Category Archives: Travel

5 Ways to Travel Solo Without Going It Alone

Solo travel has become a hot topic. Unlike “single(s)” travel, it is a broader group. It can include those who are single, married or have a partner/significant other. It may be a business person looking to add a leisure weekend or extension to a trip for work. Two stumbling blocks to solo travel can be: I. whether it is lonely to vacation as a “party of one” and ii.whether eating alone, especially dinner, is really uncomfortable.

Now having visited 68 countries and all 50 states, I have found 5 good ways to go alone without feeling you are “going it alone”.

1. River Cruise and Small Ship Cruises

I highly recommend river cruises and small ships. They are especially a good fit for a first time solo traveler. However, they are also great for well-traveled solos in two cases. That is where destinations like Cambodian boat villages are not otherwise easy to reach. Secondly, they work well in places where security is an issue.

Here are the key advantages of such river and small ships for solo travelers, they:

-Give you time alone but a group for tours and meals

-Can be competitively priced when compared to a piecemeal approach

-Make unpacking a one-time chore

-Work well with land packages

-Often have discounted package pricing including flights

2. Select your own lodging, and take day trips.

Here are the key advantages of this independent approach, it:

-Affords you the opportunity to select your own interests and travel style.

-Provides more opportunity to interact with local residents.

-Gives you a “day-off” when you need it.

-Works with a range of budgets.

3. Combine both of the above approaches.

I really favor this approach when I travel. On solo travel for 17 days at New Year’s, I toured Southeast Asia. I started with a private taxi tour in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I then joined a top Mekong River Cruise on to Vietnam. On the last leg, I had five days in a 5-star hotel in Bangkok. In my last stop, I tried all 3 ways of sightseeing: 1. A large bus tour 2. A private guide and 3. Self-directed subway tour.

This blended approach puts you in the driver’s seat and:

-Will let you set your own course while being free to pick and choose

-Gives you a part-time group of travel mates but also time alone

-Makes it possible to follow a budget (or splurges) tailored to what works for you

4. Sign up ahead for a class abroad.

This has become very popular now for cooking classes in France and Italy. However, for decades, language classes abroad have lured students for short-term or full summer programs. Add to that options for photography classes, skiing and scuba diving.

Here are the key benefits to this approach.

It:

-Provides you with a ready-made group

-Gives you a local contact to hear what not to miss off the tourist path

-Make it possible to connect with classmates for meals or sightseeing

-Results in providing local contacts in an emergency

5. Join a volunteer group or exchange program.

I have done this twice. My first trip out of the US was at 18 joining 5 other girls on a summer YMCA project in Trinidad and Tobago. It was the best way to learn about day-to-day life in another country and participate in community activities.

The benefits were endless. They included:

-Meeting local residents outside of the typical tourist path

-Seeing distant and often more unusual destinations

-Providing volunteer efforts to communities than may have experienced natural disasters or other hardships.

If you are new to solo travel, take a look at each of these options. You will be surprised how fast solo travel gives you the chance to make new life-long friends from around the world so that you feel you are solo to more!

Marketing For Travel Agents

Global Travel Industry

Globally the travel industry is worth over £100bn and this is growing as the developing world starts to travel more.

The UK however has seen a slow down in the travel sector due to the effects of the recession people are choosing to cut back on their holidays. In the boom times people were taking holidays 1-2 times per year, this has gone down to 1 or maybe none (a stay at home holiday or holiday in the UK). People do not have as much disposable income to spend as they once did, and as living costs are going up this is a trend that the travel industry is trying to adapt to.

Another factor that complicates things is that the cost of travel is going up, as fuel costs rise, food costs in hotels and wages in foreign countries rise the overall cost of cheap package holiday’s on average is higher now than 5 years ago.

The result is that consumers are more price orientated rather than destination orientated, opting for a cheap holiday in the sun anywhere rather than locations that make profit for the tour guide.

National Travel Industry

The UK is one of the most expensive places to holiday, with fuel costs, VAT, food costs, drinks and day excursions, many people still opt for overseas package holidays.

However, the UK is investing into themed holidays, similar to Butlins from the 1970’s spa breaks and resort holiday’s closer to home are becoming more popular with busy families that cannot take more than a week off together at a time. Resort holiday’s offer full activity facilities (such as golf, horse riding, childcare, tennis, swimming etc.) to families making the UK a alternative option to going abroad.

Competition In The Travel Industry

The holiday industry is notorious for competition, ranging from freelance travel agents, holiday websites and the traditional travel agent.

As more companies start up, the industry is only becoming more and more competitive causing companies to reduce their profit margins to meet sales figures.

Marketing For Holiday Companies

The internet is the primary tool that is used now as most people prefer looking at holiday destinations from the comfort of their home rather than going into town on a Saturday to go round the various holiday shops collecting brochures on the way.

With this in mind, most holiday companies use their websites (that now have good quality pictures of holiday destinations or multi media files) to attract customers using internet marketing, paid advertising (PPC) and social media channels.

TV advertising is still used in marketing for travel agents mainly to reinforce their brand name; however the web based companies (and freelancers) do opt for the internet.

Most holiday companies find that the traditional forms of marketing (such as TV advertising, magazine advertising) is quite expensive and only helps ‘sow the seed’ of a holiday – there is the danger that people will go to a competitor after seeing the advert. This is why the internet is more more efficient, as the advert/website will draw holiday makers onto the website and hopefully they will select and pay for their trip there and then within minutes.

One popular kind of marketing for travel businesses is ‘re-marketing’. This is where a travel business will continue to market their holiday’s to existing customers, in the hope that they will come back and re-book their next holiday (rather than shopping around or going elsewhere). Bringing on old holiday clients is much cheaper than bringing on new ones.

The key tool for any travel company is the website, in today’s world, a website is essential and 90% of holiday makers will view and book their holiday’s via a website. Coupled into internet advertising, SEO and paid advertising (PPC) the internet is the essential marketing tool for any travel company in 2012.