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Tips for Solo Travellers on Group Trips

Posted on Jul 20, 2018 by Dawn Rainbolt

Solo travelling is a trend that keeps growing, and more and more solo travellers are joining group trips.

Here are our tips for solo travellers on how to make the most of your small group trip in Ireland.

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.

1. Join a mixed group.

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.

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 a group trip.

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 right 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 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. Your trip will 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. 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 and more. Or, head in to Dublin to take a train (either from Connolly Station or Heuston Station) to the meeting point.

Learn more about travelling in Ireland here.

8. Solo Traveller Safety.

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.), as well as the Wilderness Ireland office number and even an 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!

It’s important for solo travellers 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 to 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.

Here are our recommendations for best trips to join as a solo traveller!

Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

Hiking Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coastal Route
Location: Northern Ireland – Giants Causeway & Belfast
  • Hike iconic Irish landscapes including UNESCO World Heritage Site the Giant's Causeway, Slieve League Cliffs & Glenveagh National Park
  • Walk Ireland's most northernly peninsula and Star Wars filming location, Malin Head, where mountains meet sea.
  • Hike through Donegal, voted National Geographic's Coolest Place on Earth in 2017
  • Island hopping to Rathlin Island, in search of myths and puffins

Price: from €1,710

View Trip Details

Hiking the Mountains of Connemara and Mayo

Hiking in Connemara
Location: West – Connemara, Burren & Aran Islands
  • Challenge yourself by summiting three of the west of Ireland's highest peaks
  • Join local guides who will help you to really get under the skin of this fascinating landscape
  • Follow in the steps of St Patrick as we follow ancient pilgrimage routes that date to pre-Christian times
  • Explore the wildest and most sparsely populated area of Ireland

Price: from €1,710

View Trip Details

Hiking - Dingle Way

Hiking the Dingle Way on the Dingle Peninsula, Wilderness Ireland
Location: South West – Cork & Kerry
  • Hike the Dingle Way, Ireland's most scenic long distance hiking trail
  • Explore a corner of Ireland once called the 'most beautiful place on Earth' by National Geographic
  • Meet local characters, listen to live traditional music and taste the delicious local food of Dingle

Price: from €1,795

View Trip Details

Bike Tour - Donegal From Cliffs to Coast

Mamore Gap Bike Donegal Ireland - biking Donegal
Location: North West – Donegal & Sligo
  • Explore Slieve League, some of Europe's highest sea cliffs!
  • Cycle Donegal's remote landscapes - National Geographic's #1 Coolest Place on Earth
  • Reach Ireland's northernmost point of Ireland, Malin Head - a Star Wars filming location

Price: from €1,995

View Trip Details

Hiking and Island Hopping Cork and Kerry

Skellig Islands tours, Kerry, hiking and island hopping in Cork and Kerry
Location: South West – Cork & Kerry
  • Guided gentle hikes & island hopping along the spectacular coastline and islands of southwest Ireland
  • Climb Skellig Michael, UNESCO World Heritage, and now a Star Wars filming location
  • Explore remote islands where the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) culture & tradition is still strong

Price: from €1,795

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Bike Tour - Wild Atlantic Way

biking the Wild Atlantic Way
Location: Multi-Location
  • Bike along the Wild Atlantic Way from Ireland's extreme south to its northernmost point
  • Bike through 3 Irish National Parks, 8 counties & cover 672 km or 418 miles!
  • Tick off classic Irish biking routes such as the Ring of Kerry, Corkscrew Hill & Mamore Gap

Price: from €3,600

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Hiking the Wicklow Way

Hiking the Wicklow Way - Glendalough valley and lakes
Location:
  • Hike the best of the famous Wicklow Way in Ireland's Ancient East
  • Discover the magic of the ancient valley and monastic city of Glendalough
  • Visit Powerscourt Estate & Waterfall, rated among Top 10 Gardens of the World
  • One night's stay a deluxe eco-lodge & celebratory final night in Dublin

Price: from €1,795

View Trip Details

About the author

Dawn Rainbolt

American by birth but European in spirit, Dawn has called the US, Costa Rica, Spain, England, Poland, France and now Ireland home over the years. While she has travelled to more than 30 countries, she has fallen in love with the rich Irish culture, intriguing history, ancient castles, cheery locals and sweeping landscapes of Ireland.

Read more articles by Dawn


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