written by
Joe Boone

Years ago when traveling with a buddy of mine, his wife called soon after we arrived at our destination to inform him that his Fortune 500 employer’s HR department was trying to reach him. Apparently not all the I’s were dotted or T’s crossed on his vacation request form and if he wasn’t back to work in 24 hours, they would have the contents of his desk in a box waiting for him in the lobby.? 
Suddenly, without warning, we were racing back in the rental car to the same airport we had just left a few hours earlier, with barely enough time to even commiserate as he rushed to catch the next flight home. Of course, the thought of grabbing a seat crossed my mind as well, but as I soon discovered, traveling solo was just what I needed. Here’s why. 
First, there are many great things about solo traveling solo that don’t receive the attention they should. With no one tagging along, you and you alone are in control, so you get to move at your own pace, do what you want to do, leave when you want to, eat when and where you want to eat, skimp or splurge when it suits you, and wake up and go to bed according to your own biological clock. No guilt, no disagreements, no waiting for someone else, and no snoring to deal with.
In addition to its “go anywhere, do anything” mantra, solo travel lends itself to a host of other opportunities that might otherwise be lost by sharing the journey with someone else. Solo travel provides time for true self-introspection, often leading to tremendous positive changes and growth in the emotional quality of one's life. Helping to bridge the gap between who we are today and who we want to be tomorrow, it also aids in the nurturing of a true sense of independence that can last a lifetime. 
By going it alone, solo traveling often opens the door to a richer cultural experience as well. Being solely responsible for interacting with the local scene and its people forces one to open up and immerse themselves deeper into the customs, traditions, attitudes, behaviors, arts, and intellectual achievements of their host country or region. It provides an opportunity to connect one-on-one with the locals through the sharing of genuine emotions and experiences. 
Whether it's for relaxation, leisure (a mix of business and leisure travel), or simply to explore a new destination, solo travel makes perfect sense. In fact, solo travel has continued to grow in popularity since the pandemic as more people have found that they enjoy time alone and don’t want to wait until it's the right time for someone else to join them on that dream vacation.
Europe, with its diversity of cultures and safe, quick, efficient air and rail travel, is a popular choice of soloists, as are the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Antarctica. Many cruise lines, resorts, escorted tours, wellness destinations, and volunteer abroad programs now offer more choices for solo travelers and are a great way to meet new people while still providing time for self-reflection.  
Of course, vigilance is key to safe travel. Be attentive of your surroundings, use street smarts, walk with a purpose and with your head held high, trust your gut, and look like you know where you are going. If you’re ever lost or need clarification about public transit, seek help from a conductor, police officer, store/restaurant manager or employee, or a family.?  
Stay connected daily with family back home, as well as your hotel manager, concierge, or host about your itinerary for the day, and always try to carry cash, a map, a guidebook, a phrase book, and a cellular phone and charger. Always make sure you’re dressed appropriately and avoid walking alone at night. 
Newbies to the solo travel scene can soon find their fears of loneliness unfounded with a little effort on their part to overcome their shyness. Group walking tours, food tours, cooking classes, yoga or exercise classes, sporting events, and outdoor markets are all great ways to meet new and interesting people, as are dining out and happy hour at a local pub.  
Remember, traveling solo doesn’t mean that you truly have to “go it alone” however. Consulting an experienced travel advisor, especially if you are a first-time solo traveler, goes a long way in securing a stress-free vacation. Not only can they handle all your travel arrangements, but they can assist with any changes or emergencies that might arise, help you navigate the complexities of travel insurance, and find deals and discounts that you may not have access to. Whether unplugging, relaxing, seeking an adrenaline rush, or yearning to achieve a specific goal or dream, a travel advisor can take the planning off your shoulders and lighten your load. 
If you find that you are still hesitant to venture out solo, start small with a weekend trip closer to home and you may find that the idea of a week or two abroad might be in your life plan after all. Use common sense, plan well, make good decisions, and have confidence in yourself and your ability to travel on your own and you’ll be rewarded with rich experiences and stories to tell for years to come. 

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