Rafting adventures for solo travellers

2nd February 2024

Considering a whitewater rafting trip but don’t have anyone to go with? No problem. Rafting makes an excellent adventure for solo travellers. And it’s a trend that is on the rise. Before the pandemic in 2019 just under 24% of our guests were solo travellers, however last year that leapt to over 41%. Why the big change? People want experiences that make them feel alive. If vacation time or budget is limited, people are searching for a trip that packs a punch, combining adventure with relaxation, culture with new experiences. Sitting on a beach for a week just won’t cut it anymore.

In this blog we’ll bust some common myths about who solo travellers are and why rafting makes an excellent adventure trip for solo travellers.

Group of solo travellers white water rafting together

Lifelong friends created right here.

Myth 1: Solo travellers are young.

Surprisingly, this is completely untrue on our rafting trips. Example: 83 year old Jaro from Canada who came to Papua New Guinea on his own to go rafting and loved it. Many of our guests in their 40, 50s and 60’s join us for an adventure. One of our most frequent guests, Nancy, loves travelling on her own and despite still looking like she’s 21, she more than three times that age!  She has two trips booked this year.

Older man white water rafting as a solo adventure traveller

Solo travellers come in all ages

Myth 2: Solo travellers are single.

Solo doesn’t necessarily equal single. Loads of couples like different things and they embrace those differences by taking separate holidays. In many cases one of the pair LOVES rafting, whilst the other might not be so enthusiastic about it. We find that these adventurous couples do some trips together, but many head off for a solo adventure that makes them happy, whilst their other half does the same.

Myth 3: Only men have solo travel adventures

Last year, out of our solo travellers 44% were women, up from 32% pre-pandemic. Given 60% of our guests are female, we are delighted to see more women having the courage to travel on their own. And it’s not just our stats that show this trend. It’s a growing trend globally. Women don’t want to wait for their partner to join them or try to find friends who have the same interests or have to accommodate other people’s timelines. They want to feel empowered to head out on their own but with the sociability of a group. Our trips certainly provide that.

Myth 4: Solo adventure travel is lonely or scary

If you travelled entirely on your own, then sure there may be times that it can get lonely or scary. But not on our trips. You will be in a small group of like-minded people with plenty of people to chat to (if you want to). Guides are also wonderful at spotting people who’d like a chat and share a story. They also do a great job ensuring that there is nothing to be scared about!  We believe that shared experiences like rafting are brilliant for breaking down barriers and forging friendships.

Solo adventure travellers laughing around a campfire with drinks in hand

Get ready for loads of fun and laughs

Myth 5: I’ll never see these people again.

Whether you see your fellow travellers again is up to you. But many of our solo travellers have met long time travel buddies on their first Water By Nature trip and have done several together since. Take Sheri and Candi for example, who had each done a trip on their own to Morocco and the Zambezi before joining on our New Zealand trip and have subsequently travelled to Nepal, Canada and Papua New Guinea as the best of friends.

Nepali man shaking hands with westerner

Meeting a local on the hike into the Tamur in Nepal

Myth 6: Solo travel adventures are more expensive

Solo travellers often get hit with single supplements. Not on our trips. We have a policy that if you are on your own and you are willing to share, you won’t be charged a single supplement. If the way the group comes together and a single person is left with nobody of the same sex to share with, you also won’t be charged. If you request to have your own hotel room, then there is an additional charge as the hotels add on a single supplement. On the river, we provide single tents free of charge so you can have your own space while camping.

Bonus of solo travel: You might meet a special someone!

We are the match.com of the adventure world.  You’d be surprised at the number of relationships that have started on a trip. Ian and Cath for example met on the Karnali in Nepal. Several trips later and several years later, still going strong.

So there you have it. Rafting makes an excellent solo travel adventure. Life is VERY simple on the river with no distractions. Phones don’t work, so it’s a good old chat around the campfire with a beer or glass of wine and a tray of canapes. This means better interactions, one-on-one, with your fellow travellers, locals or guides.  Sitting around the campfire chatting with your fellow rafters will make you wonder why you actually waited so long to do your first trip. You’ll make lifelong friendships, solidified with  a common bond forged by endorphins on the rapids and have amazing shared experiences to reminisce about.

Unsure it’s for you?

We always love chatting to people about our trips and getting them on the perfect trip. So contact us, or even better, pick up the phone and chat with a human!

by Hamish McMaster

Hamish McMaster is the Water By Nature owner. He has spent the past 25 years exploring and playing on the world's great rivers. He still loves nothing more than getting out there and sharing adventures.


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