AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
FIND YOUR AITO ASSURED HOLIDAY

Travelling with strangers!? 6 reasons why you won't regret it

Slide 1

08 May 2018 One of the biggest trends in 2017 was the growth of people travelling independently. According to the latest Wanderlust Magazine’s Adventure Travel Survey, in 2017, 31% of UK travellers did so without friends and partners. Certainly at KE Adventure Travel we have seen a steady growth in our solo travellers and in 2017 over 56% of our clients joined a small group trip on their own.

So what’s so compelling about joining a group of complete strangers rather than going it alone?
Get to places you can’t easily get to on your own. It really can become overwhelming when you start to plan a holiday. You can be short on time and arrangements on the ground are often hard to organise by yourself. At KE we’ll have done the hours, days, months of preparation for you, to create itineraries which will include the best trails and sites in your chosen destination.

For instance, you might want to see the famous UNESCO listed churches carved out of rock in Lalibela, Ethiopia, but you have no idea how to get there from the capital or what paperwork you’ll need.

Our Product Mangers have travelled extensively in Ethiopia and have created a 2 week itinerary that not only visits Lalibela, but also takes you trekking through the Simien Mountains and to Gondar’s castles. Expect to see Galada Baboons and drink the best fresh Ethiopian coffee with your group.

Pakistan is home to some of the world’s most breath-taking mountains, but it is still logistically a huge challenge to organise your own trekking holiday here.

Pakistan is the country most close to our hearts as it's where KE (which originally stood for Karakoram Experience) first started operating holidays in 1984. We know that trekking to K2, Concordia and across Snow Lake are three of the finest adventure treks on earth. But with an undeveloped tourist infrastructure and language barriers it’s almost unheard of not to book a trip with a tour operator and the challenge is to find one with the best local guides.

We’ve been working with our team out in Pakistan for over 30 years and they visit us each year at our office in Keswick too. You won’t regret joining a small guided group with our wonderful Zafar as your local leader.
 
Top Tip: Learn about community projects in the area. KE and our previous travellers have helped fund the Hushe valley clean water scheme. When you arrive in the dramatic Hushe valley, expect the friendliest of welcomes when locals spot your KE trek bag.

When it comes to logistics, avoid the nightmare of arranging it on your own.
Whether you’re embarking on some Himalayan hiking or tackling a long-distance European trail like the GR20 in Corsica, getting your luggage and supplies from one place to another can be quite the challenge. Baggage transfers are literally a massive weight off your shoulders and when you’re not staying in one place for a week, you need to know how you’re getting your kit and food from each night’s hotel or hut. This is where travelling with a tour company can be a great help.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the world's greatest walks which takes you through France, Switzerland and Italy. The route is challenging but well within the capabilities of regular hill walkers. On our 12 days tour you'll not only complete the entire route on foot but all meals are included (no meal prep or washing up), all hotels are booked for you and we arrange for your bags to meet you each evening. You simply walk with a lightweight day pack.

You won’t be stuck with a group of couples, you be joining solo travellers too.
With solo travellers making up over 50% of group numbers, it’s highly likely you’ll meet fellow travellers who like you, have chosen to go it alone and join a group trip. Perhaps your friends and partner couldn’t take the same leave as you, or this is a trip you just have to do for yourself. It really doesn’t matter once you’ve broken the ice over that first night’s meal.

At KE, likeminded travellers from all over the world join our departures because you can book every tour on a Land Only basis. If you’re already travelling in India, it’s simple to join our India Himalaya trekking holiday in Delhi and journey to the foothills of the sacred Nanda Devi (7817m) – the spiritual high point of India, a place only few travellers visit.

Top Tip: You can always phone the KE office and ask about the group make-up for a tour you’re thinking of joining.

You don’t have to pay more for travelling solo.
It’s your choice to save and share, or upgrade to your own room. You might even find a free upgrade offer. Unlike many hotels and tour operators, we don’t automatically charge you more because you’re travelling on your own. We first give you the choice to save money and pair up in a twin room or tent with someone in your group of the same sex. However, if you don’t want to share a room, on most tours you can upgrade. This is known as a single supplement, and this optional price is published before you book. We really don’t believe in any hidden fees.

Top Tip: Look out for single supplement offers. Right now we have a great offer on 5 of our Bhutan adventure holidays where you can upgrade to your own single tent for no extra cost and save up to £450 in the process. It’s not enforced ‘jollity’. But it’s often something much bigger.

Share your adventure. Make life-long friends.
Remember, it’s your choice to be the soul of the party or chill out, and relax in your room with your favourite book. Yes, you’re travelling together but no one is going to tell you how to enjoy yourself – that’s up to you. Whichever you prefer, you’ll find it’s the moments like chatting away the miles on long walks, trying each other’s street food choices and testing out the local language together which are the times you’ll remember best in years to come.
When you share an experience like trekking in remote Northern Vietnam where you stay with hill-tribe villagers in their homes, it’s heart-warming to know that your memories of this adventure will also be shared by others. Many solo travellers who meet on our tours stay in touch well after they’ve flown home and stay friends (or even partners) for life.

Still have unanswered questions? Speak to KE Adventure Travel’s travel experts on +44 (0) 17687 73966, Toll Free 1 888 630 4415, or email sales@keadventure.com

Still have unanswered questions? Speak to KE Adventure Travel’s travel experts on +44 (0) 17687 73966, Toll Free 1 888 630 4415, or email sales@keadventure.com

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