When you think of traveling, how often do your plans include a trip alone? Think you can’t do it? For inspiration, just watch the film Wild based on the true story of Cheryl Strayed. Her solo journey across the Pacific Crest Trail is proof that anything is possible.
There are numerous workshops, classes, tours and retreats that cater specifically to solo travelers. From cooking classes, hiking to yoga retreats – almost every destination offers activities you can participate in alone or that will connect you with other travelers.
Indeed, concerns about safety, money, or time may have crossed your mind. The good news is solo travel is becoming more of a trend. A report by TripAdvisor last year, found that 12 percent of the travel community consisted of solo travelers, with the average age ranging from 25-49 years of age.
The next question would be where do you travel? And do you feel more comfortable traveling alone domestically or internationally? That answer will ultimately be at the solo traveler’s discretion. According to Rough Guides, some of the best places to travel alone nationally include: Boulder, Colorado, Key West, Florida, San Francisco, California, Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas and Sedona, Arizona.
One of my first solo trips was a 4-day getaway to the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Renowned as a destination for couples, it was, in many ways, not the most popular choice for solo travelers. All my friends kept telling me, “but isn’t Hawaii just for couples?”
Not so! Among the various solo activities I did in Hawaii included; a surfing lesson, hiking on Diamond Head and a visit to a Luau at the popular Paradise Cove. Looking around at the tables of only couples at the Luau, for a second I questioned if I made a wrong decision. However, I was pleasantly surprised to meet other solo travelers like myself at the end of my table.
What this experience taught me was to never limit a destination based on the fear of being alone. The more I traveled by myself, the more confidence and self-esteem I gained. Afterwards, I completed solo trips internationally to Australia, Italy and Brazil.
Solo trips allow the traveler to discover more about themselves. When else are you completely away from work, family, children, partners or friends? While spending some much needed me-time, I realized that I was an ambivert. As much as I enjoyed meeting new people, I needed time to be alone. I was able to have meals all by myself without feeling weird. Sometimes, people would join me and other times I would happily eat alone.
For safety concerns, always research your destination and check the latest news. The U.S. Department of State website offers up-to-date travel warnings and travel alerts for every country. Wherever you go decide to go, consider the possibility of going alone.