“You’re traveling alone?” people often ask when they realize I’m a party of one.
“Aren’t you lonely?” is usually the next question.
“No. Not at all. I love it!” is my typical reply.
Why do I travel solo? Well, following are some of the reasons I do it.
I Don’t Want to Miss Out
As I write this, I’m single. I’ve been single for quite some time and haven’t found a guy willing to globe-trot. I have friends and family I can and have traveled with, however, oftentimes plans fall through. What happens when plans fall through? Trips don’t happen and I end up home alone when I could have been on my own adventure. Planning a solo trip, whether a week-long vacation or weekend getaway, means if I want to travel, it falls on me to make it happen. Life’s too short to be sitting home when a whole world is waiting to be enjoyed.
I Feel Empowered
Overcoming a fear is an adrenaline rush for me. Honestly, when I first started traveling for business, I hated traveling solo. Why? Because I was afraid. I was afraid of what people were thinking about me being alone, afraid of getting lost, afraid of being lonely.
I ate my dinners by ordering over-priced room service and eating in my hotel room. I was steps away from historical landmarks yet didn’t venture out of my hotel other than to attend business meetings. During a business trip to London, I realized if I didn’t get out of the hotel, I would see nothing worth writing a postcard home about. I ended up waking up at 5:30 a.m., figured out how to navigate the Tube (London’s version of the subway) and checked out Buckingham Palace before my 10 a.m. meeting.
I felt good about myself for figuring out how to do it. Soon, I was pushing the boundaries of my personal comfort zone a little bit further with each step. This resulted in building confidence in all aspects of my life. Sure, there are still many things I’m fearful of but I know with time I can overcome them.
I Get to Do Things I Want to Do
Many solo travelers will give you some philosophical bull about the joy of solo travel. Let’s get real. I enjoy the company of others when traveling but there’s a lot of compromise. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy sharing experiences with others because it’s a special moment you’ll always have.
Sometimes though, you just want to be selfish and do things you want to do. When traveling alone, I set the itinerary and decide what time I’m waking up, what I’ll do and see, and where and what I’ll eat.
Traveling Solo Has its Privileges
Traveling as a party of one can mean paying more for something. For instance, hotel rooms are typically the same price for one or two people. I love saving with coupons but do you ever noticed some coupons for attractions are BOGOs? What good is that for a solo traveler?
What you don’t save on the budget you gain in experiences. At theme parks you can cut your wait time in line on rides with single rider lanes. I attended a cooking demonstration with celebrity chef Guy Fieri and the organizers needed to juggle the seating chart. I was moved from the back of the room to VIP seat where Guy was close enough to drip his sweat on me! When it comes to dining, a party of one without reservations can usually be seated and served quicker than other parties.
Meet New People
One of the coolest things about traveling alone are the people you meet and I’m pretty sure I would not have met them if I had been traveling with someone else. Why? Because I probably would have been engaged in conversation with my traveling companion rather than paying attention to my surroundings and other people.
If you travel solo, what do you enjoy about it? If you haven’t traveled solo, what’s holding you back?