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The Dragoman guide to going solo

What do you do when you hear a call to adventure, but none of your friends are available to answer it with you? More and more travellers are embracing the freedom, flexibility, and pure indulgence of travelling at their own speed. As the 19th Century philosopher Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready”.

If striking out completely on your own is a daunting prospect, then you might consider joining a group overland tour. On a typical Dragoman trip, around 50% of passengers will be solo travellers and the rest couples or friends travelling together. Joining with other adventurers for a small group tour is an excellent way to meet like-minded people and forge new friendships. Solo travel needn’t mean travelling alone.

Here are just some of the benefits of joining a Dragoman trip as a solo traveller:

1. Making friends

On an overlanding trip, your fellow passengers are as much a part of the adventure as the places you’re travelling through. Groups often consist of people from varying nationalities, age groups, backgrounds and world-views, and usually a strong group spirit develops as you share incredible experiences. Everyone mucks in with setting up camp, preparing food, loading luggage, and collecting water and firewood, and this idea of ‘pitching in’ has always been a key feature of overlanding. It’s not uncommon for life-long friendships to begin on board.

2. Save money with the Dragoman kitty

A Dragoman trip usually involves paying into a kitty managed by the tour leader. The kitty is a group fund used to pay for all camping and hotel accommodation, all food while camping, and all included activities that the group does as a whole. By paying in bulk we are often able to save money and pass on those savings to you – and any money left in the kitty at the end of the trip is dividing among the group and refunded.

3. Avoid single supplements

A single supplement is a charge paid by solo travellers when they take a room alone. Because Dragoman trips are designed for multi-share accommodation, whether staying in hotels or camping, they don’t involve a single supplement by default. If joining a trip as a solo traveller, you’ll be paired with a member of the same sex, which keeps the cost down. That said, if you decide you’d like to have your own room, it may be possible to upgrade when you’re on the road, depending on availability – but you’ll have to pay the difference yourself. Your tour leader can help with this.

4. Staying safe

There’s safety in numbers, and travelling as part of a small group under the guidance of our experienced tour leaders mitigates a large part of the risk that you might face by travelling alone. Our guides know which areas of town to avoid and what scams to watch out for, and by travelling with others you’ll always have someone to watch your back. If you want to get off the beaten track, it’s best to do so as part of a group.

5. Access to the Dragoland community

Travelling with Dragoman is more than just a holiday – it’s about meeting other people and forging friendships. That’s why we created the Dragoland community on Facebook, where adventurers old and new can come together to ask for tips and advice, and to share plans, memories and photographs from their trips.

6. Convenience

Planning your own trip can be confusing and complex. Luckily we’ve already done the hard work for you! We’ve been operating overland tours in Africa, Asia and the Americas for nearly 40 years, and all our tours are carefully designed to offer you freedom, flexibility, and the time to explore. Our diverse range of itineraries genuinely get you off the beaten track of the destination you’re visiting, and guarantees you a unique adventure to boast to your friends about when you get home!

 

Meet Carme, one of our regular solo travellers

Carme has been described by her co-passengers as ‘wonderful’, a ‘legend’, and a ‘real free spirit’. She’s joined us on a number of trips as a solo traveller, most recently the epic pioneering run of our Western Trans Africa from Dakar to Cape Town. She brings an inspiring enthusiasm to any group, and she’s living proof that, with an open mind and open heart, solo travellers can get a lot out of an overlanding expedition!

Name: Carme
Where are you from? Spain

Why did you decide to travel with Dragoman?
Because I consider Dragoman as a mobile university.

What is your essential item in your backpack?
Camera and my soul

What advice can you give to future overlanders?
Have a big lens in your eyes, keep your eyes open, the bigger your zoom the better.

If you were an animal what would you be and why?
An elephant - they are wise, it’s a community and they know the nature.

 

Don’t just take our word for it! We’ve also been featured in The Guardian’s round-up of the 20 best group trips for solo travellers.