People are often surprised when they hear that I love to travel alone. Some claim that they would be afraid to do this, while others hint that they simply don’t think they would enjoy the trip without having people accompany them.
Well, there are several advantages to going solo:
1. Planning is much easier. Just think about where you would like to visit and start researching your options. You can open an email with flight deals and book whatever grabs your attention at the time without having to inquire or compromise.
2. Traveling is more flexible. If you miss a plane or decide to take a detour, you can coordinate things based on a single schedule – yours. You don’t have to worry about the anxiety or commitments of others in your group. In fact, you could even choose to give up your seat on an overbooked flight and receive hundreds of dollars from the airline for doing so.
3. Opportunities abound. It is much easier to buy one ticket to one popular event than two. Several times I impulsively arrived at a box office and discovered that the tickets for the concert were sold out, except for one big ticket: MINA! Would you believe Natalie Cole’s twenty-third row center in Seattle?
4. Relationships develop. I am frequently invited to join interesting people at their table for lunch when they realize I am alone. I made amazing friends and enjoyed great conversations on trips that wouldn’t have happened if I had been with other people.
5. Culture can be experienced first-hand. There is always time to visit with hotel or restaurant staff, discover local adventures, or learn about the language and customs of a merchant because no one is expecting or wanting to do anything else.
6. Plans can be modified. You can sleep in late, order lunch in the afternoon, or take an impulsive detour without disturbing anyone’s itinerary.
7. You set the pace. I have learned to walk slowly and rest often, a situation unlike many other people. Last month in Ronks, Pennsylvania, for example, I decided to take advantage of an Amish-made outdoor rocking chair so I could just rock and people-watch for two hours. I loved it, but I know not everyone would have felt the same way!
8. You spend less money. At least I do it because I know that I am the one who will have to transport my luggage from one place to another. And I don’t want to pay an additional transportation fee if it weighs more than fifty pounds.
9. I also eat better when I’m alone because I’m not in restaurants three times a day trying to finish everything on my plate. In fact, I only eat one restaurant meal a day, ordering a take out container and then supplementing my leftovers with fruits, vegetables, or snacks I’ve bought throughout the day.
10. Finally, and ironically, I enjoy the fact that there is no one to correct my stories.
You don’t have to be afraid to travel on your own if you are wise. Just use your common sense, ask hotel staff for advice on safe areas, and keep your eyes open. With just a little practice, you will find that traveling on your own can be a wonderful experience!