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- Posted:Monday, March 1, 2010
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There was a time that when you were ready to make that trip around the world or take that gap year you would be guaranteed that a selection of your friends, schoolmates or colleagues would be signing up to be your travel companion for a year of adventure around the world. Whether it was straight out of second level education, university or after a few years in the working world there was always a gang heading off somewhere or the plans had been made months and months in advance for all of you to go. However, one thing we have noticed here at Hostels.com is that this trend has taken quiet a turnaround over the last year or so.
While there are still some big groups heading off on planned trips, there seems to be an increase when it comes to solo travel for both short adventures and year-long tours. Of course many are putting this down to the dreaded economic downturn and people not being able to afford to travel, or too afraid to give up their jobs with the ease we used to when times were booming. But there's also the fact that many of us are single these days and either don't have that someone who's willing to share in the travel companion experience, or that we simply just don't think anyone we know is suitable to go with us and would prefer to travel solo than with someone who would drive us mad!
Whatever the reason for this sudden surge in travelling solo, it isn't stopping any eager travellers from visiting their dream destinations. There are plenty of groups and tours available out there for people who are travelling alone but would like to do it in a group, and these companies keep growing in order to meet demand. But if you would still prefer to be even more alone than that then you're not on your own (no pun intended!).
Solo travel has many perks such as not having to compromise on routes and plans, coming and going as you please, and no huge rows over reading the map wrong after spending 18 hours on a cramped bus with only each other to talk to! But despite all that, travelling solo can still get a bit lonesome, but this can be easily avoided. Be friendly and start conversation with fellow travellers and locals. Another great way of meeting new people as you travel is to turn to technology. Check out travel blogs and travel forums looking for posts from other travellers in the area or tips on where to go to meet like-minded people. And if there's nothing there for your area then post something and get something started!
One of our top tips for meeting people while travelling on your own... and yes we know this will look like a biased opinion, but stay in a hostel. 'Well of course you would say that' I hear you roar through your laptop screens! Firstly, stop shouting - we can't hear you! Secondly, it's the truth and it's not just our opinion. Plenty of avid travellers, blogs and articles for advice for people travelling solo will recommend staying in a hostel as the top way to meet new people, or to find someone to just have a chat with for a while. And you don't even have to be checked into a 20 bed dorm to do so. Even if you have opted for the private room just take a trip to the common room, kitchen or some hostels even have bars and restaurants now to find some like mind travellers. This is also a great way of picking up advice or tips on what to do or where to avoid.
So there you have it, all is not lost if your best mate wouldn't leave their job to travel around Europe with you, or if your college room-mate simply can't afford to take off for a few weeks with you to travel around South America. Travelling solo can be a fun and interesting way of seeing what you want to see and maybe discovering something new about yourself as well as meeting some interesting characters along the way. And if this is something you have experience in then please leave us your comments below!