Flying solo

Anyone who has travelled alone knows that it can sometimes be a lonely experience.  As a single traveller it is important to choose the right experience to get the most out of your hard earned vacation.

A few years ago I hosted a small group on Paul Gauguin cruises in the South Pacific.  One of the single ladies on board decided to extend her vacation in Papeete by a few days after the cruise.  When I caught up with her again in Calgary she told me that it was the most miserable time.  While she had been on board the Paul Gauguin she felt at home and very comfortable as a single.  The staff was attentive and got to know her very quickly.  Other guests were friendly and she met couples and singles who gladly invited her to join their table for lunch or dinner.

Similarly going on excursions was another way to make new friends and have that feeling of being part of a group.

At the hotel at the end of the cruise no-one knew her and she sat alone at dinner every night.  A large hotel can be a very lonely place and it’s harder for a single person to meet and mingle.

There are companies offering a twin share. So how does that work?  Well if they have another single travelling (same sex – sorry ladies) then they will match you up with the other single.  So then you don’t have to pay the single supplement – which is all well and good – as long as you get the perfect partner.  It’s difficult and that’s why many companies have dropped this program because how does the tour guide deal with it when two ladies just cannot stand the sight of each other?

Yep – not the way you want to see Europe but honestly – could she just use her own toothpaste and not soak her undies in the hand basin overnight!  You might think this is an exaggeration but let me tell you – familiarisation trips for travel agents often have you bedded down with a complete stranger and it can be somewhat challenging.

It can be like a lottery from hell – you get the snorer, the person who reads until 3 am and won’t switch off the light, the person who wakes at 3 am and switches on the light, the person who talks non-stop and is a complete know-it-all.

Mmmm – maybe it is better to opt to pay the extra for your own room and then when you see that sort of person – RUN LIKE HELL!

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. Hello Leslie,
    I always travel alone – my bathroom is my bathroom; my bed is my bed!!!!!!
    In 1974, I travelled to Hawaii with a friend I’d known for years. He had those hard contact lenses that needed to be ‘boiled’ overnight and put them in the container between our single beds. They gurgled all night until 4AM, when I unplugged them and put them in the bathroom and closed the door.
    Then in the morning, as he was partially bald, he had to take over an hour in the bathroom gluing on his “rug” and doing his ‘overcomb’ and hairspray, till I was gagging!!!
    Then at night, he’d open the balcony door and leave it open with a cold breeze chilling me to death.
    Never again – – now 41 years and about 50 trips later, I’m a single traveller – – and happy!!
    BTW, I travelling (single) on your Burma river cruise in November with you…


  2. I am just learning to travel solo. Going into a hotel is lonely, but I know once I get on that cruise ship there will be lots of people to talk to and to still have alone time.

    I am travelling single on the Burma river cruise in November and looking forward to trying the smaller ship.



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