Solo in Groups
I have enjoyed traveling in many different ways: alone, with a companion or two, in groups and in combinations of those configurations. But of all of the ways I have traveled, the one that has worked best for me most of the time is traveling solo within an organized group.
That arrangement brings a number of advantages. One big overarching advantage is having professionally organized and guided travel, with all that goes with it. Long story, but it boils down to being able to be sure of an efficiently organized trip, well designed and executed by experts to make the most of the time and place.
I want to get the very best I can out of a destination in what may be the only week I’ll be there in my entire life. I know from experience that it usually takes a few tries to get things right, and I don’t want my one trip to be a trial run based only on my own limited competence and knowledge. I’ve been through that enough to appreciate the difference.
Traveling solo within an organized group gives me the best of both worlds: I can go alone to the sanctuary of my room to write about the experiences of the day while they are fresh, and then start the next day fresh. And I also have the advantage of having people to talk to when I am not writing.
That’s important because for me the process of writing not only requires solitary time, it also draws from conversations, with either locals at the destination or traveling companions. Those are all part of the processing of information that is part of writing about a travel experience.
Beyond that there is comfort and pleasure in the presence of other people. We humans are highly social animals. People need people. All of us in our individual ways, whether we are introverts or extroverts, need some time alone with our own thoughts and some time with other people.
People you meet on organized trips are surprisingly easy to make friends with, because meeting people is part of the attraction of traveling with a group. It is one of the reasons to choose that kind of travel.
River cruises add an extra benefit to the advantages of group travel in that you are given your own room at the start of the trip and you don’t have to give it up until the trip is over. You can create your own personal space in your cabin and cultivate it throughout the trip.
Tour operators say that solo travel is becoming more and more popular within their groups. They are selling more single passages, and finding that many of their clients prefer to have their own room. It seems they too appreciate the combination of solitary and social time that I enjoy.
There is a price disadvantage to traveling solo. You do give up the cost advantage of sharing a room. That’s unavoidable. If I’m going to get a room by myself, I will have to pay for the whole room, not split the cost with my traveling companion.
Tour operators have traditionally priced their tours based on two traveling because that is the most common way to travel. If you take the rooms by yourself, tour operators work out the difference by charging what they call a “singles supplement.” That may be an unfortunate term because some people have understood it to mean that tour operators are discouraging solo travel in preference of couples. But that’s not it. It just means is that if one person is buying the whole room it will cost more than if two split it. Fortunately, it won’t cost twice as much, but it will cost some more.
The increasing popularity of solo travel is also a reflection of our social evolution. Travelers are becoming more experienced and more confident. They seek experience and set out boldly in pursuit of it. Professional travel services are increasingly reliable in providing ways to travel to exotic places without exposing yourself to much danger. And they compete with each other to produce an ever-renewing range of creative ways to enjoy and experience a destination.
The entire article can be found here... http://www.tauck.com/travel-blog/musings-from-colin-treadwell/flying-solo.aspx?NameID=6186365&WT_mc_id=16ColinTreadwellVolume16_AB_2016KZWQ