Are you hoping to go on a trip of a lifetime but don't have anyone available to come along? It shouldn't really matter because even if you've never traveled solo before, you might be surprised just how easy it can be. What's more, by traveling alone, you get to choose what you want to see and do and at your own pace. If you're ready to start planning for your very first solo excursion, here are a few tips to get you headed in the right direction.
Why Is Traveling Alone Better Than With Someone Else?
- First and foremost is you have the freedom to travel about as you please and at your own pace. If you want to visit certain attractions, you get to decide when to go and when to leave. Regardless of the attraction, if you're waiting in line, you may have the opportunity to move up in front of others, such as when there is only one available seat on a tram or an amusement ride. The freedom to go as you please also means you decide on when and where you want to eat and when to sleep.
- Traveling solo not only allows you to decide when you want to sleep, it also allows you to enjoy a room all to yourself. This is particularly important if you have a hard time falling asleep when someone else is in the room or if that someone is a restless sleeper or worse yet, a snorer. Having your own room also means you won't have to share the bathroom or the shower and you can take as long as you like. Other benefits include setting the room temperature to your preference, deciding when you need quiet time and of course, waking up when you want to, whether it's at the crack of dawn or sleeping in.
- Unless you're savvy with map reading, you may find yourself asking for directions during your trip. This gives you an opportunity to talk to a local or if you're in a foreign country, a chance to converse in their language. More often than not, you'll meet friendly people that are more than pleased to help you. However, one important negative aspect of asking for directions that should be mentioned is the possibility of meeting someone who is trying to scam you. With that in mind, you'll undoubtedly meet other people along the way, whether it's at a museum, a public park or your destination's nightlife.
- If you're going on your very first trip alone, there's a very good possibility you'll gain more self-confidence along the way. You'll also become more self-reliant as you are responsible for all of the planning, transportation, touring and expenses. Even if you're still getting adjusted on your solo journey, you'll be more at ease by discovering there will be many other visitors that are also traveling alone at your destination.
- While there are plenty of benefits of traveling with someone, when you're on your own, you won't experience the often-times unpleasant situation of a disagreement. By going at it alone, you won't have to worry about pleasing someone else, waiting for them for one reason or another or visiting a place you're not that interested in. Another great example is avoiding a disagreement with someone when you decide you're ready to head back to your lodging. If you were traveling with a group of people, including children who aren't ready to leave, you may end up staying longer at a place longer that you'd prefer.
Ways To Travel By Yourself
- The easiest way to travel solo is with your own personal vehicle or car rental. If you have a smartphone and are heading to a place you aren't familiar with, consider using a navigation app such as Waze or Google Maps. While traveling alone may make you lonely, you can keep yourself entertained with your radio, a book on tape and music CDs or streaming music from a smart device that's plugged into the "cigarette lighter."
- A trip on a train may take longer in some cases, but if frees you from the responsibility of driving on your own. Amtrak offers several scenic trips to many parts of the country including the Coast Starlight with service between Los Angeles and Seattle, the City of New Orleans from Chicago to New Orleans and the Adirondack, from New York to Montreal. If you're headed on an international trip, you can take advantage of efficient train service in several countries, particularly in Europe and Asia. Train service in Europe is very reliable, with arrivals and departures almost always on time and high-speed service allows visitors to visit more than one country in a single day. Many Asian countries such as Japan and Thailand also feature efficient train service with the BTS Skytrain in Bangkok an especially good bargain for American travelers.
- A great way to get around a major city without a rental car or taxi is with public transportation. Buses are not necessarily a great recommendation unless it's the only way to get to a destination. However, major cities like New York, Chicago, Paris, London and Japan all have excellent subway systems. Reading and understanding a subway map may pose to be a challenge but there is no better way to move about within a large city and not be bogged down by heavy traffic.
Three Suggested Cities
To Visit Solo
If the oldest city in South Carolina isn't on your bucket list, it definitely should be. That's because this beautiful and historic destination is among the nation's best cities for travelers. In fact, several leading publications such as Fodor's and Travel+Leisure place Charleston very high among the top 10 best cities and Condé Nast Traveler has named it the best city in America for four consecutive years in a row based upon a readers poll. And with a history stretching nearly 350 years, Charleston is world acclaimed for its stunning architecture and fascinating attractions such as the City Market and Fort Sumter. Solo travelers will also be interested to know that Charleston is also one of the top-rated foodie destinations in America.
Another city that should be on a wish list for all travelers is Honolulu, featuring one of the world's most famous beaches – Waikiki Beach. This is especially important if you enjoy water activities, such as snorkeling, boating and of course, surfing. With year round water temperatures ranging between the high 70s to low 80s, it's just like taking a dip in a swimming pool but with spectacular views of the iconic Diamond Head crater and the Honolulu skyline. Honolulu-Waikiki is especially inviting for solo travelers, with a casual atmosphere and a great selection of beachside hotels, restaurants, nightlife and other attractions.
The glittering city in the Nevada desert is easily one of the most popular destinations for the solo traveler and one of the most affordable. Hosting the world's largest collection of hotel rooms, travelers have boundless choices to stay with rates as low as $30 a night for room right on the Las Vegas Strip. Adding to the allure are the thousands of places to dine from cheap eats to world class dining at places like Jöel Robuchon, Guy Savoy and Bar Masa. At night solo travelers have all sorts of options for entertainment, including world-class Vegas shows and world-class nightclubs.
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