TRAVELLING solo or single; there's a difference. Dropping the reference to marital status and looking at yourself as a solo adventurer can help you get on the road.

But, where do you start?

Encounter Travel's Justine Waddington has put together a guide book, The Solo Traveller's Compass, for anyone wanting to set off on solo travel experiences. It has over 200 practical tips.

"It's suited to someone who is a first-time solo traveller or maybe hasn't travelled for a long time on their own and wants a bit of refresher of things to keep in mind when you are travelling solo," Justine said. "And before you travel, what you need to prepare for."

The book is split into three sections - getting started, before you go and on your trip.

Justine talks about what is stopping people from doing solo travel and how you can unblock those things that they consider barriers to starting a new adventure.

"The book is set around, you don't have to be alone when you travel solo," Justine said. "It talks about joining groups and how to choose the right group as a solo traveller so you feel like you are going to be joining one that is more suited to you.

It talks about choosing the right tour and about what to look for when you are flicking through brochures and thinking about which kind of trip you want to join."

The book also covers sharing; would you make a good room sharer and what to consider before committing to sharing.

Justine's travel agency caters for solo travellers many of whom are aged 60 and over. Each tour is a small group with soft adventure experiences high on the agenda.

The alternative type is the "flop and drop" tour to resorts which includes both group activities and time to chill out individually.

For all tours, rooms can be shared or booked for solo occupation.

During the year Justine also organises traveller events in Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Melbourne where tour guests reunite and where first-timer guests can meet other solo travellers and learn more about what it is like to head off alone in company.

"Our travellers come from all over Australia," Justine said.

For copies of The Solo Traveller's Compass which costs $29 including postage, go to justinewaddington.com. For more details on solo bookings with Encounter Travel, go to encountertravel.com.au.


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