Good News for Solo Travelers: The World Is Once More Yours to Explore
As the world slowly reopens, many people -- long fatigued from lengthy lockdowns and restrictions -- are now eager to make plans to finally get out and travel. And among these people is none other than the humble solo traveler. In the past twenty years, singles traveling alone have become a significant part of the tourism industry, acting as a catalyst for long-overdue positive changes to accommodate them and their unique needs.
For far too long, these travelers without a partner were discriminated against, getting hit with unfair supplemental fees on cruise ships, at their hotel accommodations, and even on guided tours. They’ve often been asked to room, eat, and spend time with strangers, ultimately defeating the purpose of taking a trip by themselves.
The fact is, those who choose to travel alone aren’t necessarily looking for company. Instead, they’re looking to enjoy the experience itself, which may or may not include the presence of other people. However, they want to do it at their own discretion, and not under the over-reaching terms dictated by the travel industry.
The Good News
Fortunately, in recent years, the travel industry has begun to mend its ways and recognize solo travelers as an essential and expanding segment contributing significantly to its bottom line. And one big change that has been extremely useful can be found during the planning stages of a trip. Rather than turning to a travel agent, these independent would-be vacationers can handle their itinerary themselves.
To help facilitate the research and planning process, use the free live chats on travel sites to quickly connect a person to a real customer support agent, allowing prompt and courteous assistance on an as-needed basis. During the chat, they can easily send out feelers to determine if they’ll have to pay any penalties for traveling alone.
Indeed, all parts of the industry are finally starting to cater to those who wish to make a trip by themselves. This is particularly evident in the cruise industry, where newbuild ships are beginning to feature solo cabins with views (and even balconies overlooking beautiful stretches of turquoise waters!) while also eliminating supplemental fees.
Why Go Solo?
Being a solo traveler may not be for everyone, but for those who give it a try, this type of adventure can absolutely be life-changing. The experience can help you build your self-confidence as you successfully navigate each new adventure that you encounter while on your travels. It also can provide you with the much-needed freedom of time and space you crave, too.
For instance, you won’t be on anyone else’s schedule, and you choose to go where you want -- without needing to compromise to suit someone else’s interests. No doubt, it’s far easier to meet new people and make new friends when traveling alone than when accompanied by other travelers. You’ll also make more meaningful discoveries, too, as you’ll be more apt to venture off the beaten path.
The Best Places to Go
In the past, people who traveled alone often found it easier to navigate quieter, out-of-the-way places where they could meander at their own pace, taking in the scenery and finding respite in quaint B&Bs. However, many cities around the U.S. have begun to embrace them, opening their doors to these unaccompanied travelers.
Of course, the perennial favorites are Boston, New York, D.C., and Austin, all of which have recognized for years the needs of individuals traveling alone. These incredible cities offer activities for every interest and type of adventure a single person could ever want. Whether your focus is on history, art, food, fun, or something unique, they have it all.
That said, if you’re looking for the sophistication of a big city (as well as the joy of the great outdoors and the added bonus of good weather year-round), San Diego takes the top spot. Long considered a destination for families, America’s Finest City is quickly earning its name and reputation by becoming a favorite destination for single vacationers.
The Gaslamp district is the local hot spot for nightclubs, hotels, and restaurants for those looking for a bit of excitement. If you prefer something a bit more serene, though, many hotels have willingly embraced solo travelers all along the Pacific Coast. These properties are just perfect for relaxing by yourself.
San Diego offers miles of beach for casual strolling and reconnecting with oneself and the wildlife. You can find seals and sea lions dotting the shores, plus an endless variety of shorebirds aplenty soaring overhead. It is also a bike-friendly city with miles of accessible bike routes to explore the small communities that make up the greater San Diego area.
If you enjoy stepping into the past, a trip to Balboa Park is a must-see. If you prefer being on the water instead, then a harbor cruise taken late in the day includes a dazzling sunset that’s sure to delight. Even better, San Diego is just a few miles from the Mexican border, so adventurous singles can enjoy spending a day in Tijuana for a cultural treat that won’t disappoint.
Now Is the Time
Traveling by yourself doesn’t have to be lonely. If you’ve been curious about exploring the world by yourself, then why not step out of your comfort zone and take a trip that’ll allow you to finally reconnect with yourself? Give yourself complete permission to enjoy new places and experiences, and savor the time spent exploring them all by yourself.
If you have the urge to connect with people, you can always turn to the locals. You’ll soon learn that people are always willing to be extra helpful to those traveling alone. Above all, though, simply let yourself wander through a city with no plan in place. And when you experience the joy of living in the moment, taking in each experience as it happens, you’ll suddenly remember exactly why you became a solo traveler in the first place.