If you are newly single, you may not have traveled by yourself for years. In fact, you may have never traveled on your own. Instead of waiting around for an adventurous friend or a new significant other, why not grab the bull by the horn and plan a trip on your own? You may discover that YOU are your favorite travel companion.
The most obvious benefit of traveling on your own is that you can call the shots. Not only do you get to pick the location, but you also can choose your stops within the destination.
Do you hate art museums? Don’t go! Even if you are visiting Paris, don’t feel as if you HAVE to see the Mona Lisa. It’s basically the size of a postage stamp, and there will be so many people standing in front of you that it will seem even smaller.
Do you hate everything to do with camping, hiking, and the great outdoors? Maybe your ex was super into National Parks and forced you to go on outdoorsy vacations. If your ex isn’t part of the picture anymore, burn your wool socks and donate your Camelback to the Boy Scouts. If Vegas is calling you, go there!
Vacationing on your own means you can set your own pace, take side trips when the mood strikes, sleep in if you feel like it, and eat what and when you desire.
You get the picture. How liberating it is to have an abundance of choices!
Now that we have encouraged you to book a trip, we have a few tips to make sure you have a fun and safe time.
Even if you are traveling alone, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to have human interaction. Part of getting to know an unfamiliar place is talking with people who live there. Stay at highly-reviewed B&Bs, boutique hotels, or hostels. For safety, consider leaving a note in your hotel room saying where you plan to go and when you plan to be back.
Culinary travel has become huge all over the world. If you have a sophisticated palette, consider booking food tours in the city. Food tour guides usually touch on the location’s history and architecture, but they also are great resources of other places you should go that may be off the beaten path.
Also, if you hate dining alone, going on a food tour will ensure that you are eating in some of the best restaurants without having to sit at a table by yourself. You could also consider sitting at a bar when eating by yourself but make sure not to enjoy too many drinks. Being drunk, by yourself, in an unfamiliar city, is never a good idea.
Having too much stuff is an encumbrance when traveling alone. If this is the first time traveling without your ex, you may feel as if you got rid of excess baggage. Don’t replace that figurative baggage with literal suitcases of your own. Travel light and easy!
There’s a difference between being safe and assuming that every person you cross is a murderer or rapist. Be aware of your surroundings, but don’t assume that a person who smiles at you is up to no good. Ask the people working at the hotel whether your plans that day will lead you into questionable neighborhoods. You may even consider sharing your cellphone location with a close friend or family member.
Try to find that perfect mixture of going on guided tours, but at the same time having time to wander by yourself. Are you really traveling on your own if every waking minute of your day and night is pre-planned?
Part of the wonder of traveling on your own is that you can look deep into yourself to discover what you like and what you dislike. Somehow that simple act of getting out of your daily routine and going to an unfamiliar place enables you to get to know yourself like you never have before. Don’t miss out on this part of your trip by overscheduling yourself on tours.
Some people say that the hardest part of traveling on your own is that you have no one with which you can share observations. If you find it unsettling to return to your hotel at the end of the day without anyone to talk with, consider writing your thoughts in a journal or recording a video travel diary.
Some day when you are old and gray, you can review your diary or your videos and think back to the time when you were brave and did something out of the ordinary. Those memories will make you smile.
This article was originally posted at Midlife Single Mommy!