The Best Things About Solo Travel
And in appreciation of the right travel partners
Since June of this year, I have taken solo trips to four countries. Even before this current stretch of adventures, I have been a dedicated solo-traveler. In the past 20 years I have traveled to Jamaica, Colombia, Mexico, Canada, the UAE, Thailand, Qatar, Malaysia, Japan, India, Iceland, Germany, France, England and Austria by myself. I’ve never been scared to travel alone, in fact I enjoy it.
I like being able to wake up and plan a day exactly as I want it, without having to take anyone else’s desires into consideration. Yes, I know that sounds incredibly selfish, but think about it, on your average vacation you have 4-7 days to roam and discover one or more new cities or countries. Do you really want to waste your time doing things you don’t want to do to appease your travel mates? I sure don’t.
Ideally, if you’re traveling with a group, you’ll travel with people who don’t mind splitting up and letting each other do their own thing, but we’ve all been on trips where the opposite was true, right? Those trips were horrible, right? You’re stuck eating at some place you don’t want to eat, or getting dragged to some tourist trap you had no intentions of seeing.
The other part that can really suck about traveling with other people is the planning. Ugh! How many times have your travel plans been derailed by someone else. They don’t want to go where you want to go, or they can’t go when you want - or you make a plan and then they bail on you because of a scheduling conflict, or money or some other reason that has nothing to do with you.
Even though I swear by solo travel, I recently had the most epic travel planning experience with a friend of mine. We were catching up over text and I asked her when she was going to meet me somewhere on my travels. She immediately responded that she could take some time in two weeks, and asked where I wanted to go. I suggested that we meet in Antigua, Guatemala and then she went silent for about 15 minutes. The next message from her was “BOOKED.” Just like that, we went from no plans, to a time and place certain. Then about an hour later I get another text telling me which hotel she chose.
This was our first trip together and I didn’t know what to expect in the planning phase, but it was awesome because she is the exact type of traveler I want to roll with. She didn’t ask where I wanted to stay because it didn’t matter to her. She knew where she wanted to stay, and was fine with me staying there or somewhere else. She was going to vacation her way, and allow me to do the same. It was the beginning of an amazing trip together. We ended up staying at the same place (because she picked a beautiful hotel) but we did things together and apart. Saw each other when we wanted to, and had alone time when we wanted to. I’ve had some great travel partners in the past, but my girl really stepped it up. We typically had lunch and dinner together, breakfast on our own. She had to work some days, so I would wander and see more of the city, scouting places for us to check out later.
Our time in Antigua was magical, relaxing, and fulfilling. It was a reminder that while I love solo travel, I also love traveling with the right people. Finding your people is the key element of a relaxing, rejuvanating trip. And if you can’t find those people, go by yourself.