As someone who cringed at traveling alone to foreign lands, my recent solo travel to Europe was…revealing to me.
I went to 4 major cities – Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, and Rome – and my trip was as good as I could imagine. No hassles, no issues, even though I hopped from one place to another in the dead of the night and very early in the morning, 2 occasions for each.
I was not the type for couchsurfing, or frugal backpacking. Not because I was not a budget tourist which I was, but because at my age (I’m 55+) I wanted a bit of privacy wherever I stayed.
So, on a major trip like this I was anxious, I must admit, that I might not contain my costs. And the other worry was about keeping well given that I already had a few health issues.
Fortunately, I planned my trip well (will cover more on this in later posts). And that meant my costs were within budget, and things were close to what I’d expected.
Here are a few advantages I enjoyed for traveling solo.
- I could see places at a leisurely pace or as fast as I wanted. There was no pressure to go to must-see places. I didn’t climb Eiffel Tower in Paris but preferred to spend more than an hour at the base marveling at the tower, munching sandwich, watching people.
- Not being part of a tour group is a boon in some ways. To give one example, in the historic Louvre Museum or Musée du Louvre, one felt sorry for the few who wanted to linger at exhibits, but had to hurry off as the group leader had already moved to other room.
- On the other hand, I made no attempt to cover the world’s largest museum inch by inch. Instead, aided by audio guide, selectively saw the masterpieces as I wanted. And yet had time to enjoy a light meal at the museum’s cafeteria.
- For us Indians, not having ‘my’ kind of food, eating pork or beef, or drinking alcohol trouble a lot of people. With no one to ‘guide’ me I happily sustained with whatever food I wanted to have.
Science Says Traveling Alone Is Best
If you wish to travel alone it could be that planning your trip is easier since, as pointed out above, you do not defer to other people’s preferences.
These motivations may suggest that people are traveling alone for purely selfish reasons.
However, in a study of solo travelers in Australia, Constanza Bianchi, a professor from Queensland University of Technology’s Business School, found that the outcome of a solo trip can wind up having much more meaning than that.
Bianchi concluded as such:
Solo travel helps you get a better sense of how you function as a human.
Rise in Solo Sojourners
According to 2015 Visa Global Travel Intentions Study conducted by a leading market research organization, solo travel for first-time travelers has more than doubled in just 2 years (2013 to 2015) from 16 to 37 percent.
Some companies like the Grand Circle Cruise Line specialize in providing free roommate matching service in their cruises worldwide.
More Women Travel Solo as Do Seniors
A study indicates that solo travelling is most popular with women.
It reveals that 58.3 percent of single travelers were females. When broken down by holiday type, those figures surprisingly rise for more active trips including walking holidays (64 percent) and African safaris (60 percent).
Not to be outdone, even senior citizens are venturing out solo. At 55+ I’m an old-age first-time solo traveler, but trends indicate that more and more of my age travel solo these days. They obviously enjoy their trips like I did, which is why they clamor for more trips as singles.
What ‘bout You?
Are you 50+, single, and yearning for trips abroad?
Well, be assured you’ve great company of countless solo travelers worldwide, a large number of them being senior citizens.