Travelling alone

Travel Forums General Talk Travelling alone

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1. Posted by TravelPhilipp (Budding Member 3 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Currently it's hard to travel, but anyway I wanted to get some tips from you experienced travelers:

I used to go on vacation with my parents and now I would like to travel alone soon. I have a few questions on the subject:

- How and when do you pick out what you want to do on your vacation? Where do you find inspiration for your activities?

- Does it make sense to use something like Expedia, travel agencies or TripAdvisor?

- Do you think it is possible to meet cool people when you go on vacation alone, or should you go on vacation with people you know?

2. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 2527 posts) 2w 1 Star this if you like it!

>How and when do you pick out what you want to do on your vacation? Where do you find inspiration for your activities?

I almost always travel alone and have done so for almost 20 years so I think I'm pretty experienced now. :-)

For inspriation I research countries/locations which meet my personal interests and are within my budget: historical sights & sites, interesting towns and cities, places to walk and explore. I check out public transport options and investigate possible daytrips from my base. I've visited almost 40 countries so far and hope to add a few more when the present situation improves.

>Does it make sense to use something like Expedia, travel agencies or TripAdvisor?

I've never, ever felt the need to do so....and, to be honest, travel aget/travel website pricing is almost always much better for couples than for solo travellers. It's often difficult to even find options for solo travellers on such sites. I'm used to paying more than half the price (solo travellers are always penalised in that way) but I'm certainly not prepared to pay the full cost for two people when it's just me!

It's very easy to research flights using https://www.skyscanner.com but, once I've decided which flight & fare suit me, I always book on the airline's own website. Why? Because if there is a cancellation or other problem it is much, much more difficult to get things resolved if you book through a third party. If, for example, you book a flight through e.g. Expedia or a travel agency the airline contract is with Expedia or the travel agency and not directly with you.

I always use https//:www.booking.com for my accommodation. It's long-established, thoroughly reliable and lists hostels, b&bs and self-catering options as well as hotels. Most importantly imo its reviews can only be posted by people who have booked through the site and completed their stay. I would never use Tripadvisor because imo its reviews simply aren't trustworthy. Anyone can post a review on TA: they don't even have to have stayed in the place!.

The only time I use a travel agency is if I want to join an organised tour. For example, I've used the excellent Voyages Jules Verne for small group tours in Jordan and North Cyprus.

>Do you think it is possible to meet cool people when you go on vacation alone, or should you go on vacation with people you know?

Whether you meet people (not just 'cool' people) really depends on two factors: how gregarious you are and where you're based. If you visit a small, less-touristy place you're less likely to meet people than if you stay in a larger, tourist-focused resort. Wherever you are (including at home) it's up to you to take steps to meet people (e.g. by going to clubs, bars, taking part in organised activities etc). People won't just magically find you: you have to find them! :-)

I'm perfectly happy in my own company but if you're not like that it's probably best to go on holiday with people you already know.

[ Edit: Edited on 21 Apr 2021, 20:19 GMT by leics2 ]

3. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1742 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

- How and when do you pick out what you want to do on your vacation? Where do you find inspiration for your activities?

We find a lot of places from books we've read. Occasionally we see photos or tv shows but usually places from books. We've had recommendations from friends but not too often.

- Does it make sense to use something like Expedia, travel agencies or TripAdvisor?

If I were doing a very complicated trip with multiple visas, several airlines and lots of hotel bookings, I might consider a travel agent. I used one for business travel for a few years until I discovered I could travel a lot cheaper without an agent. When we go together which is most of the time now, I do all the research and booking. I use kayak.com to look for flights but then book directly with the airline in case there is a problem . . . like a volcano in Iceland stopping all flights in Europe for days on end. Things happen and it's nice to go directly to the airline and let them take care of it.

Accommodations are a bit different. If we're staying just a few days, I book hotels through booking.com (that you can access directly through TravellersPoint BTW) because you can easily find places that allow free cancellations. That was very useful when COVID hit. We didn't lose any money. However, we normally rent cottages for a week up to a month in different places and it depends where we're going. I always use Gites de France in France. Many people don't realize you can use booking.com for apartments and cottages but we've had great luck with them for that too although in Italy we will look for an Agriturismo. We've tried B&Bs (also on booking.com) but don't like them because they serve breakfast too late for us. We like to get up and out early. Generally, you're safe on booking.com for nearly any kind of accommodation. Set the filters for what you want.

- Do you think it is possible to meet cool people when you go on vacation alone, or should you go on vacation with people you know?

I've never worried about cool. Often cool people aren't so cool and uncool people are very interesting. Just meeting people of any kind is fun. We've both found it much easier to meet people when we are traveling alone. If you are by yourself, people seem to feel it's easier to approach you and start a conversation. When you are a couple, people tend to leave you alone unless you start the conversation. If you are in a larger group, people often find the group intimidating or even annoying. If you like meeting people, go solo.

4. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2286 posts) 2w 1 Star this if you like it!

Quoting TravelPhilipp

How and when do you pick out what you want to do on your vacation? Where do you find inspiration for your activities?

I look for new experiences. The word "vacation" (or in my country "holiday") conjures up images of lying on a beach doing nothing. I was about 30 before I discovered the difference between that and travel. Now I look for the stimulation of seeing something of other cultures, as well as looking for exciting landscapes - mountains, glaciers, volcanoes, hot springs, etc.

I like to go with the flow and enjoy finding random things while travelling, but limited time away from work means that I often have to plan a trip in detail beforehand. So I use this site, and Google Maps, and Wikivoyage, and Wikipedia, to happen across interesting things and places, which often gets added to a trip.

Does it make sense to use something like Expedia, travel agencies or TripAdvisor?

Nah, those are mostly trying to sell you stuff. I like to make my money go further, so I usually go for "independent travel", so no travel agent and just put something together for myself. If I'm flying into a country, I'll have researched how the locals get out of the airport, and I'll be on the airport bus into town. Straight away that's a bit more interaction with colourful locals than being on a tourist coach surrounded by my countrymen. Backpacking and staying in hostels means you see more interesting things, and more people, at lower cost. It also bumps you into other people doing the same thing, so it's usually easy to have some company.

Do you think it is possible to meet cool people when you go on vacation alone, or should you go on vacation with people you know?

There are two things you should do to meet fun people when travelling alone.

1) Stay in hostels. Lots of people travelling alone who are often friendly and up for someone to travel with for a while. Oh, it's not what it used to be, because of smartphones and wifi - people used to be lonely and seek out company, but now a lot of them are sitting in the common room murmuring into their netbook to their friends back home.

2) Book on a tour. The main upside of a backpacker tour is that you spend enough time for a group to gel as a bit of a family - you end up looking out for each other against sellers hassling you to buy stuff, and you get used to each other and sometimes make friends. (There are also plenty of downsides of tours and I wouldn't suggest doing them for all of your time. They cost more, and they compete to tick off the most sights and activities so that means they are often hurried and you don't get the time to see a place as you would choose.)

Once Covid is out of the way there's a lot of fun to be had travelling independently.

With your empty profile you've not given us many clues what you may enjoy seeing and doing. Your use of the word vacation suggests you may be American? I'd try to see something different to back home. What interest you? South East Asia is cheap and has a thriving backpacker scene. Europe is packed with culture and history and also has plenty of backpacker life. New Zealand is full of scenery and adventures.

5. Posted by TravelPhilipp (Budding Member 3 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Thank you for your detailed and very helpful answers!

I have got some more questions and I would really appreciate if you could share your experience on these topics:

- What bothers you most about vacation preparations?
- What negative experiences have you had with group travel?
- Who do you go on vacation with?
- Do you like to go on group trips?

6. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2286 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

That sounds more like questions for a school project than a traveller looking for guidance?

7. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 2527 posts) 2w 1 Star this if you like it!

I agree with Andy.

Your first questions were were logical for the circumstances you stated.

Your second lot of questions cannot possibly be relevant to you personally and are obviously just information-gathering.

I'll happily reply to genuine travellers who ask genuine travel questions but I won't help people who use this (or any) site for covert surveys, homework, university projects or to help with their own blogs/websites/travel agencies/tour companies.

[ Edit: Edited on 22 Apr 2021, 17:34 GMT by leics2 ]

8. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5592 posts) 2w 1 Star this if you like it!

@TravelPhilipp: Since I see no other likely explanation for your questions other than you indeed doing this for school, please inform your teacher that they should really discuss ethical guidelines around pretending to be someone you're not when relying on people online for gathering information.
I'm not blaming you for this, but I'm definitely blaming your school for not giving you the necessary information to go about this properly.

9. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1742 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Andy, If you check his profile, he seems to be from Germany. I'm not sure how they refer to vacations/holidays/vacances.

10. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2286 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Beausoleil

Andy, If you check his profile, he seems to be from Germany. I'm not sure how they refer to vacations/holidays/vacances.

Indeed, but it makes little difference if it was a faker doing a school project and wasting our time.