Is a solo holiday for you?

Solo travel is fast becoming an incredibly popular travel choice. But what sort of person goes it alone on holiday?

By Saga team

Published 3 May 2024

Shot of a group of senior people hiking together out in the mountains

Some people say it takes a certain type of personality to embark on a holiday alone. In a way that's true: there are a number of traits people who travel alone probably possess if going it solo is your cup of tea. For instance, if you're a seasoned travelling-solo pro, you'll likely have a reasonable sense of self-confidence (inherent or acquired) and a penchant for adventure.

But solo travellers come in all shapes, sizes and personality types – and there are many reasons why people find more pleasure in solo travel than travelling with friends or family.

Introverts and extroverts can derive equal pleasure from going solo and, depending on which one you are, you'll find your own way to deal with other people whilst on holiday. The experience of travelling solo you have will depend on your own actions. For instance, if you can't wait to talk to locals and meet other travellers, why not sit at the bar of a restaurant to eat your meal? It'll be much easier to strike up conversations with passersby. On the other hand, if you prefer your own company, simply ask for a table for one, out of the way.

Here are some of the different personalities you might come across with your fellow solo travellers, or perhaps recognise in yourself.

Solo travellers are often equipped with a degree of self-confidence, but this doesn't necessarily mean you have to be an outgoing, extrovert personality: many solo travellers enjoy the solitude of their own company without the need to make lifelong friends with everyone they meet.

The type of confidence we're talking about here is when people who travel alone have the confidence to make decisions, walk away from situations they don't feel comfortable with, and ask for help when they need it.

Independent solo travellers are happy to make their own decisions about where to go and what to do. If this is you, you’ll know that the advantages to travelling alone are: no squabbling over which sights to see, no quarrels over cuisine, and no agonising over what activities to do.

And if you come across other people who love to travel alone, you'll probably find they have the same sense of independence too, which means you’ll all be content to team up for some activities and go your separate ways for others.

Solo travel offers you a real sense of adventure – even if you're somewhere relatively familiar. That's because when you travel alone you are truly free to forge your own experiences and aren’t held back by the anxieties of others.

One of the best things about travelling by yourself is the unbridled ability to do what you want when you want.

If you happen to walk past the most incredible looking gelato shop you've ever seen at nine o'clock in the morning, who's to say you can't have a second breakfast? Or if you want to take the guided tour of an obscure craft museum in a back alley of a small town without meeting moans and groans, it's entirely your prerogative.

If you're at the introverted end of the sociability spectrum, you may be drawn towards solo travel because it allows you to be self-sufficient and gives you the space and time to soak in every experience by yourself. Suffice to say, when you're adventuring alone, you won't be short of 'me time'. Which means you must like your own company at least a little bit.

Depending on how far afield you are, and how you plan your holiday, travelling alone lets you place yourself outside of your comfort zone. This then helps bolster your inner confidence, which does wonders with how you interact with others.

If you love meeting new people, then solo travel gives you opportunities to do this in abundance.

Usually, when we travel as a group, we envelop ourselves in a little bubble, where we only interact with our fellow companions. Whilst this can be highly enjoyable – sharing extraordinary experiences with friends and family – it can close us off from meeting new people, whether they be other travellers or locals.

If you're an extrovert and you're going solo on holiday, it will no doubt feel natural to open up to people and even instigate conversations. Your friendliness and openness will be like a beacon, and before you know it, you've made new friends and perhaps even teamed up with others for a portion of your trip.

Whether you're on a well-trodden path or off the beaten tourist track, you'll no doubt find ample opportunities to connect with others.

But just be careful not to become the tag-along. Be sensitive to signals that your new friends may want to make a break for it and continue alone without your company – if they’re introverted solo travellers, they may need to recharge and explore on their own.

There's only one way to find out if you've got the disposition for solo travel. Give it a go.

If you've never travelled alone before, why not book a short break? You can even join a group tour so you can enjoy a balance between independent travel and the comfort of a group.

And with your accommodation and activities planned, you won't have to worry about organising every moment of your day. You can simply enjoy the experience.

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