This past October I went on an AMAZING 7 day Italian vacation to Venice, Florence and Rome. I traveled with a group of 4 close friends and once there we met up with our travel group of over 20 people. It was great to sightsee, shop and indulge in food and wine with a group of great people!
When I returned from my trip I was texting an associate about my trip, when she said something that really perplexed me: “When I’m blessed to be wealthy and I get a husband I want to travel too!”
**PAUSE** Say What??
I was confused as to why a working woman in her 30’s would be waiting on a man or sudden rush of wealth before stepping outside her city and enjoying a vacation! I told her to take advantage of the freedom and flexibility she has now as a single to travel and that there are tons of great travel deals available.
That really got me thinking about how many people aren’t traveling because they can’t find friends, family or significant others to go along with them. That’s not an excuse. Plenty of people I know (married and single) opt to travel solo at least once a year to getaway and enjoy some “me time”.
I say don’t wait on anyone; plan a solo trip on your own!
Here are some tips on how to plan and make the best of flying solo on vacation:
1. Do your Research
Once you’ve determined where you want to jet set off to, now it’s time to figure out your itinerary! There are plenty of online resources available to help you figure out where to dine, shop, entertain and sightsee. Trip Advisor and Yelp! are my go-to sites because of the rankings, traveler photos and user reviews included that give you an idea of what to really expect. Official city websites also provide event calendars, maps and comprehensive information on local tours. You can even walk into a nearby travel agency to chat with the “experts” about your upcoming plans, no obligation to book your trip with them!
A married friend of mine recently parlayed a work trip to Albuquerque, NM into her first solo weekend getaway to Santa Fe. Once she found out she was going to Albuquerque, she started searching for Santa Fe deals and was able to find a Hotel + Spa deal on Groupon Getaways. Since she was originally there for work she didn’t have to pay for the flight or rental car, she only had to cover her personal expenses that weekend! Based on online reviews she found nice places to dine and do some shopping. It was an awesome trip!
2. Be Friendly
Even though you are on the trip to enjoy being with yourself, making connections while there can make the trip more interesting. Don’t be afraid to casually chat with the hotel bartender or smile at other tourists you see while out and about. Maybe you can link up with another group of people to go to dinner or a local tour with so you don’t feel so alone, if that is an issue for you. I find that when people are on vacation they are much more open to meeting new people and making “fast friends”.
Before I moved to Chicago, I visited and spent a full weekend there ALONE! My friend I was supposed to meet up with ended up having to travel to Atlanta, so instead of staying in the hotel, pouting and ordering room service, I got out! I went to see “Wicked the Musical” and ended up on a row with 2 other people traveling to Chicago solo. We chatted during intermission and after the show and they gave me ideas of other places to check out.
3. Be Safe
I think it goes without being said that while you are traveling you should always be aware of your surroundings. Make sure you pick a travel destination that is known to be safe and recommended for tourist travel.
The U.S. Dept of State updates daily their international travel warnings and details on locations to avoid.
Even when you are at a safe resort, precautions should still be taken:
- When you check in at the hotel, ask for 2 keys and let them know someone else will be joining you later.
- Try not to be outside of your hotel late at night, if you do, have a cab called ahead of time so you aren’t spotted walking down the streets alone.
- Don’t leave the hotel with your passport, keep it locked in the hotel room safe. You don’t want to risk it being stolen or lost while you are out and about
Our interests in certain activities and travel won’t always align with our friends and family. Don’t be afraid to travel and venture out on your own and make the most of your time away.
So have you taken a solo trip? How was your experience?