A solo trip can be the best one you’ve ever taken!
Have you ever gone on a trip with a boyfriend or husband and had the worst time? Or maybe it wasn’t particularly bad, but it wasn’t particularly good, either? What about a girls’ weekend? Was there one where you all ended up fighting? Or you felt like you didn’t get to do the things you wanted to do because they weren’t what the group wanted? Maybe you’ve thought about traveling on your own, but you’re too scared, don’t know where to start, or wonder what in the world you’ll do to fill all those minutes alone. Getting past the fear or discomfort starts first with realizing that EVERY female solo traveler has fear and discomfort. You are not alone in that. And as with anything, the more you do it the easier it gets. I’m going to show you all the incredible joys in traveling alone and how they far outweigh any fears you may have. When you see the vast benefits you’ll get from solo travel, and you realize that there’s going to be anxiety because that’s just the way it is, you’ll have the mindset shift and confidence it’ll take to plan that solo trip and get out there!
First, we gotta address the fear
Everyone has fear when they travel alone. You may even have fear traveling with others that just gets heightened when you think about doing it alone. While I’m not an extensive solo traveler, I’ve done my fair share, and I still have fear and anxiety on every trip. Every trip! Even the ones I’ve done before. What if the car breaks down? What if the place is nothing like the photos? What if I lose my phone or my passport? What if I get lost? What if I get sick? The list goes on and on. I’m currently on a 3.5 month solo “vacation” in California. I’m actually working while I’m here, but I’m balancing that with fun times out-and-about. I booked an Airbnb and drove out here from Arizona, with my two cats, and the car loaded down with stuff. You can imagine the anxiety that came up surrounding all that. All of those fears are natural, they just can’t consume you or you’ll never make a move. Having a plan is the best way to calm those fears, but even with a plan there are natural discomforts. Every time I leave the Airbnb for the day I go someplace new. I have to figure out where I want to go, the best way to get there, what I want to do while I’m there, and how much time I need. A lot can go wrong with all of that, so there’s mild anxiety every time I leave. It’s natural to have discomfort when going someplace new because you’re stepping outside your comfort zone. All the excitement in the world won’t remove the discomfort. But it doesn’t have to stop you. Traveling solo is not just for the fearless, because there’s no such thing. I leave every morning feeling a little anxious and return every evening feeling amazing because of the day I’ve had.
Go where (and when and how) the wind takes you
Fear being the hardest part, the easiest part about traveling alone is being on your own timeline. You go when you want to go. You come back when you want to come back. You visit an attraction for as long as you want, no more no less. You stay in bed an extra half hour without anyone getting annoyed with you. You get to plan your time away exactly as you want it without having to worry about anyone else. In that same respect you get to decide exactly what it is you want to do in the place you go. If you want to sit by the pool all day and read trashy magazines, that’s what you do. If you want to climb five mountains in five days, that’s what you do. You don’t have to worry about someone else wanting you to climb mountains when all you want to do is sit by the pool. Imagine a day in the life of your dream vacation and then know that you can have it exactly like that! Not to mention, if you decide to change your plans mid-day, you just do it. You’re completely in control of what, where, how, why and when. There won’t be anyone whining because you’ve changed your mind or making it impossible for you to do what you want. Yesterday, I planned to do a little hike on the coast, then visit a nearby town, then hit a winery on the way home. I was late getting out the door; no one cared. I couldn’t find the trail I wanted so I did a different one; no one was annoyed. Someone I met in town recommended a different winery, which took me on a whole different path home, but I made the decision to go there instead and I did it; no one made me stick with the original plan. I saw some amazing scenery that I wouldn’t have seen if I’d stuck with the original plan and the winery I visited ended up being great. The freedom of calling your own shots and having the exact vacation YOU want will far outweigh any fears that will come up.
Even when you travel alone, you’re not alone
One of the best things about traveling alone is the people you meet. When you travel with a group or even just one other person, you’re less likely to engage other people in conversation because you have each other to talk to. Now you’re going to tell me that you’re an introvert and you don’t talk to people easily. You don’t have to, they’ll talk to you. And when you’re traveling, people are usually interested in where you’re from and what you’re doing there, so they’ll ask the questions and all you have to do provide the answers. I spoke to no fewer than a dozen people on my outing yesterday that was supposed to be “alone.” Granted, a few of them were wait staff and shop keepers, but there were three actual conversations in there. On every solo trip I’ve taken, I’ve met great people. I’ve joked with couples over dinner at the bar, I’ve met single-girl travelers like me who share their stories, I’ve even had extensive conversations with wine pourers about wine and everything else. Plus, when you talk to the locals or other fellow travelers, they’ll give you suggestions of places to go and things to do. My entire outing yesterday happened because someone told me about the area. Unless you’re booking a cabin in the Alaskan wilderness, no matter how hard you try to be alone, you’re never truly alone.
Now that you see how traveling solo can have benefits that traveling with someone else doesn’t provide, all you have to do is let go of your fears surrounding traveling alone and you’ll be on your way. You can realize that there’s going to be discomfort no matter what because you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone, and you can lean into it. You can change your view of solo travel and have some of the best vacations you’ve ever had. You’re now equipped to move confidently forward with planning a solo trip, so tell me, where are you going to go?
Still don’t know where to start? Read “Planning Your First Solo Trip” for tips on making your single-girl vacay as worry-free as possible.
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