Does the idea of solo travel completely you freak you out?
OK maybe not completely, but do you find the concept unappealing as you think of long flights alone, dinners spent browsing your phone and no one to share your experiences with?
I totally get it, there are definitely benefits to having a travel companion but for many reasons that is not always feasible.
People have different schedules, responsibilities, interests and financial situations. If you have ever tried to organize a trip for more than 2 people you probably know what I am talking about.
The agony of finding the perfect time, the perfect location and the perfect budget will have you wanting to tear your hair out.
So far this year, I have traveled to the Bahamas with my then 8 year old son. Besides our passport snafu (I discovered his was expired THE NIGHT BEFORE the trip), it was a breeze.
After a little consultation with my mini travel buddy, I booked the trip and we went off and had fun.
Kids can be great travel companions as their power at the bargaining table is way less than yours! But remember, their whining at any displeasure can completely ruin any benefits, so negotiate wisely!
My second vacation was to Costa Rica and Nicaragua with 2 friends. With such a low number of people, it is easier to plan, but you still have to compromise on many things to make sure everyone is happy.
If you are not careful, you might find yourself in a blowout about room temperature control or the definition of “sacred”. That actually happened. LOL.
But we had fun times and their presence added a dimension to the trip that wouldn’t have been there had I been alone.
Yet I yearned for my solo trip.
In 2012 I went to Cancun, Mexico alone.
I was still going through a separation and that time alone was just the catharsis I needed. I spent time with myself, pampering myself and gaining some experiences I always wanted.
I came back refreshed and rejuvenated, and those memories still make me smile, even though I have no one with whom to reminisce on them.
Earlier this year, my sister and her friends approached me about taking this cruise to Jamaica (that I am about to go on tomorrow). It sounded great, coincided with my birthday and I had never been on a cruise so I accepted.
As I got around to purchasing the tickets, I realized that I had not taken a solo vacation in years and if I didn’t do so now, I would lose the chance in 2015.
So I tacked on a few days to the beginning of the vacation and here I am in Miami, all by my lonesome on my birthday.
And totally enjoying it.
My sister and her friends arrive to join me tonight at the hotel, and while I am happy to have their company, I know things will change once they come. In a good way too, but my time of solitude and quiet reflection will be all over!
My sister and her friends are fun and rambunctious. They bring a party wherever they go, so I am looking forward to it, but over the next few hours I will continue to savor the lovely day I have been having.
Here are some of the benefits of solo travel that I have been enjoying.
I have complete control of my time and choices.
I also spent some valuable time alone. When you are a full time employee and mother with a side passion project, this time is indeed “sacred”.
My flight came in after midnight, and after having to check my CARRY-ON due to lack of space on the packed plane, I did not get out of the airport until after 1:30 am.
I was starving on my arrival at the Provident Blue Doral Miami. A lovely front desk lady made me a salad after seeing that I was about to pass out from starvation. I had not eaten since lunch!
I then went to the room and scarfed down the salad, turned off my phone ringer, and slept the night away! I had no disturbances and woke at my leisure.
I strolled to breakfast after spending ages luxuriating in the shower.
I ordered and ate, then did a bit of reading and strolling around the property while responding to my birthday pings.
I spent the rest of the day completely on my own terms.
I meditated, checked out the spa and gym (emphasis on “checked out” ha ha). I read, caught up on the mid-season finale of the Walking Dead (wowza). I did my nails, listened to music, napped and was just at one with myself.
This is my perfect way to spend a birthday.
Their flight will be landing in the hour I am typing this and I cannot wait for their arrival but I am so glad I had this solo time to unwind and decompress.
Next time you are thinking about solo travel, don’t be scared. There are many benefits to traveling alone so don’t think you have to wait around for company to live the life you want!