The internet runs riot with romantic holiday ideas in the run-up to Valentine’s Day, with barely a thought spared for those of us who won’t be walking in to the sunset hand-in-hand with our loved one.
Image by James Willamour on flickr
But not celebrating Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to mean staying home alone. Instead, forget the loved-up crowds of Venice, Paris and the honeymoon island of Koh Samui and book a trip that celebrates your solo status.
“There doesn’t have to be a compromise on where you go, what you do or when you go to bed if you don’t want it!”
Remember, you’re only as alone as you choose to be when you travel solo. You could find a travel buddy for all or some of your trip and flit between alone-time and company on a city break sprinkled with chats to a fellow culture lover in a museum. Adventurous trips could mean long treks alone or white-water rafting as part of a team. A group tour or a learning holiday brings a ready-made group of companions, some of whom could become life-long friends or future travel buddies.
Here are 9 trip ideas that won’t make you feel out of place when you travel by yourself.
- With its geysers, Maori culture, white-water rafting and forest canopy tours, and mineral spring hot pools Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island could be truly romantic – if only it didn’t smell so bad. The passion-killing stench of rotten eggs makes Sulphur City a great place to visit when romance is definitely off the cards!
- Lose yourself in the anonymity offered by an enormous city such as New York or Berlin. City breaks are perfectly pitched for the solo traveller. You can spend hours ogling your favourite work of art, or skip through the gallery at a pace another traveller might consider rude! If you don’t feel like dining alone, set up a meet-up and chat to like-minded women in your city of choice.
- Ireland’s famous welcome is all the warmer for solo travellers so pull up a stool at the bar in an Irish pub and order yourself and your neighbour a pint of Guinness. If you’re lucky, you might catch a traditional Irish music session and come away with some friends for life.
- When the focus of your break is on developing a new skill, the pressure is off you and the other members of your tour group to be entertaining, or even likeable! You can pour your energy into learning a new language, instrument or craft without worrying about how well you get on with the rest of the group. There’s a pleasing side effect to this approach though – you’ll likely find it easier to bond with other people when you share a hobby or common purpose. Join a self-improvement trip
- Build your break around a watersport and you’ll find that your solo status is a bonus. There’s only room for one person in a kayak after all! Plus, you can improve at your own pace, take to the water to practise whenever you feel like it and benefit from one-to-one lessons (or two-to-one if you go with a travel buddy). The communities that have built up around lots of watersports, such as paddleboarding, are usually highly sociable too. See all Adventure trips
- Don’t automatically rule out a cruise because you’re travelling alone. Yes the single supplement can be a budget killer, but there are ways around it. Aurora Expeditions has no single supplement for sole use cabin on select voyages. On other trips you could use their cabin mate finding service to help keep costs down, or there are plenty of cruise-loving potential travel buddies right here in the Thelma & Louise community.
- There are plenty of tour operators that meet the needs of solo travellers. Try One Traveller, which specialises in trips for solo travellers over the age of 50 - and with no single supplement! Those in the 30-40 age bracket looking for boutique, small group adventures could try Flash Pack, which puts travellers in a group tour in touch via a private WhatsApp group before the trip so you can get to know each other.
- If you really want to revel in your solo traveller status, try a silent retreat and completely disconnect from the world. After dedicating time to looking after your own wellbeing, you’ll return a calmer, more in-tune friend, partner and relative. Join a spa break
- Go on a road trip. It doesn’t matter whether you’re driving Iceland’s Ring Road, following Chile’s Route 11 or cruising along the USA’s iconic Route 66. What’s important is that you are calling the shots, from detours to toilet breaks – with input from your travel buddies, if you choose to fill your car with friends!
If solo travel isn’t your thing, gather a group of friends or join one of the trips currently being planned by the Thelma & Louise community. You can blow big fat raspberries in the face of Cupid together!