Honestly, on Traveling Solo

I love traveling, any kind of travel. Hanging with the fam, girls weekends, camping excursions with a group of buddies… I love it all.

But I do have a particular soft spot in my heart for solo adventures.

Not sure if it’s for you? Let me throw out some of my experiences, suggestions and thoughts at you. Just please keep in mind that these comments are simply the perspectives of an individual single chick in her early 30’s, traveling solo.

Via: lovsnmua.wordpress
Via: lovsnmua.wordpress.com

– – – – – – – – – –THE OBVIOUS DISCLAIMER:

– Do your research first.

Obviously, right? I don’t even want to have to say this, but do lots of research on whether your travel destination is safe for you, local etiquette/customs and general danger/safety stuff. Just don’t be dumb.

I also like to have a handful of ideas or activities in my back pocket gleaned from said research, then wing it when I reach my destination. Planning in your back pocket, spontaneity in your heart.

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– It’s Liberating.

Solo adventures are empowering. I find the “alone in a crowd” isolation aspect to solo travel to be freeing. No one knows you and they may not even speak your language. No one is concerned with your past or current or really about you at all. You can just be.

– It’s 100% You.

The experience you get is created by you and only you. You are in control. So if you want to sit in your hotel room all day watching HBO, that’s up to you. If you want to climb a mountain and skydive, that’s up to you. There isn’t any need to compromise or adjust desires. You do what you want. You wait for no one. The potential for amazing is entirely in your hands.

– It’s Stress-Free

Though this depends on your personality and planning, naturally, there isn’t really any stress when you travel solo unless you create it. If you are a big worrier, you may not be able to let internal stress go. But for me, because everything is on my timeline and my choice, I find solo travel to be more relaxing and rejuvenating than any spa day I’ve ever experienced.

Via: youspodgynob.tumblr.com
Via: youspodgynob.tumblr.com

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– Deals are for Two.

Most travel deals you may find are for two travelers, with high surcharges for a solo traveler (if that option is even provided.) Most cruises and all-inclusive establishments assume double-occupancy. The chances of you finding a fantastic discounted trip on any deal-websites is small to none as a party of one.

– Un-shared Moments.

Obviously, you photograph the heck out of your trip and look forward to the social-media humble-bragging that takes place after the fact. And that’s pretty lovely. But in the moment, you will not have anyone to share the moment with. The shooting star, funny street antics, a really delicious meal… tiny experiential aspects of travel will be taken in by you alone. Which mostly is fine. But every once in a while, it may make you fleetingly sad.

– Forcefully Paired Up

You cannot take a tandem kayak alone. Same goes for para-sailing. Even if you ask nicely. You will get paired up on excursions you take. So much in travel activities is designed and built for double occupancy, as noted above. So be prepared to be partnered up with complete strangers during activities (sometimes in rather intimate feeling situations) that you would rather experience alone.

Via: xxkerynxx.tumblr.com
Via: xxkerynxx.tumblr.com

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– People will be confused by you.

Be prepared to have people seem perplexed when they find out you are traveling solo. I have had reactions varying from people being impressed to terrified for me. Traveling as a solo woman is apparently not the norm. I have found that if I am nonchalant about it, mostly people get over it fast.

– Pick your seat based on your friendly-index.

Eating alone really isn’t scary. It’s helpful to remember that your seating location will highly dictate how much interaction with strangers you are likely to encounter. If you are in the mood to just enjoy a good meal and be left alone, choose to sit at a table, not the bar. Having a book or looking through your camera / phone will erect an extra screen of “leave-me-aloneness”.

However if you WANT to meet some locals or other travelers (which is always my suggestion in order to get the real recommendations for authentic experiences) your best bet is sitting at the bar without any kind of technology or distraction. Look open and you might just meet some amazing (if perhaps temporary) friends and find some hidden local gems.

– Trust your gut.

I have only lied about being solo once while on a trip. Something about this guy gave me the creeps and I instinctively lied about waiting for friends. Trust the vibes you get from people. 99 times out of 100 the people you meet and talk to will be fine and not serial killers. (That isn’t a real statistic.) But have a solid lie (or the ability to improv) in your back pocket. Better to be a liar than a news story, right? The old “better safe than sorry” mantra holds up, people.


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– Invest in Spray-Sunscreen.

Or make random friends that you feel comfortable having touch your body. Otherwise you will end up with super strange tan lines on your back. (or burn-lines, in my pasty case.)

Sidenote: Spray sunscreen will NOT make you friends on a boat. Just ask for help in that case, huh?

– – – – – – – – – –

Solo exploration is not everyone’s cup of tea, that is for certain. But I also believe that traveling on your own is one of the most important experiences to really get to know yourself. Plus, it’s fun and awesome and people will be impressed and think you are a bad-ass. Seriously, they will.

<Cue “Independent Woman” by Destiny’s Child.>

I will always be honest about the ups and downs, but I’ll also always be pro-solo-adventure.

So get out into that wide world, traveling companion or no!

Via: roundtheworldin80blogs.tumblr.com
Via: roundtheworldin80blogs.tumblr.com

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And if you need more inspiration, read some of these 36 Facts on Why You Should Travel.

Or check out my latest “I Want to go to There”  lists for location ideas.

Seriously, why haven’t you already bought a plane ticket or hit the road?!

One thought on “Honestly, on Traveling Solo

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