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If you’re travelling solo, but don’t necessarily want to be alone, why not consider a volunteer holiday? GVI’s volunteer programs give you a chance to make an impact, meet new people and experience a new country all at the same time.
Travelling solo can be the greatest adventure you’ll ever have. When you choose a solo volunteer program, you’ll take one giant step out of your personal comfort zone, while contributing towards international sustainable development.
Choosing to volunteer on your next solo trip adds extra meaning to your travels, giving you the opportunity to give back to the communities you visit. It’s also the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded individuals from around the world, meaning you’ll spend most of your trip in the company of newfound friends and expert mentors.
What solo travel teaches you
Travelling solo is a journey of self-discovery and self-development. It can be challenging, but travelling alone opens up new opportunities for personal growth.
You’ll be more open to meeting new people, instead of staying enclosed within your own circle. In fact, you’ll find yourself improving your social and communication skills as you become more comfortable striking up conversations with strangers.
You’ll learn that you can depend on yourself and that you are entirely capable of managing every challenge that being on the road throws at you. Solo travel is a great way to hone your problem-solving skills and become a master of thinking on your feet.
You’ll become more independent and organised as you embrace the freedom of having control over every aspect of your trip. No compromises necessary!
You’ll get comfortable with spending time in your own company. Travelling alone is the perfect time for introspection and self-reflection. Plus, you’ll become accustomed to facing situations you might have previously found awkward, such as dining alone in restaurants.
How to plan solo travel
Planning solo can be daunting. Not only do you have full responsibility for all your travel arrangements, but you’ll also want to make sure you’re choosing destinations and activities that will still allow you to enjoy the social element of your trip.
For example, you might want to consider booking yourself into hostels rather than hotels, or choosing destinations where you know you’ll be able to speak the same language as the local people.
You’ll also need to pay closer attention to your budget, as you won’t have the guarantee of splitting your accommodation or taxi costs with another person.
Solo travel tours are a great option if you’re a first-time solo traveller. The hard work of planning will be taken care of, and you’ll be guaranteed to meet a group of like-minded people from around the world.
The structured experience of a solo-travel tour — or singles volunteer holiday — can give you the confidence you need to tackle your next solo adventure completely alone.
The best places to travel solo
The best solo-travel destinations are safe to visit, have a culture of travelling and backpacking, and offer immersive and exciting travel opportunities.
It’s always a good idea to research the security of a destination before setting off on your trip. Your country’s foreign affairs office will typically share safety advice and warnings with travellers.
Otherwise, there aren’t many limitations on where you can travel solo. Essentially, you can visit pretty much any country you would if you were travelling with another person.
Top solo travel destinations include spots such as:
The best solo adventure travel and volunteer opportunities
GVI has a wide range of volunteering opportunities abroad for single travellers. These programs combine meaningful volunteer work with cultural and adventure excursions in some of the most remote and beautiful locations around the world. You can make a sustainable and positive impact even when volunteering short term.
Here are outstanding solo travel ideas for your next overseas holiday.
Contribute to sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica
Travel to Cahuita Rainforest in Costa Rica, a wilderness of freshwater creeks and lagoons you can navigate by canoe, and beaches that are nesting sites for critically endangered hawksbills, endangered green sea turtles and vulnerable leatherbacks.
Your volunteer efforts can help to protect these creatures and ensure their future.
Work with children on a volunteer teaching project in Nepal
Visit the lakeside city of Pokhara in Nepal, known as the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, and volunteer on a range of education projects in a local primary school. You could support literacy and numeracy lessons, or give individual support in the classroom.
In your free time, you can explore Nepal’s incredible natural beauty through trekking trips, or immerse yourself in the Nepali culture of your homestay.
Join a wildlife research expedition in South Africa
In the heart of the African savannah, you can witness lions, elephants and cheetahs in their wildest habitat. Go on the ultimate safari experience to see some of the most incredible creatures on the planet up close.
Plus, you‘ll be playing an active role in the long-term conservation of South Africa’s animals.
Volunteer with children in Fiji
Volunteer on an island in Fiji, where you can enjoy both sandy beaches and dense jungles. This project involves supporting early childhood education in a local community, through various games and activities.
During your stay, you’ll be immersed in Fijian living, learning about the traditions and culture of these Pacific islands.
Support global public health in Thailand
Based in a small beachside village in Phang Nga, this volunteer holiday is a chance for you to contribute to the health and well-being of the local community. Take part in nutrition and hygiene workshops, or help to organise sports and other physical education activities.
In your free time, you can explore Thailand’s remarkable coastline, either island-hopping, snorkelling or simply basking on the beach.
Protect sea turtles in Greece
Discover a piece of Greecian history and the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea when you volunteer in Greece. Based in the Bay of Kyparissia, you can help to conserve an important loggerhead turtle nesting area. As a volunteer, you might survey the nesting activity of female turtles, or protect nests from predators and floods.
As well as featuring a striking stretch of coastline, this area is a great spot for exploring Greek architecture, customs and cuisine.
You might not be able to travel yet, but there’s nothing stopping you from planning your solo adventure today. Or if you want to get going on your journey towards making an impact, why not start with one of our online courses while you wait?