3 things no-one told you about Solo Travel
It was Alan Ashley-Pitt who famously said, ‘the one who follows the crowd will get no further. The one who walks alone, will find themselves in places no one has ever been.’
It’s a quote which sums up beautifully why solo travel is such an incredible adventure. There is no question that it can feel daunting. But, once you take that first step, you’ve already done the hardest part and the best bits are all ahead of you. Women are leading the way, with figures from Google Trends showing the number of people searching for information about solo female travel is up 131% since 2017. It is one of a number of growing trends in travel.
The way we are booking our trips is also changing, with 48% of US smartphone users now saying they are happy to plan and book their holidays on their devices. But what should you expect once you’ve booked your solo trip? And what won’t you have thought about?
1. Dinner for one
It doesn’t always strike home until the waiter slides away the cutlery on the opposite side of the table and removes the other wine glass. You are on your own, in a restaurant, surrounded by people in couples and groups.
It isn’t easy. The first time you do it, you are bound to feel self-conscious and awkward. It’s no wonder, then, that it ranks at number three in the things solo travellers don’t like. But here are a few tips to help you overcome it.
Firstly, choose where you eat carefully. These days there are lots of places with communal tables where people come to eat without fear of feeling on their own. Food trucks and street food are another way around this problem, and coffee shops always have plenty of people on their own. Even in restaurants that are a little more formal, why not choose the bar, bring a book and your tablet and get some more travel research done?
2. No one to watch your bags or back
We’ve all been in this position – desperate for the bathroom somewhere in an airport. We ask our friend or partner to watch our suitcase before dashing away. It is worth realizing that this moment will come at some point.
But there are a few things you can do to avoid leaving your bag unattended in an airport. The first one is to use bags that you can carry wherever you go, preferably on your back. The other thing is to plan ahead; visit the toilet at the hostel or hotel before you head to the airport, or check your bags in first to avoid the situation altogether.
3. Find your true self
We’ve discussed two possible downsides to traveling alone, but what about the biggest upside? Well, traveling on your own allows you to be who you really are; to be more comfortable in your own skin than you have ever been before. No one has any preconceptions of you. No one knows who you are, or where you’re from. You can be yourself.
And that brings with it a fantastic sense of freedom. It may be the first time in your life that you don’t have to live up to a preconception someone has of you – this is your chance to be the person you have always wanted to be.
And it may be the moment you draw a line in the sand and decide what kind of person you want to be for the rest of your life. Travelling alone could be a truly revolutionary experience, then – and everyone should try it at least once for this very reason.
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