Independent travel used to be a rite of passage that was solely the preserve of men. But to quote Bob Dylan, “the times, they are a-changing”. Thankfully!
The current generation, called “Millennials” by some, are quite happy to strike out on their own – men and women alike! We want to look at 11 reasons why women of the Baby Boomer generation should follow suit and embrace travelling solo. It’s a safe and fun way to see the world, we promise!
1. The time is right
Women in the UK have more money and independence than ever before – take advantage of that fact! Also, consider this quote from female travel blogger and grandmother Kate Convissor, writing on Wanderlust and Lipstick:
“As a single woman you’re approachable. You aren’t intimidating. […] You can interact with the women around you. As an older single woman, I tend to be invisible as well and less a target for unwanted male attention. That’s a refreshing development.”
In fact, you can take time to experience the broader world without many of the hassles that Millennials have to endure, like financial insecurity. And as the quote also suggests…
2. Making new friends is easier
Even the most outgoing and extroverted among us tend to gravitate towards safe, familiar faces at social gatherings. However, travelling independently encourages you to embrace meeting new people and really immerse yourself in their company.
With friends or family in tow, you may just scratch the surface of the people you meet during your trip. But when you’re able to give them your full and undivided attention whenever you choose, you ask more personal questions, and make deeper connections. Which is why…
3. …romantic encounters are easier too
Holiday romances may seem a trifle clichéd, but like many stereotypes, there is a kernel of truth behind them. The sense of freedom, adventure and wonder that a new holiday brings often lifts the soul and creates a tide of positive feelings that help to kindle new partnerships.
What better way to get in touch with your romantic side than by doing so free from the reminders of home and the potential disapproval of people who know the “normal” you? Away from such inhibitions, and with ample free time on your hands, you can enjoy the company of a charming stranger more fully.
4. You can be more adventurous
Even if you are not in the mood for finding love, ‘Independent Holiday You’ is much more likely to let their hair down and try new things than ‘Home You’. Perhaps you don’t often indulge in a glass of vino because your friends don’t enjoy wine? Now you’re free to enjoy.
Or maybe you’ve always wanted to try parasailing or windsurfing but felt that your friends would find it “out of character”? On a solo holiday, you can forget about the past – live in the moment instead! It’s a basic tenet of being more mindful.
5. Your schedule is wide open
Let’s be honest – getting a group of friends to agree on things can often be like herding cats. Even in a party of two, interests may be quite conflicted (“Oh good, he wants to see where SS Lazio play in Rome?”). Solo travel makes your itinerary 100% your own!
In Venice, you can go and see the locations shown in Don’t Look Now or The English Patient. Or take your camera on a tour of Vienna’s most photogenic buildings. Whatever inspires you, you can investigate it to your heart’s content.
6. Move at your own pace
Travelling as a couple, or in a group, always adds up to less holiday time for individuals exploring a new country. You end up loitering in your room while someone else gets ready in the morning, or waiting in a gallery while your friend lingers a little too long at an exhibition. Other people’s bathroom breaks and pit stops slow you down, too.
When you travel as a solo female, you’re not just free to make your own itinerary, you’re also free to change it on a whim. Skip popular sights you can’t be bothered with, or simply sleep until noon if you feel like it!
7. Discover new strengths and skills
Embracing the strength of independence shouldn’t be something reserved for women in the 18 to 35 age group who are travelling the world by themselves. All females have the same tools at their disposal, like smartphones, travel blogs and Google Maps. You will also have added life experience and probably more resources to enjoy yourself than someone younger might.
A solo holiday gives you the chance to challenge yourself and test your limits. So, sign up for language lessons from a site such as DuoLingo, and start learning how to ask for directions or order at a restaurant in the tongue of your choice!
8. Immerse yourself in your environment
There are many things in life that everyone should do at least once. Gaze across the 20 arrondissements of Paris from the pinnacle of the Eiffel Tower. Stand on the North Cape, with all of Europe to the south, and watch Aurora Borealis dance in the night sky. Cool off in the shadow of the Sphinx and consider the age of the pharaohs.
Are these experiences bettered by Catherine talking about how she wishes she’d brought her other glasses with her? Will views be improved by your other half wondering aloud if the cricket will be on the TV in the hotel bar? No, to truly experience the sublime beauty of the world, you need to stand, stare, contemplate…
9. Save money!
If you’re travelling on a budget, travelling solo can often be cheaper than travelling in a group. You don’t have to go on the Camp Nou Stadium tour because your husband or partner has always wanted to see the home of FC Barcelona. There don’t have to be trips to an expensive restaurant because your friend doesn’t trust that small traditional café.
There’s also far less chance of being talked into buying souvenirs and gadgets, just because your travel companions want to. Yes, going solo is the perfect way to save on your holiday cash…
10. ...or splash out!
Same principle; different outcome. There’s no judging involved in a singles holiday. If you’d rather splash out on a sumptuous dessert with an expensive port accompaniment, do it! Want to treat yourself to a silky soft scarf from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul? Who’s going to tell you it’s too expensive?
11. Uninterrupted “me” time
Want to spend the whole day reading a book in a Slovakian café? You can! Want to have a glass of wine and contemplate your plans for the rest of the year while gazing out over the Rhine? Do it!
With more than a fifth of Saga customers travelling alone, you can find something to suit your holiday choice in their solo traveller holiday collection.