Solo trips are not for everyone, but if you are passionate about travel, it’s something you should consider doing at least once. Traveling alone is a chance to have adventures at your pace, without worrying about anyone else’s needs.
East Africa offers many destinations for the solo traveler, whether seeking an unforgettable safari or a few days of basking on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Explorer Kenya can help you plan an ideal solo trip to anywhere you choose in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, or Rwanda.
Although we take care of most of the details, traveling alone can still be daunting, especially the first time. Regardless of whether you are planning to be part of a tour or journey independently, there is so much to think about. If you are not careful, you could overlook some aspects. We wouldn’t want that, though. If you are going to embrace solo travel, you might as well do it right.
Learning a few basics of travel planning for a single person should help you avoid common pitfalls.
Be Clear about the Budget
The first thing to know about traveling alone is that it will cost more than if you were in a group. For one, most tour packages are designed to favor couples and groups. Accommodation can especially get expensive when paying for single occupancy (one guest in a room).
A majority of safari lodges and camping tents are tailored for two-person sharing. The costs typically cover maintenance, meals, and operations. So, when you book a place for one individual, it means shouldering full accommodation costs.
However, some accommodations have ‘per person rates with a supplement for single occupancy to cover the required costs. Therefore, it allows you to pay less than full accommodation prices.
Tours, park entry fees, and events charges are other areas where singles incur bigger expenses than groups.
Another reason you will feel a pinch when paying for solo travel is that everything is up to you. Whether it’s a guided wildlife tour at the Tsavo or an excursion at Mt. Kilimanjaro, you won’t share the costs with anyone.
With all this in mind, budget for your trip properly. Decide early on what you intend to spend so that it’s easier to organize everything. Look up travel budget tips if you are not sure where to start. A budget prevents you from overspending. It would be a waste to go on a dream safari holiday, then worry about finances when you return because you didn’t do the math. Hence, plan your trip to match the reality of your budget.
If you need budget travel options, we have more than enough offerings. Once you know your spending cap, then you can shop around for the most affordable experiences. Additionally, consider using budgeting tools to help put your finances in order before your trip.
Define Your Expectations
A smart travel plan, whether for one or several people, should have a clear outlook. Before you begin bookings, know what to expect from your safari. These ideas must be reasonable and realistic. For one, decide if you intend to be fully independent during tours or join a group. This choice dictates other aspects like vehicle rental.
When it comes to meals, decide if you prefer dining alone or communally. Some tourists prefer eating alone rather than risk ending up in an undesirable company. However, you might have a say on whom you decide to join during meal times. A lot of places let guests decide which groups they want to be part of. In most cases, you dine with your safari group.
You must also be clear if you mind being around children or not. Depending on the destination, you may have to deal with a lot of families. The same applies to popular romantic destinations. You might not wish to be around couples. So, express your desires from the get-go to avoid inconveniences during the trip.
For photo tours, communicate your objectives from the first day. If you are hoping to spot a specific bird or animal, the safari guide must know about this so as to direct the tour accordingly.
If you joined a group for tours or meals then realize later it’s not working out, you could ask to switch. Talk to the safari guide to learn what options are available.
Before leaving for safari, have an idea of what you will be doing while there. Create a wish list to know what to get out of your trip. If you are taking the Northern Tanzania circuit, for instance, maybe seeing the Ngorongoro Crater is high up on your list. If it’s a photo tour, you might have particular animals you intend to shoot.
Of course, your itinerary can include many other activities. It might be difficult to get through all of them. For this reason, rank your to-do list in order of importance, then book these first. You should also divide your budget according to this list. Ensure you get to do your most desired activities before the money runs out.
A wish list also helps with time management. When you know which activities to focus on, then you can apportion your time appropriately. The top activities should be scheduled for the first days of your trip when you are still fresh. You can also include breaks to give you time to recharge, especially if you are planning for high-intensity activities like mountain climbing, hiking, and walking tours.
Still, Be Spontaneous
Just because you have an itinerary ready when you arrive at your destination doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in spur-of-the-moment adventures. Sometimes, unplanned exploits yield the most satisfying experiences.
Thus, leave room for spontaneity during your trip. You might come across something that prompts you into an activity you hadn’t even thought about. Don’t hold yourself back merely to avoid going off-script. Be careful with unexpected expenses, though, they can quickly add up and ruin your plan.
Ask about Tailor-Made Itineraries
Due to the hassle of planning and accommodating solo travelers, it’s best to have a bespoke safari package that serves your specific needs. For such options, you have to work with a tour operator. An experienced company like Explorer Kenya partners with a long list of suppliers and knows who to contact for solo accommodation and other requirements. Whatever your travel plans, we can design a suitable safari package.
Don’t Forget About Safety
Traveling solo means everything about your safety falls on you. Therefore, you have to be extra meticulous on this front. You might not have anyone else to turn to if something went wrong.
Start by researching everything about your destination. If you are going to Kenya, know about the emergency numbers and your country’s embassy contacts in case you need them. Also, learn about the no-go places for tourists.
Before leaving home, give or family and/or friends a copy of your itinerary and travel schedule. They should learn where you are staying, your flights, and the locations you intend to visit. Have more than one person know how to reach you if necessary. Check-in regularly to let people know you are fine. If plans change in the course of the trip, inform your contacts back home.
You should also familiarise yourself with basic security measures to protect your valuables. If you are staying at a hotel or lodge, consider locking vital documents in a safe. Avoid using public Wi-Fi, especially for banking transactions. Check out other tips about staying safe while traveling.
Solo travel to East Africa can be a marvelous experience that sets you on a path to discover fantastic destinations. Whether you plan to enjoy some quiet time or have fun interacting with locals, you can do anything on a solo trip.
As exciting of an adventure it can be, traveling by your lonesome can be daunting. The planning phase can be particularly grueling. Between picking suitable accommodation, creating an itinerary, and booking tours, there is a lot to do. The tips highlighted can help you ease some of the stress of arranging a solo trip.
Hiring Explorer Kenya to handle the nitty-gritty of your safari can help you get the most out of your holiday.