Avoiding 7 Mistakes on Holiday Solo Travel

Avoiding 7 Mistakes on Holiday Solo Travel: As the holidays approach, not unexpectedly increased traffic is expected to pick up. In the US, Thanksgiving has been the most heavily traveled date. As  we are approaching that holiday on Nov. 25, 2021, travel restrictions resulting from the pandemic continue to evolve. While many are easing entry requirements, New Zealand for one has taken a step back. In the interim, positive news as to potential new treatments for the coronavirus give a sense that there is light at the end of the tunnel albeit not immediately.

Avoiding 7 Mistakes on Holiday Solo Travel

For solo travelers heading out in 2021, be sure to look beyond COVID-19 to avoid pitfalls of holiday travel. Having typically traveled at that time, I have learned the hard way how the following seven mistakes to avoid on holiday solo travel. Otherwise, they can wreak havoc with your celebration.

Avoiding 7 Mistakes on Holiday Solo Travel: Getting There:

Tip One:

Never, ever check a bag during the holidays. I spent a large part of a family Christmas in the luggage room at the St. Louis Airport. If you must clearly mark your roller bag and snap a photo of any valuables inside.

Tip Two:

Traveling on the day before a major holiday. As I found on Dec. 24, 2019 traveling from Prague to Washington, DC, the overseas flight was literally the worst of my lifetime. (To be fair, the two emergency landings I had on commercial flights did rank in tandem in first place.)

Tip Three:

On an overbooked flight, failing to negotiate an upgrade using miles and cash. It pays to ask. On my flight from Prague, I discovered half way across the Atlantic Ocean that for $400 I could have upgraded to Business Class. Having flown economy on two of the world’s longest flights (to Australia and South Africa), I work hard to keep to a budget-friendly plan. However, there are times that a little splurge goes a long way.

Tip Four:

Having too many destinations packed into one holiday. Unless you are going on a cruise, river cruise or escorted tour, especially during the pandemic, complying with national border entry requirements can eat up most of your vacation. I have deferred my six country odyssey for next May 2022, but I can only imagine what that would mean for year-end holidays.

Tip Five:

Not recognizing that traveling through another country to your destination may require a visa or have other restrictions. Some time ago I had a work trip in Feb. to go from DC to South Africa. A raging blizzard left only one runway open at JFK Airport in NYC. Always looking for a Plan B, I thought I was very clever to check the Delta flights through Brazil to avoid the snow storm. However, to merely change planes there required US passport holders to have a visa. No such luck on a snowy weekend. At times, China has allowed a visa requirements waivers for 2-3 day tourist travelers or those in transit. Be sure to check this out ahead of time.

Avoiding 7 Mistakes on Holiday Solo Travel: Ways to Save:

Tip Six:

Failing to check special discounts based on days of travel or early celebrations. If you are flexible, try to vacation in Nov. while rates are lower. They tend to climb by (or before) Dec.22. For hard hit ski resorts, when they open for the season and typically have less snow, prices will be lower than Christmas-New Year’s even in the past at the fabled Sun Valley Lodge in Idaho.

Avoiding 7 Mistakes on Holiday Solo Travel: Planning Ahead:

Tip Seven:

Not making a firm dinner reservation for the holidays, themselves and Saturday nights. As a “party of one”, it can be challenging to book a dinner reservation for fine dining. It is even more competitive at Christmas and New Year’s. I was shocked at a top hotel to find they did not reserve for hotel guests first. After being offered Christmas Eve dinner alone in their bar, I negotiated my way back into the dining room. Caveat: That may mean eating at 5 PM.


A special tip this year: While there are unheard of solo travel deals with no single supplements and other discounted last minute vacations, check out destination discounts. For example, see the “We Miss You” campaign in Bonaire in the Netherland Antilles described below.

Learn More:

Not Alone for the Holidays-10 Tips

Solo Travel Holiday Tips for Savings



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