Single Travel: Tips for Going Solo

Traveling Solo
Barcelo Hotels

Thousands of people love traveling alone, for as many reasons as there are people. You probably even know a few of those ‘adventurous’ sort.

But traveling alone to an all-inclusive? Aren’t they just for families or weddings or honeymooners?

The answer my friend is “no”…..the solo travel movement is a large one, and all-inclusive resorts know that to attract those traveling solo they need to get with the times. Many have done away with the ‘single supplement’ from days of yore, and also now offer numerous “mix-and-mingle” activities to appeal to solo travelers.

So whether you’re attending a friend’s wedding or just need to use up vacation days before you lose them at a time when none of your friends or family can go, here’s some tips for traveling alone to an all-inclusive resort.

If you’re attending a wedding, family reunion, or conference

Traveling Solo
Getty Images
If you’re attending a wedding, family reunion, conference, or other get-together, you may not have a say in which resort you go to, but you may still have the choice to occupy a room by yourself, or opt for a roommate.

Staying Solo…..

If you’d rather room alone, don’t forget to ask about the single supplement – most quoted rates, in particular online rates, assume double occupancy of rooms, and cost may factor into your decisions. If you can’t avoid the higher rate, a good travel agent can help find discounts that will bring the cost down, even with the supplement.

Saving money by going with the least expensive room available usually means a less-than-stunning view — but you’ll likely be spending most of your time, including meals, with others and not in your room anyway.

Also, at check-in, couples are usually handed two key-cards, singles only one. While this practice makes sense, many all-inclusive resorts now use energy-saving systems that require a key-card to be inserted into a key-holder near the door – taking the key out turns out the lights, and often other energy-using devices such as the AC, ceiling fans, the TV, and outlets. It’s not only easy to forget to grab it on your way out (leaving you locked out), but if you *do* grab it, you may come back to a room that is uncomfortably warm, with electronics that failed to re-charge while you were out. A second room key solves this problem, but be a good guest and shut off the lights and anything you don’t need left on when you leave your room.

Going the Roomie Route…..

If you opt for a roommate from amongst other attendees, be sure to ask for a room with double beds – many resorts still have a few of these rooms, but king-sized beds are becoming the norm as more couples request them and resorts often assume that’s what you’ll want. Remember that special room requests are rarely guaranteed, and although resorts will try to accommodate you, it all depends on what’s available at the time you check-in.

AND be sure to spend some time prior to your trip — or as soon as possible after meeting your roomie — discussing some basic ground rules, such as bathroom time, quiet zones or times if you need it (to get some work done or make business calls), shared use of space, and how you feel about bringing others back to your room.

If you’re vacationing solo:

Solo Vacation
Huffington Post
Some folks love to travel alone so they can meet new people, others love solo travel so they can avoid social interactions and just get some peace and quiet.

If you want to meet people…..

If you’re highly social, it may sound counter-intuitive, but a small-ish boutique resort can often offer more opportunities to get to know other guests – with fewer guests and fewer dining options, you’ll be seeing the same folks at nearly every meal and around the pool….and some resorts now offer a ‘community table’ at some restaurants. A smile and a few ‘hellos’ and you’ll soon have new friends and dining companions galore!

On the other hand, at a smaller resort it’s likely you’ll be meeting mostly couples – if you’re just interested in socializing this may be fine, if you want to meet other singles to hang out with, look for a mid-sized to large resort where you’ll likely find more solo travelers.

If you’d rather remain alone…..

If you want to be alone, a large resort offers more opportunities to ‘blend into the background’ – they’re great for people-watching, but it’s also very easy to avoid engaging with others. They’ll generally have a more diversified room service menu for those who prefer to take meals in their room, and larger restaurants making it easier to get a corner table, and, at all but the very busiest times of year, you’ll find more beach or pool chairs available at the fringes.

To keep unwanted wolves/wolvettes away, put another towel, book, and sunglasses on the lounge chair next to you, as well as a second bottle of water or drink……the illusion of a vacation partner keeps all but the most persistent from bothering you.

A Word About Safety

Keeping your valuables safe on vacation
Komando.com
Anyone, male or female, should feel perfectly safe traveling solo to an all-inclusive resort. Crime is highly uncommon at all-inclusive resorts as well as nearby popular tourist areas, otherwise it would negatively impact tourism and no one wants that, least of all the folks who depend on it for their livelihood.

We won’t say it never happens, but on the very rare occasions that it does occur, it’s typically very petty – you set your iPad down by the pool to take a swim and return 20 minutes later to find it missing…..and even then it’s usually because some good samaritan thought the owner had gone missing and turned it in to the resort’s ‘lost and found’ desk.

And while we believe you really don’t need to worry overmuch, a wise person knows that there are things you just don’t do to invite danger to your door, such as:

  • Don’t leave the resort at night to go wandering along the beach or around town by yourself.
  • Whether daytime or nighttime, if you DO leave the resort, stick with a group of like-minded guests to go shopping or on tours.
  • If you DO go shopping, stay in the shopping district — don’t go wandering alone into unknown neighborhoods.
  • Whether at the resort or off-site, don’t over-imbibe to the point that you become unaware of your surroundings or start attracting too much attention from people you don’t know well.

Need encouragement?

Here are some great reasons to travel alone:
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/9-reasons-why-you-should-travel-alone.html
http://www.fodors.com/news/10-reasons-to-travel-alone-11387

And some good resources for solo travel advice:
http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/specialty-travel/single-travel-tips-for-going-solo
http://www.nomadicmatt.com/female-travel-tips/
http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/packing-and-accessories/6-things-to-pack-when-traveling-alone

Do you regularly travel solo? What advice can you share?

About Trisha Miller 47 Articles
Trisha is the Editor-in-Chief at Travel Writers Exchange, a community for travel writers & bloggers. She's also a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, and a former member of the IFWTWA, serving on their Board of Directors from 2009 through 2015. When not traveling the world visiting the many all-inclusive resorts she loves, Trisha spends her time writing, mainly about travel and technology, sometimes both at the same time.

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