Are you thinking of traveling solo but don’t know where to start? Will you really have a good time? Is it safe? I was there too, but it was either travel solo or never go anywhere. I couldn’t get any friends or family members to agree to anything other than a weekend trip to a local beach. So if I was going to see the world, I’d have to do it on my own.
Not gonna lie, I was nervous. I researched websites on the internet until my fingers went numb. I researched other peoples’ stories. I researched travel agencies. I researched trips. One could say I over researched. Then, one day, I finally built up enough nerve (with some gin) and booked my first trip. Surprise! I had a great time and now I travel solo most of the time. I’ve learned that travel without drama is much more relaxing.
So back to the over-researching. I’m guessing if you’re here, that you found a lot of sites on solo travel. Most were probably aimed at women travelling solo. I’m also guessing the author went on about the incredible adventures they had, telling you to throw caution to the wind and that it’s completely safe. Hey, empowerment is great, but let’s throw in a little dose of reality. First of all, both men and women travel solo and have the same questions and fears. As for safety, even traveling with a group, there is some basic research you need to do before the trip and a few safety steps every traveler should undertake. Going solo, male or female, does require more awareness and some extra planning. Don’t worry though, you can travel safe and you can have a lot of fun.
So what do I have to offer?
This blog is for any solo traveler. I happen to be a female, but I want the solo male travelers to feel welcome too. The tips, tricks, and fears are mostly the same. There may be a couple of items more specific to women, but those will be at a minimum.
I’ll share some basic safety tips with recommendations on my favorite items, FAQs (From my own questions to the crazy notions friends and family put in my head), help you determine where you feel comfortable and offer suggestions for how to get started and continue on your adventures at any price point.
Who the heck are you?
So, you’re probably thinking “that’s nice, but who are you?”I mean really, who the heck am I to tell you how to travel solo? Just to set the record straight, I’m not one of those people that just flew to Patagonia and started hiking or randomly flew to Paris for a weekend. I’m a planner, it’s in my blood. That being said, I’ve been traveling solo for about five years. I do a lot of small trips and have taken three big ones and counting. I continue to research and try to schedule at least one big trip a year.
I travel solo because I’ve found that it’s hard to get friends and family to agree to a trip, be able to get the same time off, and align on the cost of the trip. When you don’t have kids and pets, you tend to have a little extra cash around and some extra flexibility with your schedule.
This is where I’m going to differ from most travel solo bloggers. There is a certain amount of fear you have to overcome to travel solo. Much of it is imposed upon us since childhood and reinforced every time we try to move forward. Picture this (based on a very real conversation):
You (totally excited): “Hey family, I just booked my first solo trip. I’m going on a guided tour of Italy!”
Family member (with no hesitation): “You’re traveling by yourself? Isn’t that dangerous? What if something happens? Who will make arrangements to bring your body back?”
You (somewhere between deflated and dumbfounded): “What?”
I was raised on the “it’s not safe to be alone” bandwagon. I was told you can’t do things by yourself and I don’t think it was because I’m a female. I’m pretty sure my New York Italian family thought anyone traveling by themselves was going to get kidnapped, dismembered, and served to sharks. It took me until my late 30s to wake up and realize I was buying into crazy. Trust me — it takes a lot to break years of conditioning. Even once you forge ahead, you are continually bombarded with “you went alone? That’s not safe”. I’ve been surprised at the people who “worry about me” and even more surprised by the crazy scenarios people come up with that might could possibly happen. You just have to know yourself, trust in your research, and ignore the naysayers. Easier said than done — I get that. A certain amount of bravery is required, and sometimes alcohol.
So where have I been? I went on a two-week sailing trip to Grenada-the Grenadines-Tobago Keys. It was a trip where you learn to sail and become the crew. It was a lot of fun and a great first solo trip. I’ve also been to Antarctica and the Galapagos. I’m getting into backpacking and rock climbing and I spent a four day weekend at an outdoor learning event. I’m planning my next trip and think it might be Iceland or Svalbard, although the Lost Coast of California is also calling to me. There are so many places and it feels like there is so little time to see it all.
Why are you doing this?
So why write this blog? Because I get it. I had to fight my way to get where I am. Even now, friends and family still seemed surprised when I plan a vacation. My dad can’t quite understand why I don’t need to know the name of the person I’m sharing a room with before I leave. I still field what we’ll call “interesting”, questions from friends such as: “Did you actually get off the boat?” You’re already on edge about doing this and you’re not getting the support you need. As a matter of fact, you’re getting negativity making iteven harder to work up the courage you need to go against the grain. But the rewards are indescribable. There is a whole world out there to explore and it’s amazing. The sights, the culture, and the awesome people are all there for you to explore, learn, and just experience. Let’s get you out there.