The Transformative Power of Traveling Solo

August 26, 2019

“To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world,” wrote British explorer and travel writer Freya Stark. Yet, many of us, accustomed to constant companionship, are intimidated to travel alone.

As a solo traveler, you can choose precisely what you want out of your experience and reawaken your independent spirit along the way. Say you find a great deal, but your spouse or friends can’t take time off. There’s no reason to stay home. Start packing!

Where to go?

A variety of travel advisors suggest the following destinations:

  • Paris: To link up with other travelers, head toward Café de Flore or Les Deux Magots, two well-regarded meeting places.
  • Seville: The Andalusian capital offers colorful markets and picturesque architecture.
  • Dublin: The Irish capital is a stroller’s delight, and its pubs allow you to strike up conversations with locals.
  • Iceland: Use Reykjavik as a base from which to explore Iceland’s stark, dramatic beauty.
  • Vancouver: Visitors explore the city’s waterside parks and revel in its bohemian atmosphere.
  • Queenstown: This resort on New Zealand’s South Island draws serious adventure types for bungee jumping, horseback riding and zorbing (hurling oneself downhill inside a giant inflatable ball).

Safety first

Safety is a concern for any traveler, but particularly those going solo. Follow these tips when you’re on your own.

  • Carry identification, and store it in more than one place.
  • Stay in open, public places, especially at night.
  • Walk confidently and purposefully.
  • Avoid drawing attention to yourself by your clothing or demeanor.
  • Be circumspect when speaking with strangers.
  • If a situation doesn’t feel right, extricate yourself from it.
  • Avoid posting every move on social media.
  • Make sure you leave a copy of your itinerary with someone at home; stay in contact via phone or email.

Remember the single surcharge

Tour operators, cruise lines and hotels may tack an extra charge onto your bill to offset the money they’re not making from a second occupant. This supplement may range from 25% to 100% of the tour cost. TO avoid the single supplement, you may want to go with a tour operator that offers roommate matching based on similar tastes and personalities. Among others that specialize in solo travel – use your favorite search engine – check out G Adventures, Intrepid Travel, Road Scholar and the Holland America Line. These firms are known to match single travelers.

Feeling inspired? Take action. A solo adventure may be just the ticket to becoming a little bolder in your everyday life.

Next steps

Ready to take off on your own?

  • Determine where you’re interested in traveling and what you want to get out of going along.
  • Seek out last-minute deals if you have the flexibility and consider travel options that cater to solo travelers.
  • Study up on tips for traveling alone and make sure you set a communication plan with someone back at home.

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