Do you want to travel, but don’t have or want a companion? Maybe your partner can’t get time off work. Maybe your friends have different interests. Maybe your family aren’t fit enough to hike to the places you want to go. Maybe you want some time alone to rediscover some things about yourself.
Whatever your reason for wanting to travel solo, it’s a choice you don’t have to fear. In fact, the number of solo travellers is growing globally, with women aged 55 and above now being the biggest demographic to embark on a journey alone. Plus, the Himalayan countries are excellent solo travel destinations. Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and the region of Ladakh in India are generally safe, with friendly and helpful people, infrastructure for travellers, and a range of experiences, whether you’re on a low or higher budget.
We’ve identified the major advantages of travelling solo in the Himalaya—so there’s no reason to put your dream trip off any longer!
You can go at your own pace
The luxury of being able to stop where you like, move on when you’re bored, and generally keep the pace as fast or slow as you personally like it are all yours when you travel solo. No more waiting for slower members of the group to keep up, or feeling rushed by faster ones! This applies whether you’re on a walking holiday in Bhutan, with a combination of gentler hiking and sightseeing, or on an epic multi-day trek in Nepal, such as Everest Base Camp or the Annapurna Sanctuary.
2. Freedom to do what you want
When you travel on your own, you have complete freedom to visit the sights you want to see, without having to compromise. From choosing where to eat to prioritising your sightseeing, a major advantage of traveling solo is having the freedom to do what you want. There’s no need to tour temples and museums if you don’t want to—or on the contrary, if that’s all you want to do, there are many options in the Himalaya! (Especially in Bhutan, with its fabulous monasteries).
3. No snoring roommates!
After a long day on the road you just want to get a good night’s sleep. What’s stopping you though, when you’re travelling with others? Perhaps they keep the light on to read, won’t stop talking as you try to drift off, or worse … snore. When you travel solo you won’t ever need to worry about this – you can fall asleep and wake up in peace.
4. Have a closer experience with your guide
On a tailor-made tour, you’ll have many more chances for one-on-one interaction with your guide than if you’re joining a group. A guide is an excellent source of not only factual knowledge about a place but also cultural perspective and personal stories. When you travel alone, you have the opportunity to ask your guide more, and get to hear some of these insights.
In Bhutan, it’s necessary for all travellers to be accompanied by a guide. Some enthusiastically independent travellers don’t like this idea as they think they’ll have to join a large group and be herded around all day on a tour bus. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In Bhutan you can travel on your own with a guide, which will give you the chance to really strike up a friendship with them. And, if you want some alone time, you can always let your guide know and they will let you enjoy some peace and quiet.
5. Make more friends and connections
People who travel solo are naturally inclined to make more new friends than those in a pair or group. By talking to other travellers in your hotel or in restaurants, you may be able to find out some useful tips about places you’re going next. When travelling in the Himalaya you will often encounter the same people at trekking lodges in Nepal, or in hotels in rural parts of Bhutan, which is a great way to make connections with fellow travellers.
6. Enjoy more relaxing “me” time
Sometimes a little “me” time is what we need from a holiday. Disconnecting yourself from your world at home is a great stress relief, especially if you can disconnect from your online world too. Solo travellers have more opportunities to focus on just themselves in the present moment, as they don’t have these connections to home travelling with them. Plus, in many mountains parts of the Himalaya the Wifi connection is patchy at best—a blessing in disguise!
7. Re-discover your independence
If you’re used to depending on a partner, or having others dependent on you, it can be refreshing to step away from this and find yourself as an independent person again. Away from the context of your family, your work and your friends, you can find yourself and reprioritise your own needs and interests.
8. Challenge yourself
Without a travel companion, you are forced to depend on yourself when things go wrong. If you’re on a guided holiday you can call on your guide for help, but beyond their area of authority you can’t rely on someone else to fix things for you. Many people relish this challenge, and come back stronger from solo trips.
If you’re ready for the exciting challenge of travelling solo, let us help you plan your trip—almost all of Beyond The Clouds’ tailor-made itineraries can be designed for solo travellers. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.