Planning a trip, no matter if it’s a two hour drive away or 16-hour flight across the world, can be stressful. And even more so when you’re going with a group of people, large or small, friends or family. You need to consider every place you will visit and whether or not it can accommodate your party. You need to take into account everyone’s budget and settle on dates that are feasible for all. You also need to consider everyone in your party’s needs–while some may prefer to spend the day lounging by the pool, others may want to get out and sample the local culture.
An easy way to make sure every person you’re traveling with is happy? Travel alone.
Solo travel is on the rise, especially for women. Statistics suggest that about 72 percent of American women will travel alone this year. Why is it so popular? It’s a feeling of luxury and independence for those who wanderlust. They sincerely cherish launching themselves out into the world, with no social strings attached. Truly following the beat of their own drum.
While setting out on a journey by yourself might seem a bit intimidating and isolating, it isn’t, even for the female traveler. I mean, it’s 2015, women are CEOs, running for president, and gaining ground in the military, so the fear and loneliness surrounding solo travel for women needs to be reconsidered.
Let’s debunk some of these myths that might otherwise discourage women from taking a leap and booking the trip of their dreams.
“Won’t you be so lonely all by yourself?”
When you’re traveling with a group or partner, your most likely getting away to spend some quality time together. Your attention will be focused on them. And while you may bond with a couple lounging by the pool one day or make nice with a family on the plane, chances are you won’t notice a lot of the people you could meet if you were traveling solo.
Additionally, spontaneity is a vital element to solo travel. You have the freedom and flexilbity to do whatever, whenever, where ever, often opening you to the opportunity to meet similar, spontaneous souls. You also have the freedom to interact with these people for as long as you want without fear of making it back to the hotel in time for dinner with your traveling companions. “Traveling solo empowers you and gives you a feeling of accomplishment that you just don’t get traveling with others,” said Lisa Eldridge of Girl about the Globe blog. “You’ll return home a more defined person with a sense of who you really are.”
“Aren’t you afraid of something happening? Traveling alone sounds so unsafe!”
So long as you’re using common sense, traveling alone isn’t any less safer than traveling with a group. In fact, it doesn’t require you practice any safety protocol you wouldn’t normally at home: make sure you have your wallet, keys, IDs on you in a safe, accessible place; don’t put valuables on display; steer clear of high-crime areas; be aware of your surroundings. Janice Waugh, author of The Solo Traveler’s Handbook and the Solo Traveler Blog recommends following the four fundamentals: “stay in a public place with people you’ve just met, be proactive and choose who to approach should you want assistance, don’t be rushed into a decision and be rude if necessary.” Make sure someone, such as a family member or significant other, has a copy of your itinerary, so someone knows where you are at all times
“Traveling alone sounds so boring! How do you do it?!”
In my opinion, it’s pretty hard to be bored when you’re uprooting yourself and going on a journey, even if you’re not sharing the experience with someone else. In fact, solo travelers are more likely to step out of their comfort zone and try something new when they don’t aren’t shackled to another’s needs, wants or demands. From base-jumping in New Zealand to taking a cooking class in Tuscany, “[trying activities you’d never consider] can make you feel alive and vibrant and let’s face it, they make your stories a lot more interesting…Solo travel is the perfect antidote to boredom,” said Janice Holly Booth, author of Only Pack What You Can Carry.