Illustrations for The Club by Edu Fuentes

April 2024

The joy of solo travel

Thinking about exploring your next destination alone? Companion Vouchers now provide a discount on solo travel and, to celebrate, we’ve asked friends of The Club to share their singleton stories of adventure

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The Lake District, Chile
Says who? Jamie Lafferty, travel writer and photographer (National Geographic Traveller, New York Times and other titles)
So far as hard deadlines go, a total solar eclipse is as inflexible as they come. You must stand in a very particular spot at a very precise time or miss the shadow of the moon altogether. In December 2020, I was hoping to see the one passing over Chile’s Lake District. After near endless difficulties getting there with closed borders and cancelled buses, the day of the eclipse passed as much of the rest of the year had, which is to say unpredictably and alone.

It started in the pouring rain and, for a long time, it looked as if something as boring as cloud cover would end my chances. Except, unlike so much else in 2020, it turned out perfectly, the clouds parting at exactly the right moment to reveal the transcendental sight of two celestial bodies dancing in space. I wasn’t sharing the experience, but I wouldn’t be forgetting it, either.

If you want to see a solar eclipse for yourself, the next one will be on 1 October 2024 and visible in both Argentina and Chile.

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Arizona, USA
Says who? Hannah Ralph, travel writer and The Club magazine editor
As a baby-faced female, I face some unique tribulations as a solo traveller – and yet I’m convinced it’s the reason I feel grown up at all. I wear ‘Table for one?’ like a badge of honour, some great proof of my capability to exist. Hurtling down Arizona’s Route 89, the Red Rocks of Sedona surrounding my rental car, I blare music I don’t worry someone else isn’t enjoying. As my hot air balloon climbs the desert sky, I smile knowing I can do the most romantic thing, all by myself.

The Maldives
Says who? Ed Grenby, award-winning writer and former editor of The Sunday Times Travel Magazine
“Ah, I see, Sir. Shall I… remove the rose petals from the bed then?” “Not bothered, mate. Just make sure you leave both pillow chocolates each night.” Travelling solo is even sweeter in the places where those smug couple types least expect it. So, in February 2020, with lockdown looming, I made a by-myself break for the world HQ of honeymoons: the Maldives.

Last time, I’d taken the long-term girlfriend, and we’d bickered over everything (even which of us got which masseuse in our ‘romantic couples’ spa ritual). This time, though, it was just me, my every whim and complimentary Champagne. Raise a glass – hell, raise two, since housekeeping has left them – to the one-ymoon.

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Marseille, France
Says who? Madévi Dailly, travel writer and food editor for Mr & Mrs Smith
In times of turmoil, I turn to the purifying powers of the Mediterranean. This is how I found myself in Marseille one hot single summer, my heart heavy and confused, craving the anonymity of a city I barely knew. And what a city it is – brash and boisterous, sun-drenched and loud, oddly welcoming.

I got lost in the warren of narrow streets twisting around the old port, seeking out simple pleasures I could savour with the full greed of a solo traveller: long trawls through hip boutiques, flirtatious chats with waiters, cold sorbets for parched days. A day trip took me to the Calanques, a protected stretch of velvety sea and limestone-carved bays. Dolphins followed the boat for a while, jumping in and out of the water. Here it is, they seemed to say: happiness, so easy to grasp, if you’d only just reach for it.

To see how your some of your fellow Executive Club Members have spent their solo Companion Vouchers, click here

This article has been tagged Adventure, Destination