Solo Travel: Back on the Road

This summer, many travelers are finally taking the big trip, sometimes adventures that were rescheduled several times.  We’re back on the road but we’ve changed in noticeable and subtle ways. What will be different for you?

Becoming an experienced solo traveler is about more than carry ons, ferry schedules, rail strike management, and driving on the left.  It’s a graduate course in self-management. On the road, you embrace that you alone are making choices about your fears, your curiosity, and your next steps. You are in charge of managing your energy and caring for your safety.

The good news is that you also learn in solo travel to ask for help, sort out good advice, weigh risk and seek community in unusual places. The things you learned about yourself in the long shutdown – self management, self-autonomy, knowing how to come back when its only you – are great skills for traveling alone, especially when you face the unexpected.

As I’m planning my next adventure, after this hiatus, I’m thinking back to the basics:

  1. If it’s been a while, start with a trip that has a lot of help built in, opportunities for group experiences or staying at a resort or hotel with good amenities and support.
  2. Choose a trip with purpose — a specific experience or site, learning something new, accomplishing a goal, a bucket list moment.
  3. Are you just beginning traveling on your own or a pro. I worked through a progression from organized experiences like a yoga retreat, then a single city adventure, a resort, or if it’s your style, get your travel legs in an easy destination and then train hop across the map!
  4. Leave your baggage, of every kind, behind.

The most freeing thing about a trip on your own is that it belongs entirely to you—your tastes, your list, your speed, and your mode of transportation. Sleep late or hit the early morning market. Travel by train or walk a new city. Spend every day in a different museum and nights in the theatre or hike your stress away. It’s yours.