It’s a phrase that strikes fear in the hearts and minds of many.
“Table for one, please.”
No? Not too scary? Good. Don’t let that phrase worry you. It’s a step toward adventure and discovery, and it’s an essential part of traveling alone. In my experience, traveling alone sets you directly on a path of adventure, and who doesn’t love adventure? Exploring solo guarantees that you’ll make your return trip renewed, inspired, and full of memories to treasure and share. There are infinite reasons to love traveling by yourself, but here are just a few to convince you to book your next trip for one.
Do What You Want
Flexibility is the name of the game when you’re traveling alone. When it’s just you and the city (or town, country, hamlet, or village), you get to plan your days. If you’re a scheduler at heart, then plan your itinerary down to the moment. Or you can choose to wander, taking in the sights and sounds at your own pace. The key, here, though, is that it is all up to you.
In San Antonio? Walk along the river at six in the morning. Skip the crowds in Dollywood by keeping early—or late—hours. Want to take a spontaneous day trip to the beach? Spend all afternoon wandering in a museum? The only person you have to convince is yourself. Your travel itinerary belongs to you and you alone. Set your own pace, and enjoy it.
Forget the Reservations
Truth: It is always easier to get a table for one. Sit at the bar and talk to your neighbors, make friends with the bartender, try a new dish. Flying solo, there are no competing tastes to take into consideration. Since it’s just you, you get to eat what you’d like when you’d like to eat it—for the duration of the trip. Drinks, dinner, and dessert all at different restaurants? You can do it. You’re nimble. See? You’re having an adventure already.
The table for one principle also applies to a ticket for one. If you’d like to have an impromptu afternoon at the theatre or if you want to catch a concert, there’s certainly a single seat somewhere that has your name on it. It’s always easier to nab a last-minute ticket for one than a couple of seats side by side. (It’s cheaper, too.)
Make Small Talk
Just because you’re traveling alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. If the opportunity arises, talk to strangers. Ask them about their travels. They may surprise you. Park benches, restaurants, and museums are all perfect places for striking up conversations. When traveling alone, you’ll also get your fill of people watching, one of the most beloved lone-travel activities. Take in the sights; you are a tourist, after all.
Focus on the Experience
When solo, your eyes are wide open to the place around you. When you’re not immersed in sharing an experience with someone else, you can think deeply—and uninterruptedly—about what you’re seeing and feeling. Get to know a place on your own, and it will stay with you forever. Be sure to keep a journal when you’re traveling alone, and record what you see and who you encounter so that you can revisit the memories of your travels later.
Traveling alone is an experience that is yours to shape and yours to treasure. We grow when we’re challenged, and traveling solo is a beautiful, singular challenge, exposing travellers to new sights, perspectives, and experiences. When you return, you’ll have great stories to share. So go: Claim that table for one, and explore solo with eyes and ears wide open. We’ll be here when you get back.