All-inclusive holidays – the natural habitat of honeymooners, golden anniversary couples, families with young children and large touring groups. How on earth does a solo traveller fit into this world of coupledom, kids clubs and boisterous bar chat littered with in-jokes?
Solo travelling has lost its stigma of being the holiday for the lonely. Solo travellers come from all walks of life nowadays – from people looking for some peace and time to recharge to others who are hell bent on ticking a few things off their bucket list.
And while travel agents are now vying for this growing market, how does an all-inclusive break measure up to solo travelling?
Depending on how you approach your holiday, an all-inclusive can be a wonderful place to be on your own. Most all-inclusive hotels and resorts are luxurious sanctuaries where food and drink are on tap, the sun beats down and your every whim is catered for.
But to make things easier on yourself, if you’re going solo, book an adult-only all-inclusive hotel. This will avoid struggling to maintain the conversation over the shouts of young ones, or your company fretting about the in-house babysitter while you enjoy some evening drinks.
A no-children hotel will also mean that there are more likely to be other solo travellers and adults who will be more open to conversation.
But ultimately, all-inclusive holidays are the final frontier for the independent traveller. The objective of all inclusive holidays is to not let the couple-ness of the situation defeat your holiday experience. There’s a thin line between not crashing the romantic table for two set out on the beach and retreating to your room every evening. How do you set yourself up to make your all-inclusive a success?
Here’s a light-hearted guide to getting it right when you’re on your solo holiday.
In short, conversation can take place anywhere, but it needs to be relaxed. So if that means unwinding at the end of the day with a few beers, or taking part in a scuba diving course in the grounds of the hotel with a small group, don’t be scared of striking up some conversation. And don’t feel let down if that conversation finishes at the bar or PADI course. That’s the transient nature of holidays and simply means that a) you’ve got the first ice-breaker out of the way and b) you’re in a hotel with hundreds of guests, so there’s plenty more where that came from.
When you see your new pal again, play it cool. Nothing is more off putting than a over-keen stranger on holiday! Sharing food, shadowing, overdoing the drinks and reserving sunbeds are all holiday no-nos.
A friendly greeting the next day, an open, pleasant demeanour and being content with your own company (sunbathing, reading, taking part in activities that the hotel puts on like day trips and cookery classes), will make you far more approachable and the conversation flow easier.
But most importantly, solo travel is all about having time to yourself, getting away from the daily grind and enjoying new experiences. And if friendships do occur at the hotel, well, that’s just an added bonus.