A Single Shift to Solo Travel

Great Wall Solo Travel Trek
From our 5 day Great Wall Solo Travel Trek 2018

Have you ever felt ‘singled out’ because you weren’t coupled? And if the answer is ‘yes’, or ‘maybe’, do you think it’s impacted your travel choices?

When I started my company for single travellers, I felt an unspoken bias for couples travelling over singles.  And I knew it was making some single people feel uneasy travelling alone or that they just weren’t travelling at all. This was the core of why I knew I had to create a travel offer for single travellers.

But there’s been a shift. And it’s been one simple change that has made the difference.  And the best thing about this is that less and less, single travellers are feeling ‘singled out’.

Jumping back to 2006 when I started Encounter Travel,  I never expected some of the comments, or the ‘eye brow raises’, as I call them, when I announced to people that I’d started a travel company for (older) single travellers.  “‘Oh, dating holidays” and remarks like it -  although light hearted and no mal intent, poking fun at the idea. Indirectly suggesting it must be something a little sleazy or to be smirked at, if a bunch of singles were travelling together.  I just didn’t get it.  It would be like suggesting that because there’s a tour or cruise group of couples they must be throwing their room keys into the bowl for a swinger’s holiday.  

In August this year it marks 13th birthday of Encounter Travel. I think it’s making me reflect and see just how far we’ve come (the travel industry) when it comes to travel for single travellers. Less and less single travellers are feeling outsiders to the world of travel.

I put this shift down to one word – solo!  

No longer are we ‘single travellers’, but ‘solo travellers’.  It’s not about our relationship status but now our independence.  We can be celebrated (and not commiserated). And I love that ‘solo travel’ also invites people who have partners that don’t share their travel passion into the fold.   They also feel welcome to travel alone, and are not missing out.

The flow on effect of the shift to calling us solo travellers, is stronger than ever.  There are now countless bloggers sharing their solo travel stories and journalists writing solo travel story pieces. And finally, even big travel companies recognising the value of the solo traveller and including them with their offers and messaging.

Solo travel has long been a big part of my life but I know that’s not the same for so many, still facing some mental barriers when it comes to taking off alone. The more we talk about it and share our stories the more chance we have to encourage others yet to travel solo to take a leap of faith and start planning.

Just the other week I received this email from the son of one our travellers. It’s emails like these that warm my heart and a beautiful reminder of why we do this (create our travel groups for solos).

“ Guys, I just can’t thank you enough for providing this tour for my mother. It was her first ever overseas travel and she was not very confident and was quite anxious and we really had to push her to actually do it. Now she can’t stop raving about the wonderful people and places she visited on her tour. It really has changed her life and thank you so much for being so patient and informative with our requests and questions along the way. You guys really have a wonderful thing going on and you are providing such a great experience for those who are in this age bracket and solo. I know she will definitely being doing another trip with you in the near future”

To travel alone is one thing. To travel solo, but not alone is something else!

Have you got a story to share?  Send us your solo travel story, for inclusion on our blog page. Know anyone that could find some encouraging words from my story? Please share and be a voice for travelling solo.

Visit our Contact Us page on our website.
Travelling with us,or thinking about it, or just curious? Join our Facebook Tribe of solo travellers.

Check out our Solos Only Tour Groups
For a full list of small group tours.

Cruising Solo?
You can avoid dining solo when you join a Cruise Circle for Solos for group, with cruises departing from Australia, orjoin the Facebook group.

Solo Traveller Dining Events
Check out our events in Sydney and then from time to time, other cities in Australia including Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Getting Started For The First Time?
Check out my book, How To Travel Solo But Not Alone


About the author

Justine Waddington

Justine Waddington is the founder and director of Encounter Travel, a company that creates holiday groups exclusively for solo travellers. As a solo traveller with 60 countries under her belt and 15 years of arranging travel groups, Justine is in the unique position of being able to offer tips and advice from the perspective of an experienced solo traveller and also that of a travel agent.

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Since 2006

We've been creating and delivering the best ever holidays for solo travellers since 2006. As a boutique tour operator, we delight in detail, delivering personal service and finding your next best memory.©

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