I was excited and nervous as I entered the Japanese restaurant aboard my cruise ship. Because I was by myself and it was an intimate experience—with the chef performing knife tricks while whipping up delightful food and jokes—I was a bit shy around others at my table.
But then I met Lori and Mary, both on a girlfriends’ getaway. We chatted during the two-hour dinner and continued to hang out for the rest of the cruise—meeting up for a jazz concert and other meals. I felt just as satisfied connecting with these strangers as I did tackling new adventures by myself.
That’s the beauty of traveling solo: You can meet and enjoy other people, but you have complete freedom to choose where to go, what to see and when to see it. Whether you’re seeking solitude, aiming for self-discovery, looking to meet new people or just taking a short break from family, traveling alone could be just what you need. Here are my solo travel tips.
Be true to your wants
What are your expectations for your trip, and what do you want to get out of it? If you’re looking to meet people, seek out a destination known for its social culture—where it’s easy to strike up conversations with the locals—or tag along with a tour group. Want to take a cooking class from a chef at a AAA Diamond restaurant? Pick a destination known for its culinary charm. Being clear about what you want makes it easier for you to travel on your terms and find a location and activities that suit you.
I enjoy both social and solitary activities, and my solo Caribbean cruise allowed me to embrace both. I loved lounging by myself on Blue Lagoon Island in the Bahamas, but I also mingled with fellow travelers at the silent dance party. (Each partygoer wore a headset with its own playlist and danced—literally—to their own beat!)