Conventional wisdom tells us that traveling with a small group of friends or with your significant other is simply more fun than going alone. Yet, many solo travelers are discovering the fact that travel without the encumbrance of others offers freedom to simply be yourself.
Solo Travel is as much as about discovering yourself as well as the destination.
You’re free to pursue your special interests or to explore venues in which companions might share little interest, or even dislike. For example, if architecture is your special thing, travel companions may not wish to venture with you around a major city to enjoy 18th century structures offering little other attraction. Traveling solo allows you to set the schedule and spend additional time in those special places when companions might prefer to move along. You’ll also be able to sleep late and dine whenever you please.
Nearing the end of a three-week solo trip to Italy and France in 2015, it was time for me to master the Paris subway. Loosing myself in Paris neighborhoods new to me was a fantastic way to spend a day. In fact, I once found myself lost on the fourth level of an underground parking garage instead in the subway station I anticipated. Overall, it was a fun day for me but I doubt that many others would have shared my delight.
Travel suppliers increasing accommodate individual travelers without penalizing them with “single supplement” charges. Norwegian Cruise Line, for example, incorporated 100-square-foot cabins into its newest ships and added a lounge exclusively for solo guests. AmaWaterways, along with a few other river cruise lines, has added a limited number of single staterooms for specific sailings. And, solo travelers may find a lower price for single hotel rooms as well, while an increasing number of restaurants now provide “community” tables for people dining alone.
I have also found that solo travelers tend to reach out and engage people they meet along the way, while locals seem more welcoming and willing to assist individual foreign travelers. As a result, we better understand each other and I gain a richer appreciation of the local culture. Furthermore, solo travel presents ample time for introspection and learning as much about oneself as about the destination. The downside when traveling alone, however, is you may miss “shared experiences” with people back home.
Please don’t misunderstand me; I enjoy traveling with a group of friends or a special companion as much as anyone. But I have learned that setting out on my own can be fun and a rewarding experience.