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What are the things you like best about solo travel?

Old Jun 13th, 2006, 02:16 PM
  #1  
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What are the things you like best about solo travel?

Also, did your first solo trip make you appreciate the solo-ness, or did it make you want to travel with another person?
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Old Jun 15th, 2006, 09:29 PM
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By going solo, I can travel where and when I want instead of staying home and waiting for the suitable travel companion who never seems to be available. That's it. That's the only thing I like about solo travel. But it's enough to outweigh all the negatives of going alone.

I didn't enjoy my first solo trip, but when the time came for my second solo trip I went anyway, since I refused to let the lack of a travel companion force me to stay home. I have taken many solo trips since then, but I have yet to "appreciate the solo-ness" or even understand why anyone who has a choice prefers to go solo. But I do appreciate the ability to travel to interesting places even without someone to go with. I think that's enough to appreciate.

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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 08:52 AM
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I agree with the above poster, and I like to be able to do what I want when I want for as long as I like. I think I tend to worry too much whether a companion is having a good time, doing/seeing everything he/she wants to do/se, spending more than he/she feels comfortable with, etc. So solo travel takes that concern away. I actually enjoy it as much as if not more than traveling with someone in some cases.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 12:04 PM
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I just plain love to travel..if you wait for people who have the time or money, you'll never go! Unfortunately, things do cost more..i.e. rooms, but I love Rick Steves travels because there's no single supplement and his tours are awesome. I then travel on from the tour on my own..plus, it's so much easier to meet people when you are on your own! Happy travels
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Old Jun 24th, 2006, 07:46 PM
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I travel both ways. I have more flexibility, vacation time and I just plain NEED it more than my (thankfully, understanding) spouse. Solo travel is a more introspective experience where encounters with people that might be insignificant in another setting take on more significance because you are traveling alone. I take my best pictures traveling solo because I can really focus (pun!) on what I'm doing and take as long as I like with something without the need to try anyone else's patience. And since I am the person who pays regardless, it's flat out cheaper to go it alone from every standpoint -- including that I might not need to find the kind of digs that I prefer to treat others to.
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Old Jun 25th, 2006, 04:46 AM
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I have always find solo travel more interesting, less taxing on my nerves/tempers and therefore more enjoyable even when the weather and everything else isn't cooperating. No tolerating the other person's idiosyncracies; I have enough of those myself ;-)... Granted, I'm single and stay alone in a rather huge apartment (read: set in my ways) but it's really no fun when you want to just lie down on the grass and the other person keeps chirping "Grass stain, grass stain" and opt to stand beside you. Where's the fun? Or when I'm so hungry I just want to find a quiet place offering good food and the other person wants to shop around for the cheapest menu available? No thanks... I'm definitely going solo for my next trip and if I have to pay more for single room, so be it. If I can't afford it, I will either trim down the excess or go somewhere cheaper.
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Old Jul 16th, 2006, 10:06 PM
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I've been solo traveling on and off since 2000 and really enjoy it. It gets a little lonely at times, but it is also a good opportunity to interact with people of different cultures and countries without anyone actually knowing you.
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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 04:50 AM
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First solo trip made me appreciate the solo-ness. I like time alone even at home, so traveling alone is a natural extension. But I'm always happy to have my husband join me, if he wishes.

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Old Jul 17th, 2006, 07:42 PM
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Solo travel pressures me to extend myself to other travelers and locals. I am not always the most outgoing person in the world, but traveling alone empowers me to do things that I wouldn't always do with a companion.

Of course, I also like being able to do whatever it is that I want to do.
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 06:45 PM
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I spent two lovely weeks in England all by myself. True, I got lost often because it is difficult to read the signs and drive, but I didn't have to listen to someone becoming hysterical.I just called it "seeing more of the country than I had planned to." I can't stand vacations where people act as if they have to be joined at the hip and everyone has to do the same thing at the same time.
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 03:13 PM
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Solo travel is very good way to change the environment and relax. When I travel with companions, they always put more emphasis on partying and getting drunk. Travel is not only about having fun. Travel is about changing pace, seeing new things, learning and relaxing.

So, I began compromising: I would go on a trip with friends, then split from them at the end and go somewhere on my own. I usually have more available vacation time than anyone, so it works out well.
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Old Jul 21st, 2006, 11:39 AM
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I've been lurking for a bit and thought I'd come out of the closet on this one.

For me, the best thing about solo travel is being able to do what I want, when I want. I don't have to compromise and skip something that I want to do in order to be "fair". I may never get another chance to go and I don't want to come home knowing that I never saw Worchester Cathedral or Niagara Falls, etc. because my companion didn't want to go there. I can also travel at my own pace, not too slow and not too hectic. When I don't want to be around people, I can be alone without hurting feelings, etc. It also is much easier to stay on a budget - no one egging me on to do just one more tour, or just one expensive restaurant.

My first solo trip definitely made me "see the light". I love the independence and freedoms that solo travel brings.
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Old Jul 25th, 2006, 11:36 AM
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I took my first solo trip to Rome this past May, after three previous trips there each with a different friend. The trips I had taken with friends were very fun, packed with activity, a sense of feeling safe, and nights ending with great meals and us laughing ourselves to sleep in our hotel room. I knew that one day there would come a May (my Italy travel time for every trip) when
I would not have a close friend who had the money or vacation time to travel with me, that's just life, and was left with the fear-inspiring possibility of having to decide between not going to Italy (which in and of itself was a near non-possibility, as I wait all year for that soul enriching experience I can't feel elsewhere) or taking the plunge and going solo.

So this May I did go solo, and it was amazing on many different levels. When you travel solo, time goes very slowly, which means you really realize that you are in a different place and on vacation. You're more aware of other people, of your surroundings, of sights, sounds, and colors. You take your time with things. I would spend hours just sitting in front of the same church in Piazza del Popolo with a gelato in hand and journal, and not have anyone tell me it's time to go or not feel obliged to suggest every few minutes 'let me know when you are ready to go.' You can get out of bed as late as you wish. Everyone is on a different schedule as far as how long it takes to recover from jetlag, for instance. It's nice to have been able to sleep it off and not get on with the day even though I wasnt ready to. In previous trips I would hate walking around enjoying the sights while being exhausted, not listening to my body's needs but instead having to consider not wasting a travel companion's time. I'm from the school of thought that says when you are on vacation, whether it's the Caribbean or Europe, the purpose is first and foremost to relax. Even if there are tons of sights to see and even if it's a trip of a lifetime. You can also take your time with pictures, focusing on the artistic shots that others may not appreciate as much.

The downside is that I found that I did not take many pictures with myself in them, because I didn't feel comfortable asking others and also didn't want to attract attention to myself as a solo traveller. Another downside is that I didnt eat many dinners, instead opting to eat my largest meals during lunch. I couldnt get myself to get all dressed up only to sit at a nice restaurant by myself. The plus side is that I saved lots of money on food, and no need to buy a bottle of wine every night when I dont drink wine and my travel companion does. The third downside is that you dont have someone to share thoughts with and process information, so certain things that a companion pointed out you may never notice.

All in all it was a wonderful experience. It's very empowering, and you really feel that you can do just about anything after travelling solo. You develop a love and deep respect for yourself, as corny as that sounds.
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Old Jul 25th, 2006, 11:58 AM
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Tonia,

I found that I can lose weight because I eat my biggest meal at lunch and then walk it off the rest of the day. It is daunting to eat dinner in a nice restaurant at night, but at lunch the staff seems much more willing to accommodate you and I have found some will actually give me tips for sightseeing.

I'm a big photographer too, and don't have any photos of me on any of my solo trips, but all my photos represent what I saw as opposed to representing what I was wearing, so I don't miss them.

When I return from my trip, I invite my young nieces over for a weekend and we look at my photos and I tell them about my experiences. It gets them excited about seeing new things, lets them know that it's OK to be alone, and gives me the opportunity to share my adventure without boring my friends. Knowing that I will be able to share with them, makes it less "lonely" to be experiencing those great moments (like petting a cougar or playing with wolf cubs).
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Old Jul 25th, 2006, 05:21 PM
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I meet a lot more interesting people when I'm traveling solo. That plus all the other reasons mentioned here make it a great option for me.
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Old Jul 29th, 2006, 08:54 PM
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Add one more benefit: No need to keep tab on who's paying what or who's owing who.

If you travel with an easy-going person who's generous, that's not a problem. But if you're the generous one and somehow your good friend became a penny-counting horror, there goes a vacation made in H-E-double-hockey-sticks.
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Old Jul 29th, 2006, 10:42 PM
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JB - too true! I've always been generous when I know the person I'm with really can't afford it, but sometimes you run into those who manage to avoid paying just because they can.

I also find that I'm not "bullied" into spending more than I can afford. My first trip to Hawaii was with my sister. I was on limited funds and she wasn't. After 6 days, we finally had a disagreement because I couldn't afford another $100 for an activity. I offered to drive her there and pick her up afterwards, but she wouldn't go alone. It made me feel extremely guilty.
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Old Jul 30th, 2006, 06:05 AM
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Hi Toedtoes, I'm generous to a fault and sometimes that's not good. For my business travels, I tend to invite friends to tag along. The way I look at it: (1) there's a big room to share, (2) I won't be around to enjoy the lounge or free drinks, and (3) they can save on accommodation and spend on visiting. Problem is, sometimes, they expect me to pick up tabs for room service or phone calls simply because my client won't mind paying for such little things.

And when we're visiting places on our own after the business part, I will be buying ice-creams and snacks without being paid. On the other hand, I'm expected to dole out exact change for everything! Yes, I agree that there's joy in giving... but surely not to this extent. For my next few trips, I'm not going to ask any friends to tag along. Maybe next year... ;-) because I believe I only have one or two such 'friends'... Gotta believe...
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Old Jul 30th, 2006, 09:24 AM
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JBtan (I just realized there are two JB's in this post )-

I have invited friends (one at a time) to join me on a solo trip - telling them that since I'm already paying for the hotel and the car regardless, all they need to pay for is their airfare and per diem. I've only had one person say, "oh no, I'd pay my share!" That worries me a bit, but luckily no one's ever managed to get the money together for the airfare so I haven't found out if they're considerate or not. Of course, I've also explained that I have my itinerary, shown it to them, and explained that I won't switch the art museum for Hard Rock Cafe, etc. Maybe I scare them off
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Old Jul 30th, 2006, 09:40 PM
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One good thing about being female and traveling alone is that hotels in certain countries will put me on their ladies floor (non-smoking most of the time) and in a ladies room. The later part means extra bath items, more colorful bathrobe, more feminine room and supposedly extra security on the floor. This happened to me when I was in India in the past two trips. International chains like Sheraton and Hyatt are very good with lone female travelers. (Of course, India per se is not known for safety or security for solo female travelers.)

Most of these hotels do not advertise the availability of ladies floor/room and they give them out according to their own wishes. So courtesy and smiles at the reception counter can bring extra rewards... other than having the room you requested (non-smoking, quiet, bright with windows) within 5 minutes
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