When I tell people I travel alone, some of the most common reactions I get are:
“I could never travel by myself!!!”
“I’ve always wanted to travel by myself!”
“I’ve been thinking about traveling by myself. I always want to go places, but I don’t have anyone to go with.”
Whether you’ve considered traveling alone or not, I will tell you this: solo travel is one of the most liberating experiences ever. My first solo trip was not by choice. You can read more about that here. However, it was one of the greatest experiences I ever could have had. I had so much fun on that trip that I never felt the need to wait on someone to travel with me again.
There is a false assumption that one must be extremely outgoing in order to travel by themselves. Not true. I’m not outgoing at all… or at least I wasn’t. I’ve always considered myself an introvert.. and I still do. But traveling alone brought out things in me that I didn’t know were there. I discovered a few things:
- I can very easily meet people and make friends. Being stuck at home in my bubble surrounded by only the people I wanted to be around led me to believe that it was hard for me to meet new people. WRONG. Traveling alone will expose traits in you that you didn’t know existed. You’ll find yourself socializing more – whether it be with the waiter, or the hotel staff, or strangers in a restaurant. You will find a new sense of courage and confidence.
- I REALLY am OK with doing things alone. I knew I enjoyed my alone time, but I realized I REALLLLY enjoy alone time. Walking through Lynn Canyon in Vancouver was exhilarating. I was able to take in the sounds, the smells… I veered off course to take some selfies AND I was able to find people to snap photos for me. One of the questions I get quite often is “who takes your pictures?” The answer is, “me” or “whatever lucky person I happen to be around at the moment.” LOL. May be a stranger. May be a stranger turned friend. There are always people willing to snap a quick photo.
- No one is worried about you being alone. I was always paranoid about how pathetic I would look. I thought people would look at me and think, “that poor poor girl with no friends. How sad.” The reality is, most people don’t assume that I’m on a trip by myself, even if they see me alone. They assume I’m with others that may not be there at the time. No one is sitting around feeling sorry for me. Half the people that find out am alone say, “Wow, I wish I could travel by myself!”
Stop wishing, start doing. Here are a few tips for solo travel:
- Go to a place that has a lot of stuff that you like to do. Vegas is my place of choice. There’s constantly stuff to do there, day and night. I love the beach too, so a nice beach vacation is the ultimate solo trip for me.
- Stay at places that are a “one stop shop.” Again, Vegas, all-inclusive resorts, cruises, hotels surrounded by restaurants/activities. This way you can walk everywhere you need to go, or not even leave the hotel if you don’t want to.
- Meet people when you get there. There are tons of online communities where you can meet people.
- Keep your phone charged. For those awkward moments when you need to look busy… or for directions… or if you just get bored.
- Invest in a tripod. I got some REALLY awesome shots with my tripod. I held off for a while, because they’re pretty embarrassing to set up, but I snuck it up when no one was looking and got some wonderful photos!
- Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers. Discerningly of course, but people are overall safe. Say hello, spark up a convo. Ask people what they are doing. You may find that either (a.) you can hang out with someone else’s group or (b.) they can give you some ideas of things to do that you hadn’t thought of.
- Take group tours. When I visited Puerto Rico, I was on a group tour with two couples. The couples talked to me more than they talked to each other! Group tours provide you with social opportunities (and you have people to take pictures for you).
Stop letting the fact that no one wants to go with you keep you from traveling. For years I lived life waiting on everyone else to get on board with what I wanted to do, missing out on the great things that life had in store.
Join me in Houston in September for a Solo Trip Planning Class!
- Do you travel alone? What are some of your favorite places and tips?
- If you don’t travel alone, what’s keeping you from doing doing so?
“As you travel solo, being totally responsible for yourself, it is inevitable that you will discover just how capable you are.” Author Unknown