Solo Travel for Women. Is it actually good for your health? We think so.
Traveling alone for some may be a daunting thought. Visions of your plane landing with no one to greet you at the gate make you shiver, or the thought of having dinner solo could set you into a potential, panic attack.
Some experts claim that travel may actually be beneficial to your health, including a boost to your immune system (from being exposed to different environments), lowers stress and taking regular vacations may reduce your risk of heart problems.
With a growing number of empty nesters, solo vacationing among women is becoming more mainstream and with a little homework, you may not want to travel any other way.
Here are a few thoughts on going solo:
- Have a Sense of Purpose – Build your trip around one activity or event. When traveling alone, I usually have a goal in mind. An architectural tour in Barcelona, a photography class in Siena, or a wine tasting in Napa, there are number ideas to build a trip around.
- All About You – The good news about traveling solo is that you can do anything YOU want to do. When in another country, I’m not compelled to see every single sight. Many times I will just soak in a day of people watching or spend a few hours in the local grocery store.
- Do Your Homework – Being prepared is important to any successful vacation.
- Solo Surcharges – You would think that it would be less expensive traveling alone. Not always. Single travel supplements for accommodation can impact your budget so ask before you book.
- Table for One – When making a restaurant reservation, tell the manager your seating preference. The first time I dined alone was at the fabulous Wolseley restaurant in London. When I arrived, the manager first ushered me to a remote table near the kitchen thinking I would feel more comfortable away from the crowd. With my heart pounding, I asked to sit smack in the middle of the dining room. Not only did I have the best time watching people but I also felt empowered. Now, I never even think twice about dining by myself.
- Safety – Traveling alone just means being more prepared and more aware of your surroundings. At night, go to established and recommended places. Hire a taxi from the hotel or get recommendations from your travel advisor. Find out before hopping into any car you think is a taxi. Learn about health concerns for particular countries and travel with a small first aid kit. The U.S. Government posts regular alerts for U.S. tourists traveling to different countries.
- Reach Out – Connect with friends and family during your trip. I regularly text a friend when I’m on trips to let someone know what I’m doing.
Activities gaining popularity among independent women travelers are walking and biking trips. You don’t have to be in Olympic shape to participate. Butterfield & Robinson offers organized walking and biking tours throughout the world. Highlights of a tour in Provence, for example, include biking through the picturesque town of St-Rémy with a chance to visit its weekly market and the pastoral landscapes of Van Gogh.
Or consider Tuscany where you can bike through the Val di Chiana to the famed Avignonesi wine estate, tour Cortona with a local artist, bike through olive groves, scenic farmland and past hillside towns to Montepulciano, Enjoy a wine tasting with an award-winning oenologist, enjoy a guided walk through Siena with an art historian and then learn how to make the perfect pizza.
SmarterTravel.com recently featured a list of the best and worst places for women to vacation alone. Some of the best places for solo travel for women included Ireland, Amsterdam and Costa Rica. Places to use extreme caution traveling alone included Russia, Mediterranean Coast and Latin America to name a few, as well as larger cities in the U.S.
Looking for practical tips, see this short video from a young woman who’s been solo traveling for almost a decade:
Get out of your zip code and take a solo journey made just for you. It will give you an incredible sense of freedom and renewed energy.
Explore unbeaten paths, meet someone new, and learn and see something in a whole new way.
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Featured Image Credit: Photo by Steven Lewis