Is solo travel for you? Before you shake your head in fear and horror, take my quiz below. You may be surprised…and then start to pack your bags!
I get comments and questions like these all the time:
- “I can’t believe you travel alone. I could never do that.” (Yes, you can!)
- “How do you know what to do?” (There is this cool thing called “The Internet.”)
- “What if you get lost/sick/robbed/kidnapped….?” (I’m a prudent planner. I know safety basics. Read my post about packing necessary medications.)
- “Aren’t you nervous with all these terrorists?” (I agree with Rick Steves: Your odds of being killed by terrorism overseas? 1 in 20 million. By a gun in the U.S.? 1 in 32,250. I’ll take my chances.)
Solo Travelers: Born or Made?
A few words before the quiz. First, I am not a born solo traveler. But over the years, after failing to find someone who had the same interests, budget, and/or curiosity, I realized that if I didn’t go alone, I wasn’t going to go at all. And my desire to see the world was stronger than my fears. With a big breath, I took the leap.
Also, if you’ve ever traveled with someone who drives you absolutely mad–and I have–you take pleasure in the serenity of not having to bite your tongue because there are still six more days to go, and murder is starting to seem like a rational idea. I’m not talking about quirks here…I’m talking about flat-out incompatibility.
Yes, there are people who are born to leave home and tackle whatever comes their way. We all read about them, hanging out with polar bears or just-discovered tribes. They backpack across India barefoot, eat bugs, and make their own dug-out canoes. I’ll just go on record by saying that this is not my idea of solo travel, and that these folks have an entirely different genetic makeup from the other 99% of us.
The Quiz: Is Solo Travel for YOU?
Here are ten easy questions. Just answer YES or NO.
- Are your friends and/or family interested in the same destinations or travel style as you?
- Do your friends and/or family have a similar travel budget?
- Are there any activities you enjoy doing alone? (Running, hiking, reading, painting, etc.)
- Do you have a pleasant disposition?
- Are you capable of asking questions?
- Is learning about other people and places important to you?
- Can you make a decision without seeking reassurance?
- Are you able to adapt to change or unexpected situations?
- Do you feel that you still want to do more with your life?
- Do you believe that unless you share an experience, that it has no value?
Score: Questions 1 and 2 are there to help you determine if you need to consider going alone. If either answer is NO, it might be time to make your own plans. Questions 3-9: If you answered YES to any of these, you have the makings of a solo traveler! Question 10: The correct answer is NO. Period.
What’s next? Baby steps…
Now that you’ve passed the quiz, what’s next? First, let me be clear: If you have someone you love to travel with, rock on! Zillions of people have delightful partners who can’t wait for the next adventure. But…if you’re in that “limbo” of wanting to travel, but waiting for the perfect companion, stop. Stop. If I can do this, so can you.
Start small. Go to lunch by yourself–take a book or your phone. Go for an overnight at a hotel. Pretend you’re on a business trip. Visit a nearby town, go to a festival, take a food tour. Get a passport. Join a group traveling to that destination you’ve longed to see. Make a bucket list! And start checking places off.
Everywhere, you will find that no one bats an eye. Solo travel is a real thing. Welcome!