The ability to be on your own, somewhere that is not home, without daily life pressures is so liberating. You can go anywhere you want, when you want, without having to consider other people’s needs. It makes you feel free and alive and AMAZING.
Solo travel is now more popular than ever, google trends figures show that the number of people interested in solo female travel has increased by 131% over the past two years. It may surprise you to learn that it’s not just millennials who are going off to see the world on their own, apparently the average age of solo travellers is 47 and 84% are female! Pinterest stats show searches for “solo travel” up by nearly 600% this year, which is incredible. Hotelscan.com has reported a 170% increase in the last 12 months for those looking to book a room by themselves. People are going solo because they don’t want to compromise on where they go and what they do, it’s not just single people, people with husbands and children are leaving them at home and enjoying some ‘me-time’. In fact Travelzoo reports that 60% of people who travel alone are in a relationship or married.
People of all ages are going away on their own and realising its OK to do so, ignoring the stigma that is sometimes attached and shunning the fear of not being safe on your own. It’s so much easier to plan, book, and go yourself, with your own agenda and nobody else to consider or factor into your plans. In this digital age you now don’t even need to worry about map reading and getting lost, as you can google map everything and even save these searches to refer to when you are out and about. This gives people extra confidence to go it alone. All this alongside the fact that flights are relatively cheap these days and it’s also easy to book transport and trips before you arrive, all adds up to a pretty convincing argument to just go for it!
It’s very sad, but the feelings towards female solo travellers are generally pity and suspicion. This year I took my very first solo trip. I have always enjoyed my own company and often crave time away from the monotony of the ‘everyday’, the endless rounds of work and family commitments. Life is so busy and the feeling of wanting to escape is constant. Sometimes I don’t want to be a wife or a mother, I just want to be me, on my own somewhere that I haven’t been before.
When I told people I was planning to go abroad on my own (for 4 days) I had a lot of mixed responses, some clearly felt sorry for me thinking perhaps I had nobody to go with, when in fact going alone was kind of the point. Others made jokes that maybe I was going to try and meet someone (kind of patronising when you are happily married with 2 kids) and others didn’t seem to know how I would cope on my own (seriously) and asked me questions like what would I do if I met people who wanted me to go to dinner with them?! And who would I talk to? It was even suggested I was maybe having a midlife crisis – all because I wanted to go somewhere on my own for 4 days. Crazy really, but there you have it.
I had such a great time on that first trip and I highly recommend it to anyone of any age, to any destination, for any duration. Give yourself permission to do it, try not to feel guilty for taking time for yourself (obviously it helps if the people around you are supportive). It will make you appreciate your life back home more and you will be a fuller person, more satisfied with your place in the world.
You might just have the time of your life 🙂
When to go?
Seriously, any time is a good time, you can go for a day, a week or a few months depending on your circumstances. If you are not sure why not take a short trip to try it out.
Is it OK to go on my own as I’m not in my 20’s anymore and I have a family?
Why not? As long as the people around you support it then ask yourself why not, if you wait until you retire will you still be able to see everything you want to see? Or should you try to fit it into your life now? It’s your call but I don’t want to wait and presume I have time.
Travelling when you are that bit older sometimes means you can stay in nicer places, you are more wise (maybe!) and you actually want to see things, rather than just go for a tan and nights out on the town (although these things are obviously OK too!!)
I use Skyscanner a lot, most days I do the ‘Can’t decide where – click to search everywhere’ and look to see what destinations are available for a selection of random dates. I just like to see what’s on offer.
I use TripAdvisor all the time to seek out the best hotels and then use hotel comparison sites to compare prices, lately I have been using Booking.com a lot and booking places for next year that have free cancellation and no up front charges (that way I can stay flexible).
Remember you are on your own, so you need to make sure you can carry everything with ease. Also you need a safe place for your money and passport (I usually carry important stuff in a cross body bag). I have started using Packing cubes (bought from Amazon) and they have revolutionized the way I pack, no more rummaging through my entire bag to find a pair of socks. They are super cheap too, so you might want to give them a try!
Planning trips / transport in advance
I always try to book my transport and trips before I get there, in fact I usually book them once I have booked my flights. Especially if you want to do a specific trip on a particular day. But it’s easy to over plan and overthink it and leave yourself no time to just wander around and see what you can see, one of my favourite things to do in a new place. Balance is key here.
If you feel anxious / nervous
It’s totally normal to feel a bit apprehensive, but the rewards make it all worthwhile. You might feel super confident and happy during/after your solo trip and may even experience new outlooks on life in general. Trust your gut, if something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t!
Obvious I know, but don’t have too much to drink in a strange place on your own – that is just asking for trouble. Don’t go out by yourself late at night if you can help it. Common sense and a bit of forward planning should be sufficient to keep you safe.
Share your itinerary with someone you trust back home so that if for any reason things go wrong someone will be looking out for you.
The main disadvantage is that prices can be much more expensive for accommodation if you are on your own. I am travelling to Mykonos and Amlfi Coast next year solo and the cost of accommodation is exorbitant.
When you come home its hard
Coming back after a trip can be really hard. You might feel sad and/or disappointed to be home. Give yourself a few days and you will adjust back into routine. Then you can start planning your next solo adventure!
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