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Thoughts On Solo Travel: The Highs & Lows Of A Holiday For One

Can there be anything more deliciously self-indulgent than solo travel? Going where you want, when you want? Creating your own agenda, sticking to it if you wish and ditching it if you don’t?

I’ve often flown solo and I prefer it this way. I can wander around the airport or work in a lounge, board at my own pace without searching for the rest of the group, and switch off for the entire flight. Most of the time though I would find company waiting for me at the other end – a business associate, other conference attendees, a long lost friend.

My last trip, however, was different – it was a whole week’s holiday on my own. As you can probably tell from my posts, I absolutely loved it. I got up in my own time, spread my clothes out around the hotel room and made the most of not having to share the space with a single soul. Because of the type of holiday that it was I was kept busy with activities and group sports.

However, there were a couple of instances when I realised I was truly alone and that was a bit of a problem.

The first involved tan lines. The weather was gloriously warm in Grenada and when my schedule allowed I would pull out a sun lounger and make the most of it. I sensibly rubbed my factor 30 sun lotion onto the parts of my exposed skin I could reach. I slapped a blob on the back of each shoulder and as that was the furthest I could reach, that had to do.

That evening my back revealed the errors of my ways. Horrid, red, criss-crossing burn lines! Not attractive. In fact, they were so bad, the next day a guest offered to put cream on my back to prevent it happening again. (Which was very kind of her – thank you stranger.)

Pictures are very awkward too; if you want to be in them that is. If I wanted to photograph anything other than my giant head and a speck of sand (see above), I would have to ask for help and stand awkwardly all alone on a romantic spot, posing for a stranger.

There were certain activities I was apprehensive to take up on my own too. The La Source resort attracts a lot of solo female travellers so on this occasion I could pair up with other ladies for visits to the local markets or nights out, should I have wanted to. I was apprehensive to do these things on my own in a place I don’t really know, so if there was no one else willing to come with me I would have missed out on seeing a fascinating part of the country.

Eating alone is a bit sad isn’t it? As a writer I could just about get away with dining with my laptop. As a bookworm I was happy to share my table with a good novel. But it was others in the restaurant who felt most uncomfortable about my solo dining. I found that couples often asked me to join them – I suspect wishing I wouldn’t. Again, the La Source resort is unique in this way as every night a member of staff hosts a ‘singles’ table where all the solo travellers can dine together. Joining these tables for a couple of nights I found the company great and conversation flowing, but I’m aware this isn’t an option on all holidays or trips abroad.

I noticed that I begun talking to myself, particularly in my room which was often silent – there were no TVs in the bedrooms at La Source and it felt odd without any background noise. I missed idle chit chat and started muttering or giggling to myself. During the day I could chat to staff and other guests around the pool but there were many silent periods in my evenings. It turned out that was exactly what I needed though, silence is indeed golden.

At times when I was sick of silence, or had experienced something amazing I wanted to share with loved ones, I found myself reaching for my iphone or laptop and hooking up to wifi like I needed it to survive. With no one to share the highs and lows of my day with, I went online and shared with the world instead. As a blogger this is a beneficial trait but I wondered if the average non-blogging Joe Bloggs would just end up doing work or spending all their time online, when they should be unwinding on holiday?

I totally enjoyed my holiday for one though. With an increase of well priced solo holidays on the market, if your friend or partner doesn’t have the time, budget or inclination to join you on a trip, I say take the deliciously self-indulgent option of going alone. Consider the potential pitfalls as mentioned above and measure your choice of destination and accommodation against them. Finally, pack lots of books and mind you don’t burn your back!

Have you taken a solo holiday? Would you consider one?

About Author

I'm a full time blogger with a passion for travel and interiors. A travel blogger for 12+ years, I took a course on interior styling during the pandemic when travel was not an option. I now run 2 Instagram accounts - @jayneytravels, which covers authentic, affordable luxury escapes and @ourtravelhome which is all about decorating our new build home with a modern rustic style.

21 Comments

  • D.J. - The World of Deej
    June 29, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I spent the last month visiting some notable resorts around Florida, most of which were on my own. It was a pretty boring experience. Sure, it was cool for about the first hour each time, but after that I wanted someone to talk to, someone to take pictures with, etc. Instead, the bartender serving my dinner was about the only company…

    Reply
    • Jayne
      June 29, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      I know just what you mean!

      Reply
  • Rusty
    June 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I’d happily do a solo “unwind” holiday – reading by the pool, beers, and a bit of writing in the sunshine – I can’t think of anything better! However, I’m a bit of a lazybones, so if I’m off on more of an explore/adventure holiday, I’d prefer to be in company – I find that your experiences are augmented by having people there sharing them with you (and in my case, doing most of the organising for me).

    Reply
    • Jayne
      June 29, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      Ha – totally agree that the type of holiday you are taking is crucial

      Reply
  • Nadine Stewart
    June 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Personally, I love solo travel. Admittedly, apart from Paris, I’ve only done it to places where I know people. That way I can spend my days alone but have the option of meeting family/friends in the evenings.

    Generally I think the solo travel is something people should experience. Yes, I agree it’s very self-indulgent and also very self-powering too.

    On the downside, it can suck when it’s a busy/buzzy Saturday night and you’re eating/drinking alone like a right Billy-No-Mates. And yes, having to bug strangers to take pics of you can get a bit boring after awhile 😉

    Reply
  • Scarlett
    June 29, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Such a good post Jayne – I’m more than happy to spend time alone – I actually like it when my boyfriend goes home of a weekend sometimes and I can indulge in me-time for a few days. That said, with things like photo taking and certain activities, you do feel nervous or self conscious alone! Sometimes when you’re with your friends or partner you don’t bother putting yourself out there, or don’t end up doing things you want because they don’t – but sometimes there are things you have to do with someone else, so I love the idea of singles tables for a bit of mingling! There are loads of solo female travel blogs out there, but few actually talk about the pitfalls and how to tackle them, so I’m LOVING the honesty! xx

    Reply
    • Jayne
      October 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      Thank you!!

      Reply
  • Jeff @ GoTravelzing
    June 29, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I like to travel solo but only certain types of travel. I have no problem going to Europe or taking a weekend trip by myself. I do not like the idea of going to a resort or a cruise alone.

    Reply
  • jhudy
    June 29, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    nic blog

    Reply
  • Megan
    June 29, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I’m a HUGE fan of solo travel. Call me selfish, but I love not having to worry about other people. I often dine alone even when I’m not travelling (and no, I’m not a loner). And I find I meet more people. If you’re travelling with someone, there’s less motivation to make an effort to meet people.
    But I agree with many of the points you make. There’s only so many times I can be bothered setting the self-timer on my camera!
    Good post.

    Reply
    • Jayne
      June 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      You’re not selfish at all! And make a very valid point about being alone means you make the effort to meet new people

      Reply
  • Emily in Chile
    June 29, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Eating out is definitely the hardest part of traveling alone for me. I’m quite happy with a book and some good food, but I get the occasional “oh that poor girl” look which makes me feel a little pathetic. A singles’ table would be a fun alternative.

    Reply
    • Jayne
      June 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Haha sounds like you had exactly the same experience as me with other diners 🙂

      Reply
  • coffee in a cup
    June 30, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    i like to go solo, but i prefer my holiday to be a mix of traveling alone and with company 🙂

    Reply
    • Jayne
      June 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      The perfect compromise plus you get the best of both worlds!

      Reply
  • George
    July 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    I love solo travel it’s so self indulgent. I love how you can approach new people, it’s a new adventure everyday 🙂

    Reply
    • Jayne
      October 29, 2012 at 3:01 pm

      Well said 🙂

      Reply
  • Larissa
    July 19, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Traveling solo does get boring after a while, this is true. That is why I have become such a huge fan of Couchsurfing. Even when I am staying at a hostel or hotel, I still browse profiles to see if there are any like-minded individuals who might be up for grabbing a coffee or drink. More often than not the people I end up hooking up with have hospitality running in their blood (that’s why I guess they sign up to host/meet) and I always end up seeing the best of the best in every town I go. Since I travel solo, we usually end up bonding way more and in the end I always come back with some great friends 🙂

    Reply
  • dee majek
    October 28, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I enjoyed reading your article. I love the challenge of going some where new without knowing any body. Been travelling solo across Central and Northern america for 6 months. It all depends on your disposition, I have met great people on the way and others who were more lonely than me. On your own. Skype and blogging has made it easier to keep in touch with friends and share your holiday experiences whilst on the go.

    Reply
    • Jayne
      October 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience Dee – sounds like you are having a great time!

      Reply
  • […] travel blogger and freelance writer based in Melbourne, Australia. Check out Jayne’s Highs and Lows of a Holiday for One for an honest account of solo travel and Why Solo Travel Can be Good for a Relationship which […]

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