SOLO TRAVEL — YES!
June 11, 2016
To awaken alone in a strange town,” wrote British explorer and travel writer Freya Stark “is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” If you haven’t traveled solo yet, do yourself a favor-try it! It is one of the best ways to learn about yourself and challenge your interests. Traveling solo doesn’t necessarily mean alone – especially if you are with a group. At first, you may think that traveling by yourself is the best, but when you are with others on the same tour, you may realize you can adventure even better than when you are on your own.
According to The New York Times reporting a year ago, “Some 24 percent of people traveled alone on their most recent overseas leisure vacation, up from 15 percent in 2013 … Among first-time travelers, solo travel is even more popular, jumping to 37 percent, up from 16 percent in 2013. And while the stereotypical solo traveler has traditionally been single and looking, a solo traveler these days is just as likely, if not more likely, to be married or in a committed relationship.” Guided tours were up almost threefold among solo travelers in 2014 compared to the prior year. Many companies have experienced a 15% or greater increase in the number of solo travelers. Jennifer Halboth, director of channel marketing for the Globus Family of brands, notes that “Solo travelers gravitate more toward exotics and off-the-beaten-path Europe, because people want to be in a group environment when going to those types of places.” And, interestingly enough, most women solo travel- about 72% are expected to take a solo trip this year!
Why solo travel? Traveling by yourself can be the ultimate in self-indulgence and discovery. There is no need to worry about what your partner may or may not want to participate in – it’s all up to you. Who cares if you want to hike and dance on the beach? There is no need to compromise; just embrace a trip without stress or disappointment. Follow your own rhythm, heart and mind, and the “real you” may start bubbling to the surface. You can start appreciating things you may have never noticed before. You can open your heart to new adventure. You can become a listener, not a speaker. When you travel alone, you can achieve an equilibrium and calm that’s difficult to come by when you feel the need to please someone else. You’re never really alone- once you get there, you will realize how many people are just like you. You don’t have to feel confined to talk to just your friends, you can branch out and (you never know) you may meet someone who you can talk to just like a friend. Plus, with no one that knows you around, you can indulge in all the crazy, new and delicious opportunities with no one to judge you!
One of the best experiences is travelling alone in a group. It’s like wiping your personality clean for an entire week – you can be as adventurous and indulgent as you want – many on the tour will share your curiosity! Joining a tour often puts you with travelers from diverse origins, who are ready to get up close and personal with the destination. Just like you, they are seeking new experiences and lifelong friendships with not only people, but places, too. There’s a particular hotel in Sorrento that I return to again and again because it’s become like a second home to me — and many many others feel the same. Whether you are embarking on a hike through a dense forest or finishing the day with a superb glass of wine, you will love it even more in the company of like-minded people. The best thing is that really, the trip is always yours. Don’t want to participate in an activity that day? Want to take an extra walk out to the beach? Consider it done. Adagio trips are just like that- yours. We’ll give you structure and direction, but it is up to you to decide what you want to do.
Of course, safety is always a concern. Travelling alone does put you more at risk for thieves and other criminals; less so obviously if you’re in a group setting. Luckily, there are some tips that if you follow, you will feel perfectly safe. The saying “safety in numbers” isn’t always true- just make sure to use common sense. Never stay out late at night and walk home without someone accompanying you. Keep some ID with you at all times, usually in more than one place. Don’t wear flashy jewelry or clothing (large jewels, huge purses). Be conservative. Lastly, be your own counsel- if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
Traveling solo is something we should do as often as we can- it lets us learn about ourselves, meet new people, and enjoy the culture of the land to which we are travelling. The numbers don’t lie: More than 80 percent of people 45 and older who have taken a solo trip plan to take another within the next 12 months, according to AARP. And among affluent travelers, solo travel has more than doubled, research from Visa shows.
For a more in-depth look at solo travel, check out this wonderful article from The Gutsy Traveler.