Ever wanted to just go somewhere but instantly settled for not going for the simple fact that you knew none of your crew would or could venture out with you? Whether for lack of funds or lack of interest, you knew not to even ask and just like that your travel dreams came to an immediate halt.
As a lover of travel, I’m certainly guilty of casting my own adventurous desires to the side for these same reasons. In fact, this used to happen much too often. But why? Why do we let others dictate our decisions, hinder our spontaneity, and impede our travel ambitions more often than not? Why do our travel plans rely so heavily on others? Consider yourself in this. Guilty? You might not even have realized it.
Maybe it’s a matter of safety in numbers or splitting up the costs so that it’s a more economical trip for everyone. Or perhaps it’s simply because you wouldn’t be caught dead pub hopping in London without your bestie or you can’t fathom the thought of enjoying a new city without your family in tow. Travelers Whitney Hammons and Anitra Thomas of Atlanta, say they’ve never even considered the idea of traveling without someone. Family or friends were always involved in travel plans. Whatever reasoning/logic we use to justify it, at the end of it all, we’re simply settling. And settling in this way is not fair to you or to the world that awaits. In the more recent years, there’s been an upward trend where travel seekers are simply abandoning old thought and launching full speed ahead in satisfying their wanderlust desires. As an
In the more recent years, there’s been an upward trend where travel seekers are simply abandoning old thought and launching full speed ahead in satisfying their wanderlust desires. As an Airbnb host, I’ve seen this first hand. 60% of my guests are solo travelers; mostly women. I went back and asked some of my past guests what spurs them to venture out alone. These ladies and other solo travelers are breaking away and throwing caution to the wind.
Time doesn’t stop Jelisa Nicole from Chicago says, “I got tired of waiting on people. People commit then cancel.” With the hustle and bustle of life, who has time for missed opportunities? Sometimes we are limited in our own schedules and have to take advantage when opportunity strikes. Limitations like expiring PTO, trying to catch a specific holiday celebration or event unique to a destination, and life in general, mean you simply cannot wait.
Too many good travel deals With the onslaught of deal boasting travel apps and websites like Hotel Tonight and Trivago, there’s always a good travel deal to be had. If you can be flexible with your dates and even your destination spot, you can catch a real bargain that would be a shame to miss. Simone Simms from New York says her go-to travel tools are the Skyscanner app and Orbitz. She comments that sometimes the deals are just too good to pass up, remarking how she recently booked a super cheap domestic flight from NY to Atlanta for almost nothing.
Travel groups are a big thing now In addition to travel apps, social travel groups like Nomadness Travel Tribe, Up in the Air Life, and Travel Noire have come on the scene and completely changed the travel game. “Now, instead of you having to rely on and wait for your own crew to get ready, you can travel solo to a destination and have a group of equally “ready to go” co-travelers waiting to meet and take on a new city with you,” says Che Allen of Chattanooga. Gone are the days of no longer having a travel buddy!
Capturing some much needed “Me” Time “Traveling solo is so liberating. You learn a lot about yourself during these trips,” says Patricia Clay of St. Louis. In fact, she’s gone solo dolo so many times she claims she’s not afraid to travel anywhere alone. Already, she’s been to Jamaica, Morocco, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, and Peru, unaccompanied by anyone. She actually began her solo travel adventures by trying out a few of the travel groups but found herself breaking away from those groups to explore independently on her own, claiming she enjoyed the freedom. At this point, she’s a solo travel pro and has plans for many more solo travel trips throughout the year.
Nothing to fear Some travelers like Aquilla Reed of Atlanta and Raquel Helm of Houston, who only travel with friends or family, say they don’t go it alone for the fear of what dangers an unfamiliar place can present. Being detained somewhere without support would be the worst, says Helm. However, it’s good to understand and keep in mind that just about any place you go these days has security measures in place for tourists. Organizations like the US Department of State keep us totally abreast of developing dangers internationally as well as provides tons of helpful resources for all travelers. Of course, commonsense is sometimes your best resource. In any case, with travel being a billion dollar a year industry, you can rest assured that there are hundreds of thousands of solo travelers out there doing it and living to tell about it. Don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back.
Have travel goals of your own, but have yet to act on them? Just do it.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to experience solo travel, it’s surely something you might consider for yourself, especially if there’s someplace you’ve been dying to visit. TRIP WITH SHAN™ (@TRIPwithSHAN), an international, Atlanta-based, boutique travel agency, whose tagline is “taking you beyond the resort” and whose mission is to provide its clients affordable, authentic travel experiences, has organized three perfectly curated travel opportunities for all levels of travelers; both the experienced solo traveler and those new to the idea. The agency is hosting 5 and 10-day People-to-People tours to Cuba, throughout 2017, with the first one commencing in March. This would be an ideal time for you to get your feet wet if you’re up for some adventure. These tours will allow you to mingle with others travelers in the group while also allowing you freedom to do some exploring on your own if you’d like. For more information or to reserve your spot on one of the tours, you can fill out this quick and easy TRIP PLANNER form. Come experience a culture rich in art and history, while meeting others also checking off their travel goals for 2017!
Shan Stevenson (@shanna.stevenson) (main image) is an entrepreneur, writer, travel enthusiast, travel agent, and an Airbnb Superhost who currently lives in the Dominican Republic where she is perfecting her Spanglish (Spanish & English) and runs her International Boutique Travel Agency, TRIP WITH SHAN™ (@TRIPwithSHAN).