have gatherings or cocktail hours, specifically for the solo travelers, which is a good way to meet other solo folks that are on the cruise. Some you might really hit it off with and find that you want to go to dinner, but the way it’s handled gives you that freedom of making your own choices of who want to hang out with.

One of the things that I really like is that a number of cruise lines encourage shared dinner tables, which is not really just about solo travelers. Johnny and I choose that option pretty much every time we take a cruise. When you walk up to the host stand for dinner, they’ll ask if you would like your own table, or if you would like to share a table. We usually pick to share the table, as it’s a wonderful way to meet new people and have an interesting dinner conversation with; for a solo traveler, this shared table concept makes it very easy to have an enjoyable dinner with potential new friends. There are a variety of cruise lines such as Seabourn, Regent, Azamara, Oceania, and Silver Sea, who will do a shared dinner table.

What about 200% Single Supplement?

So, if solo travel is so great, why doesn’t everybody do it?

The downside is the single supplement, which is an upcharge for single occupancy, and it can be up to 200% of the cost of the double occupancy price.

That can be very expensive, but you have to understand the concept.

Think about a hotel room. If you go check into a hotel room and it’s $400 a night, if a couple checks in, but that equates to $200 per person. If an individual person checks in, it’s $400 a person. If you extrapolate that concept for a land tour, or a ship, and the different tour inclusions and activities, you can understand that there is a higher cost to an individual person using a hotel room or a cruise state room, versus two folks that share that same space.

Usually for the land-based tours, the cost is higher, but not 200% of the cost. While the hotel costs will be higher, when they’re calculating other components of a land tour, like attraction tickets or meals, those are based on the cost of one person. There will be a single supplement to count for the hotel room, but it won’t be double the cost.

On a cruise, that’s where you see these higher single supplements, because they really are replacing two people in a room with one person.

More and more cruise lines are focused on solo travelers. The new Crystal cruise ships that were just renovated added single cabins as a new category without a single supplement, and Oceania’s latest ship includes a solo cabin category with balconies, which is highly unusual.

Many of the solo offers from cruise lines tend to be the lowest category of the ship, an inside room or in the lower levels. Every once in a while, they will have solo offers with some of the higher cabin categories.

Solo with Friends

One of the best ways to do solo travel is ‘solo with friends’, where you get the joy of having your own room, but then you also have some other folks to hang out with when you want to – for dining or sightseeing. It’s the best of both worlds. Choose to do your own thing or choose to be with others.

Last month I did Windstar’s Legendary Winter in the Med cruise because I had not been on that ship, and I was curious about the concept of the Mediterranean in winter.

I traveled with my friend Debbie who’s a travel advisor in Florida, and we each had our own room, which we kept proclaiming as awesome. We liked having our own space, but it was easy to kind of check in with each other. Some days we did things together, but more days we didn’t. Occasionally we would lunch together.

Every night we would meet for drinks in the lounge, and then we would go to dinner, sometimes just the two of us, and sometimes joining some other people.

The staterooms on the Windstar motor yachts (max of 312 people) start at 277 square feet, which is a very nice sized room, and we were able to get a French balcony, which often is not offered for solo travelers.

Sisterhood Sojourns: Recess 4 Women

We loved it so much that we started working with Windstar to create a special group with solo accommodations – Solo with Friends.

I’ve been wanting to start a ‘Women’s Only’ travel series for years, and now is the time.

We worked with Windstar and have a block of specially priced solo cabins to introduce my new ladies-only travel series: Sisterhood Sojourns: Recess for Women.

Next January 2025 we are going to do the same itinerary I just did, from Barcelona to Rome along the Riviera, because it appeals to so many interests – history, culture, shopping, wine, cuisine, more shopping.

We have a block of solo occupancy staterooms, including the Star Balcony Suites(that picture is their normal cabin size, whether ocean view or french balcony).We will have a few double occupancy rooms for folks that have somebody they like to travel with, but this group is focused on the ladies who want their own room, would like to travel with other ladies and have a lovely cruise experience in Europe.

We have a limited allocation of these specially priced solo rooms, so we’ll start an Interest Waitlist and open registration access to those folks first, and then five days later will open the registration online.

We are going to be doing a Cruise Overview Zoom Presentation on Tuesday March 5 with our representative from Windstar, but if you already know you want to go, on March 1 we’ll provide access to early registration for those on the Interest Waitlist.

Sign up for the Interest Waitlist and/or the Zoom presentation here: Sisterhood Sojourns Interest Waitlist

Access to registration will open for the Interest Waitlist on Friday, March 1, and general registration will open on Wednesday March 6 if staterooms are still available.

Planning Solo Travel

For those who are interested in traveling solo, whether it is on a land trip or a cruise, please reach out. It is a delightful way to travel, and we’d love to assist. There are a variety of options and offers that could be a good fit. Don’t hesitate to contact us if that’s something you’re interested in.