Top 5 Reasons Solo Travel (or Faux Solo) is AMAZING
In 2012, I was 23 years old and had only taken one round-trip flight to Atlanta, GA from Newark, NJ about 13 years prior. I knew that I wanted to travel and see the world but didn’t even know where to start. At the time, my friends and family weren’t in the position to go on vacation because life happens. It was then I decided I didn’t NEED anyone else! Solo travel (and Faux Solo) has changed my life in so many positive ways and hopefully, by the end of this post, I will convince you just how AMAZING it is!
#5 Forces you to meet new people
Now I’m sure you are wondering what the heck “Faux Solo Travel” is. Well folks you heard it here first, Faux Solo Travel references traveling by one’s self with a tour group of complete strangers. This concept isn’t new but I’m tickled with my made-up terminology. This is a really good option if you are skeptical about solo travel. I like going with this option because there is usually a tour manager (at least one person will notice if you go missing 😉 My first solo trip was with Contiki, an Australian based travel company exclusively for 18-35 year olds. This was the perfect option for me and I had an amazing time in Paris for New Year’s Eve! You can read all about my first solo travel experience here.
I’ve traveled with Contiki twice and once with Top Deck (18-39 year olds), both are geared towards the young adult demographic. However, there are SOOO many other travel companies that provide the same experience. Each company differs but essentially you don’t need to worry about booking accommodations, transportation between cities, some meals, and some optional excursions. Traveling with a tour company has pros and cons but it is what you make of it. If you have the money, there are Luxury Tours that include spa treatments and the works!
Whether you travel with a group or truly solo, it forces you to meet new people. This is number 5 for me because I’m not so much a people-person (super anti-social) but I have made lifelong friends having traveled solo.
#4 More time to eat!
I love food there is no denying it. My motivating reason to travel is eating different types of food. When you are a solo traveler, you get seated at restaurants LIGHTNING fast. Yes yes, I know this is really fat of me but I’m serious. It is much easier for restaurants to accommodate a single diner than a large group. Occasionally restaurants won’t want to seat you at a larger table because it would take away space for a larger group. However, seats at the bar (if there is one) are usually available immediately! This also gives you another chance to exercise reason #5.
Another thing I’ve noticed about being a solo diner is that sometimes the host/hostess will give you a “sympathy pass”. This is so hilarious to me. Here is a little dialogue from one encounter I had at a SUPER busy restaurant in Philly.
I walk into a restaurant and a gentleman enters shortly after me but stands off to the side on his phone.
Hostess: Hi, Can I take your name for the waitlist? Currently, the wait is about 90 minutes.
Me: Sure, Sylvia for one, please.
Hostess: First she looks confused because she thought we were together and then cue the puppy dog eyes as realization hit her. Ooooh ok. I’ll get you seated right away.
Fifteen minutes later, I was seated with a menu in hand. Every time this happens to me, I crack up inside and play along. “Oh poor me I’m dining alone” sad face. Haha. In this particular instance, she whispered something to the waiter. When I got my bill, my dessert was comped! I’ll take it. Of course, I can’t say this will happen to you but if it does PLAY the part of the sad lonely diner!
#3 It’s a great time to stop putting things off
Do you have a laundry list of “Want to Read” books in your Goodreads account? Just imagine, you are laying on the beach in Punta Cana with a drink in one hand and your new favorite book in the other. Or maybe you have been wanting to paint or sketch more? What better subject to sketch than the Taj Mahal! This is your vacation! You can do anything you want! Of course, you can do these things while traveling with your partner but as a solo traveler you can catch up on a lot of leisure items you’ve been putting off. This brings me to #2.
#2 Do what you want on YOUR schedule
Oh my my! I think this is my favorite reason (other than the heavy stuff). I am a very early bird (raised by my grandparents) so I like to get a start on the day pretty early even when I’m on vacation. This isn’t the case with most of my family and friends so we usually compromise on the time we get ready to go out and explore. There are other times when all I want to do is fall asleep in a cabana on the cruise deck but my friends want to go out.
This is the beauty of solo travel. Your schedule is KING! You can wake up and do whatever, whenever, however you want minus the illegal stuff (unless you’re into that sort of thing). For example, on my most recent solo travel trip, I went to the Museum of Alchemists in Prague. I know for a FACT the only other people that would have enjoyed such a nerdy thing would be my nerdy co-workers! If it is your first solo trip, I would suggest having some sort of plan in place. Having a plan will give you more confidence in moving around an unfamiliar city or country.
#1 Overcome your weaknesses
Ok now for the heavy stuff. I started this list to give you reasons why solo travel is amazing but in writing the post I realized it is also a life-changing experience. As cliche as it sounds, it helps you “find yourself” or at least you learn something new. We all have things we are good at doing. I’m good at organizing my trips and researching fun things to do in new cities. Sparking up conversations with strangers and being spontaneous are NOT things I do regularly. When you travel alone, it forces you to overcome those weaknesses in order to enjoy a new city or an old favorite. You temporarily become the jack of all trades and the person you sometimes wish you could be more often.
I love my family and friends dearly and they are always invited to go on my adventures. Though by the end of the trip, I’m usually itching for my next solo travel adventure!
Where are you headed for your FIRST solo trip? Or where are you planning to go for your NEXT solo adventure? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear about it!