When it comes to travel, there’s one thing most people like to take with them: a friend or significant other. But that’s most people. Many travelers in recent years have taken to traveling solo and discovering new places on their own. And why not? There’s less hassle involved in picking where to go and you’re more likely to find low fares when you’re the one picking the time and destination. And when it comes to destination, there are certain spots that are best for the solo traveler.
The First Timer
When looking into solo travel, we asked one of the experts, blogger Janice Waugh of the blog Solo Traveler. When choosing where to go, she suggests taking a look at how seasoned of a traveler you really are. And that makes sense, right? Let’s say you’ve never really traveled before, or at best a few family vacations as a kid, but the travel bug has hit you and you really want to get out in the world. If this is your travel speed, the world may have to wait, but maybe not your own backyard. Waugh suggests traveling close to home for your first solo trip, whether it’s the next state over or another city on the other side of your state (given that you don’t live in a small state like Delaware!). Staying closer to home gives you a feeling of comfort and familiarity. You’re visiting a culture that’s similar to your own, in a language that’s your own as well. Then again, things do vary between states (soda vs pop anyone?), but there’s no need to take a language courses before leaving!
It’s also a great way to get accustomed to long travels, or even traveling to begin with. If you’ve never even flown before, taking a flight to Europe may not be the best start, but cheap airline flights between cities like Detroit and New York is only two hours, making it bearable for first timers. You can also find low fares on bus and train tickets if you’re traveling a shorter distance and don't necessarily want to do a road trip.
The Almost Seasoned Traveler
So, you’ve already done some solo traveling, or have done quite a bit traveling with a friend, significant other or family member. You’re probably ready for a solo trip abroad at this point, but something that isn’t too out of the ordinary for you (ie: now is not the best time to see Japan on your own!). Visiting a place like the United Kingdom, Canada or a European city like Amsterdam are great places to start. These places all speak predominantly English and are not too culturally different.
London is a great place for your first Solo Travel abroad (TJ Morris - Creative Commons)
For the Seasoned Traveler
For those travelers who have done plenty of traveling on their own and with someone else, the world is your oyster! This is the perfect opportunity to check out any place in the world you may have wanted to go. While budget is generally the issue for some, plenty of cheap flight tickets are available if you go on the non-peak travel days. Some spots that Waugh recommends are Chile and Jordan. While traveling through Jordan, Waugh met other solo travelers and discovered that it was a great place to journey on your own. At this point in your travels, you’ll probably be experienced enough to know the best way to meet new people, making your solo travels not as solo after all!
While not everyone may be as seasoned of a solo traveler to head to South America or Jordan, it’s still something to keep in mind while traveling. It’s not always easy to get everyone’s schedule to match up or to choose a place that everyone wants to travel to. But traveling solo can be much more affordable thanks to cheap flights and a lot more flexible on your schedule. And who knows, you may even make new friends with other solo travelers while on your own travels!
Waugh publishes Solo Traveler where
you can find lots of tips and advice as well as her free ebook: Glad You’re Not
Here: a solo traveler’s manifesto. She
is also author of The Solo Traveler’s Handbook and
has spoken at The Smithsonian Institute.