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Tips for Solo Travellers on Group Trips

By Louise Kavanagh, Adventure Consultant
More by Louise

Check out our tips for solo travellers to Ireland

Solo travelling is a trend that keeps growing, and more and more solo travellers are joining group trips. Many people love it – the freedom and flexibility to choose a trip that suits your interests and preferences is a hard thing to pass up! But if you’re new to the world of solo travelling, you might feel a bit overwhelmed.

Here are our tips for solo travellers on how to make the most of your small group trip in Ireland based on the questions we get asked by travellers. 

1. Join a mixed group.

tips for solo travellers Ireland

Hiking Mweelrea, Connacht’s highest mountain. Don’t hike it solo! Check out our tips for solo travellers to make the most of the hike.

Meeting and connecting with new people who are different than us is one of the reasons why we travel. Applying to both the people you meet in-country as well as your travelling companions, the best way to make the most of small group tours as a solo traveller is to join a mixed group.

It’s important that you get the right mix of people – ages, genders, interests, nationalities. You want to have enough variety in your group that you feel like you can talk to anyone. It’s good to know the layout of the group as most solo travellers wouldn’t want to join in on a group of six friends or be the odd one out on a couple’s retreat.

If you’re not sure about which group might be the best for you to join as a solo traveller, feel free to chat with our friendly office team to help find the best group for you, and provide tips for solo travellers who are joining a group trip.

2. Single supplement or roommate?

When it comes to booking rooms, you have the option to pay the single supplement, which is €250 for weeklong trips, for a guaranteed room of your own. These are available on a limited first-c0me-first-served basis, so it’s best to book early, and contact us to ensure your single room. Note that we do have a limited number of these, and once they run out, we unfortunately can’t give any more out.

If you’re willing to share, you can avoid paying the supplement and share with a roommate (always of the same sex). If you’re someone who needs a bit of me-time, having your own room may work the best for you. On the other hand, many solo travellers enjoy having a roommate – someone with whom they can bond and share their adventures! You save money as well, as you don’t have to pay the single supplement. And after all, if you wanted to travel alone, you probably wouldn’t have joined a group trip.

In the end, you need to decide the best solution for you. If you’re unsure of your options, reach out to our expert trip designers for tips for solo travellers and accommodation info to help you make your decision.

3. Bon appetit! Negotiating mealtimes on trips

Tips for solo travellers - mealtime

Mealtime while on a group trip in Ireland.

Unlike solo travel on your own, a solo traveller on a group trip won’t have to stress about finding a restaurant or worry what people will think if they’re eating alone. On all of our group trips, the first and last evening meal, as well as each breakfast and lunch, are provided on your trip, so you’ll eat with the whole group and your guide.

On the other evenings, you have the choice to eat together, or break off into smaller groups, but nevertheless, you’ll be able to break your bread with other group members. Further tips for solo travellers – if you do need a bit of quiet time, you’re more than welcome to get a fish and chips and head out for a picnic on the beach to watch the sunset, if that’s what you prefer!

If you have any dietary preferences, please let our office staff know, and they will share with the guides and restaurants meaning that this is one less thing to worry about during your trip.

4. Choose the right trip ability level for you

Hiking in Connemara

Make sure you choose a trip that works with your ability level.

It’s important to choose a trip that works for you – especially when it comes to trip difficulty. This is your holiday and you want to be comfortable! Don’t try to push yourself to join a trip with a level more challenging than you’re accustomed to, as you’ll spend your whole holiday trying to catch up with the group. That said, nor should you join a trip that is too easy for your pace and feel like you’re holding yourself back from the kind of trip that you want.

As a solo traveller, it is particularly important that you choose the right ability level, as you don’t have the option of striking out ahead with your travel partner or similarly choosing to hang behind the group. Do note though that if you do need a quiet day, you’re more than welcome to stay behind at your accommodation or be dropped off in town for a bit of shopping instead of hiking or biking with the group.

If you’re interested in a biking trip but you’re not sure what kind of cyclist you are, check out our guide here.

5. Know your strengths (and weaknesses!)

Biking and Yoga escape Sligo - solo travel

Hiking or biking – what’s the best trip for you to join?

Know what you like best, and choose a trip that measures up to your interests. Are you a sociable person who loves to jump right in? Or more of an introvert looking for a bit of me-time? Great tips for solo travellers include making sure you play to your strengths and try to choose a trip that works the best for you.

More tips for solo travellers: be sure to choose a trip that interests you in regards to activity – hiking, biking, kayaking – as well as location, as you want to be comfortable, happy and engaged on your vacation!

Trips with shorter days like the new Wicklow Way hiking trip are perfect for solo travellers looking for a bit of down time. Alternatively, those who prefer a longer time on the trail with the group, Hiking the Dingle Way is perfect.

If you’re more of a cyclist, go for a bike trip rather than a hiking tour! A trip like the Biking & Yoga Escape might be great for beginners, whereas our new Biking the Kerry Peninsulas or our off-the-beaten-path Biking Donegal From Cliffs to Coast would both be ideal for confident solo cyclists.

6. Break the ice straight away

Solo travel tips - Hiking Mweelrea

Hiking up Mweelrea with a small group.

With a maximum group of 8 people, our trip groups are small. You’ll be spending a week travelling with the group, so the best way to start out is to jump straight in and break the ice. Your guide will be there to help facilitate this, and do remember that everyone is in the same boat as you, particularly the other solo travellers. Your trip will usually start off with a trip briefing at a local pub, lounge or tearoom where you can get comfortable as your guide explains the layout of the week to come. You’ll have plenty of time to meet and get to know the other travellers over a cup of tea or even a pint!

7. Travel in Ireland - Trip start & finish

As a solo traveller, you’ll be responsible for travelling to the trip start on your own, and from the end point back home. All of our group trips start and finish at a train station with regular connections to Dublin, where you’ll meet your guide at the ticket booth, as we try to promote environmentally friendly travel where we can!

When it comes to travelling pre and post trip, the best tips for solo travellers are to plan out your trip ahead of time, and coordinate with our office team for assistance and advice. We suggest that you try to stay as organised as possible, with all required info ready and available. Make sure you know where you’re going and how you’ll get there.

Ideally, you’ll fly in the day before, or arrive early in the morning at the start of your trip. Dublin Airport is the easiest to get to and from in most cases. There are regular buses leaving directly from the airport to many major train stations like Belfast, Galway, Cork, Sligo, Limerick and more. Or, head in to Dublin city to take a train (either from Connolly Station or Heuston Station) to the meeting point.

Learn more about travelling in Ireland here.

8. Safety as a solo traveller

Solo travel Ireland - hiking Gap of Dunloe

Solo travel in Ireland – Hiking in Kerry’s Gap of Dunloe.

When it comes to safety, you’ll have the guide’s phone number in case you experience any trouble (such as a delayed flight or late train etc.). You’ll also be equipped with the Wilderness Ireland office number as well as our 24-hour emergency contact number in the event that the office is closed (such as evenings, weekends or public holidays).

While on hiking trips, your guide will be equipped with a Delorme, while biking trips will have a second guide as well as a support vehicle for when you need a break from cycling!

Many people worry about safety as a solo traveller, especially solo travellers who plan to bike or hike. Happily, this concern is eliminated by joining a group trip led by a local guide.

It’s important for you as a solo traveller to share your itinerary with your emergency contact, and make sure that your contact(s) are up to speed. While it’s good for your emergency contact to have your Wilderness Ireland trip itinerary, it’s even more important to make sure that they know your travel pre- and post-trip, such as trains, flights, and any extras you’re adding on (like an additional night in Dublin, or overnight layover in Amsterdam, etc.).

9. Socialising & Free Time

Traditional Irish music

Enjoy a bit of traditional Irish music in the evening with your group!

As a solo traveller on a group trip, you’ll get plenty of chances to interact with the guide, other travellers and locals. You should be open to chat with people but don’t feel like you’ll be forced to socialise! Depending on what trip you’re doing, you should get some free time between the end of your hike or bike before dinner – choose to spend it resting and relaxing in your room, shopping for souvenirs, or even enjoying a cheeky pint!

Also, you have the option of eating with the group or doing your own thing. In the evening after dinner, groups often get the chance to enjoy some traditional Irish music in the village bars, but you shouldn’t feel obliged to stay with the group the whole time. If you fancy a sunset stroll on the beach or an early evening relaxing with a book by the fire at your accommodation, go ahead! To get excited about your trip, listen to our ultimate Irish playlist.

10. Ask questions!

Before choosing your trip, reach out to us for a chat and be sure to ask us your questions! That’s what we’re here for. It’s important to go into your trip knowing as much as possible about everything from who else is on the trip, what the ability level is, mealtimes, accommodations and more. This way, you’ll go into the trip prepared and avoid any surprises. Contact us with any additional questions or for help deciding on which trip is best suited for you.

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Meet the Author: Louise Kavanagh

“A passionate scuba diver and motorcyclist, no matter whether on land or sea, Louise is always ready for an adventure. Though she has travelled to amazing places like Canada, Norway, Spain and Malta, Ireland will always be her favourite. Joining Wilderness Ireland's Sales Team in 2017, she will help choose the perfect trip for you - or even work with you to build your own custom dream trip!”

View profileMore by Louise

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