Travelling with friends or your romantic partner is a rewarding experience. You have someone to share the excitement with, plot ideas, and allow you to feel as safe as you possibly can while experiencing far-off locations. For most of us, it’s the way we choose to see the world.
It’s not for everyone, though. The popularity of the singles holiday makes that abundantly clear; for some, seeing the world alone is the best way to do it. While on the face of it – especially if you’re used to travelling as part of a couple or group – that might seem daunting, to others, it’s the dream.
So what’s the attraction? And why do so many people – who could travel as part of a group if they so chose to do so – make the decision to go their own way? For each person the reason varies, but ask enough go-it-alone holidaymakers, and the same reasons come back each time.
You’re Subject To No One’s Schedule But Yours
This goes beyond what you do on the holiday, but into the very foundation of when you go on holiday. “My husband works in healthcare,” Sonja, who is 31 and has been travelling solo since she was 19, “so the most he can manage is weekend breaks. My wanderlust won’t restrict me to that! I’m a freelance designer so my schedule is much more flexible. I think it’d have a detrimental effect on our marriage if I couldn’t use some of that freedom to go abroad.”
Does it cause them any problems? “No,” she says, “in fact it’s refreshing. A little time apart, time to miss each other – if anything it’s beneficial.”
Her husband, Mark, agrees: “I don’t want my work schedule to prevent Sonja seeing and doing the things she wants to experience. I’m happy with weekend breaks for us as a couple and she can explore elsewhere when work allows her to.”
If you are fed up waiting for friends or your partner to get time off work, then travelling solo undoubtedly has its benefits in this regard.
It Allows You To Do What You Want
The second scheduling point is what happens while you’re away. Plenty of solo travellers revel in the freedom to set their own itinerary. Marcos, who is 28 and single, loves the fact he can make his own choices. “It drives me crazy having to capitulate to someone else’s wishes,” he admits with a wry laugh. “I guess I’m a control freak, but I don’t like having to schedule in stops on a road trip or be dragged to things I don’t want to see and do, just because someone else does. It makes me resent them because to do their thing I have to do less of my thing. Is that selfish?” He shrugs at his own question, “maybe – but it’s a big world, and I need to pack it all into a lifetime!”
It Gives You The Ability To Take Risks
It doesn’t seem that a desire to do your own thing is selfish anyway, but for Hannah, a single mother-of-one, travelling alone is the exact opposite. “My daughter has ADHD,” she explains, “and as a result she gets over-stimulated very quickly. She hates holidays; she never gets the chance to enjoy the things she sees because she never settles long enough to care. It’s far better for her that she goes and spends a week with my parents – where she’s treated like a queen! – while I go off around the world. I think it’d be selfish, in fact, for me to cart her around to satisfy my own wanderlust when she’d far prefer to stay at home.”
Her daughter, Celine, who is 11, agrees: “I hate holidays,” she says with the determination of youth. “I don’t envy my Mum at all. I like seeing her pictures but I’ve never looked at them and thought I wish I’d been there.”
If the day does come that Celine wants to travel with her, Hannah would welcome it. “I’d love it,” she says simply, “but it’s got to be her decision.”
So Is It For You?
If you have wondered about the feasibility of travelling alone, then there is little reason to. All of the aforementioned subjects loved the freedom and never felt anything but reassured in the fact they’d made the right decision.
If you do decide you’d like to give it a go, then why not start small? Go for a weekend break and see if it suits. You never know until you try.