Are you thinking of traveling solo but you're not sure what to expect? Stop hesitating and jump in! For a meaningful and memorable travel experience, I believe there is no better option than choosing an active holiday as a solo traveler.
It's no secret that people's expectations of what a vacation is have changed. These days travelers are more discerning and are generally seeking something deeper than just 'getting away from it all.' Moreover, we're looking for a new experience, a challenge, a chance to connect with new people and a journey that allows some degree of introspection. In short, we're looking for an adventure.
So, perhaps it's no coincidence that travelers are increasingly choosing to go it alone or to join a group as a solo traveler. At Backroads, we regularly accommodate single guests on our group trips and as a solo travel enthusiast myself (BTW... I'm writing this in an internet café in Athens), I'm always keen to learn more about what attracts solos to our excursions. What I've found is that there are several central themes that surround this interesting phenomenon.
Exploration and Discovery
Authenticity is at the heart of any adventure; we all want to feel that we've made a personal connection with our destination, rather than feeling like we're merely an observer on the sidelines. But this can be a more challenging endeavor when you're traveling alone, especially within less touristic destinations or areas with a different language or culture.
Traveling with local and expert Trip Leaders, each of whom have intimate knowledge of a destination--not to mention a solid relationship with local vendors--gives you direct access to local knowledge, connections and customs. The result? No wasted time as you sift through the tourist traps... just an authentic and enriching travel experience.
And I haven't even mentioned the most overlooked benefit of bike excursions. There is a unique perspective you can only get about a new destination from the seat of a bicycle. Entering a place for the very first time by traveling along serene, untouched back roads rather than zipping straight to the centre by train or cab, initiates a far more intimate travel experience. It allows a raw, uncensored narrative of the area to begin to develop. In fact, many of our guests say this is their favorite aspect of traveling by bike. Plus, with the Backroads team there to take care of the details, you can do the whole thing without worrying about your luggage or where you're going to eat dinner. If you're looking to really connect with a new place and escape the tourist trail, a bike trip is the perfect vacation.
Peace of Mind
It seems that no matter how enthusiastic we may be to tackle a new destination alone, we all suffer some similar anxieties. Perhaps the most common concern for the solo traveler is personal security: Will I get to my hotel before dark? Can I rely on public transport if needed? Will I be safe?
While being alone in a faraway land can make you feel exhilarated yet vulnerable, there's no reason to dial down your ambitions. Traveling solo within a group, especially with the style of Backroads where you can participate as little or as much as you like, creates a degree of security for solo explorers. You can embark on the adventure you dreamed of, leveraging the flexibility of Backroads to do your own thing or join the group whenever it suits you, knowing that support is always on hand.
What's more, you'll be able to explore the length and breadth of your chosen region without having to organise ground transport, since our trips include all transfers between hotels, as well as transport to and from renowned dinner spots and local sites of interest. The result? You can switch off completely and immerse yourself in the unique buzz solo travel gives you!
The whole point of group excursions is that they provide options and surround you with like-minded people in a dream location... all without hemming you in. At Backroads, our mantra is, "It's your vacation!" and the leaders are there for the sole purpose to make that happen. Our trips are a template, not a formula. And although you will be presented with a daily itinerary, the choice is yours to follow all of it, part of it or none of it! So, whether you're a cycling-junkie, a foodie, a culture vulture or just a person looking for a new experience, you'll have complete autonomy.
Active holidays are undoubtedly challenging. Very few of us have the time to exercise to this degree on a daily basis! Biking and multi-adventure trips are an ideal opportunity to get to know yourself better by pushing your personal boundaries.
One consistent theme I've seen on our trips is guests who are absolutely delighted with their new personal best! It feels great to really surprise yourself and adds a new and lasting dimension to your time away from home. Plus, with many of our trips offering optional daily yoga, you can indulge in a morning yoga session in our most popular destinations to truly escape your daily routine and recharge your soul.
Life is busy and sometimes it's hard to socialise when you're stuck at the office or hidden behind a computer all day. Even when you do have the time, putting yourself out there for new friendships can be an awkward experience. Backroads trips provide a great venue for connecting with new people as there is the built-in opportunity to band together with others to complete the same mission in an exciting new landscape.
I believe that this is where group excursions really shine. I can't tell you how many times I've encountered groups of friends who originally met while they were on a Backroads trip and continue to vacation together years later! There's definitely a level of personal openness you only find when you're part of a group adventure, so if you're looking to expand your horizons and get out of your comfort zone, active travel is a great move.
There's one last thing I want to tell you, and it's probably the most important message of all: active solo travel does not mean you're alone. It says you're open to new experiences and closed to compromise; you're ready to embrace your dreams and ditch your anxiety. It takes real guts to go it alone but in my opinion, it's one of the most glamorous experiences you can have. Life is short, and if you're lucky enough to have the opportunity to go it alone, I say seize it with both hands.