I have to admit, the very first time I travelled alone (Peru), I was nervous. Arriving at my hotel in Lima, and having the desk clerk tell me there was no room in my name, added to the fear. BUT, I stayed calm, presented my documentation to the clerk, and was sent down the street to a different hotel, where my room was waiting. It turned out to be a lovely hotel with a cool courtyard and fabulous service.
So yes, you can travel alone, and you’d probably love it. My trip to Peru was so amazing, and every solo trip after that. So here are four BIG reasons why you might want to give solo travel a try:
You Can Do Absolutely Anything You Want, Provided You Can Afford It
This is where your sense of adventure comes in. Imagine anyplace in the world that excites you. When I was a kid, standing in the shadows of the Great Pyramids was a dream I never thought could come true. If it’s truly a dream to travel, you can find the money. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot:
- Find tour companies that don’t charge a single supplement. G Adventures and Intrepid Travel are two very good small-group tour companies that do not charge a single supplement. If you prefer to stay in your own room, they’ll charge you extra, but otherwise, they will match you with another same-sex solo traveller, and room you together. I’ve never had a room-mate I didn’t like, and have remained friends with almost all of them. And I promise you, you will not be the only solo traveller in the group. For you romantic singles, I know of one married couple who met on their hike to Base Camp, Mount Everest. Both were solo travellers.
- Solo travel can fit into almost any budget. Sure, you can spend a lot, but bargain trips are plenty. You can go anywhere you want, because I promise you, someone, somewhere, has packaged up the right deal for you, and there’s lots of competition for your tourist dollar.
Dates, Budgets, Itineraries, It’s All Completely Up To You – Be As Selfish As You Like
Don’t like museums? Then don’t include them in your trip. Feel like splurging on a spa day when you arrive? Do it. Not having to compromise with anyone opens up a whole new indulgence to travel.
One potential drawback is that YOU have to plan everything yourself. You can’t leave it to a travelling partner, and who uses travel agents anymore? Learning to be well-organized is the key here. Here’s one way to get organized:
- Open a file folder on your desk top, and name it “my solo trip” (or something like that). File all your receipts, itineraries, and confirmation codes in there, as you go along your planning journey.
- Scan copies of all your important travel documents (passport, visa, insurance) and keep it in your file folder as well.
- Upload a copy of your trip folder to your Dropbox account. Now your most important documents are safe no matter what happens to the paper copies or to your computer. You can access it from anywhere in the world, and from any computer.
- As much as I love technology, there’s nothing more comforting than keeping my little black book handy. Buy a small blank notebook, and write important details in there. This will be your one-stop info resource, and will save you rooting through your documents at the airport or in a dark taxi. And you won’t need a live battery or internet connection. I always include flight information (reservation code, time, gate), and hotel address. Keep this little book in your carryon or backpack top pocket – anywhere you can grab it quickly. It’s also a great place to keep all those email addresses of the new friends you’re going to meet.
You can Enjoy Your Alone Time Without Feeling Lonely
Travelling alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. Think about it, the people you meet on the plane are going to the same place as you. People you meet in a tour group have the same interests you do. You’ve already got one huge thing in common, so meeting people is a breeze. But, if you’re anything like me, being by yourself at times is a treat. The beautiful thing about solo travel, is that you get to decide what mood you’re in.
If you’ll be travelling with a tour group, try to remember everyone’s name. I’ve mentioned this before, and it’s worth saying again; Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer is a fantastic book to read on the plane, and will help you to remember everyone’s name easily. I tried it when I went to Costa Rica – the first morning in the hotel lobby, I was able to greet everyone by their name having only met them once the day before. Click on the image below to order a copy – it’s fascinating reading, and you can apply it to every situation in life, not just travel.
I do most of my travel daydreaming on the internet. With so many blogs, facebook memes, and online magazines, it’s so easy to get caught up in an internet rabbit hole. No matter what kind of crazy travel fantasy you have, there’s a post for that
I would say that about 75% of my travels are done solo. I have some friends who I love to travel with, but I can’t let their availability stop me from exploring this beautiful earth. What I typically do is decide where, what, how and when I want to travel, and if a good friend wants to come along, then that’s great. If not, that’s great too!
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