Last summer, I had the opportunity to travel to the beautiful island of Kauai to cover Kauai Fashion Weekend for the blog. While it was still "work", it was honestly one of the best trips I've ever taken -- and I did it completely solo. When I was out and about exploring the island or on my planned excursions, one of the most frequently asked questions I received from other visitors with so much surprise in their tone was, "wow...you traveled to Kauai alone?!"
Abso-freaking-lutely! Why NOT travel to such a relaxing, laid-back island alone? At first, I truly didn't know how to process this question...but after the umpteenth time, I let it marinate and realized that the idea of traveling solo especially to such an exotic destination really does shock some people. Of course, I do understand that all personalities are different and it may not be for everyone, but I'm sharing five reasons why you should give solo traveling a try:
1. You're Tired Of Waiting On Others
Have you ever had a group trip with a bunch of friends planned basically to completion, but at the very last minute some (or all) of them flake? It's now too late to cancel -- your flight has been booked for months, non-refundable deposits have already been made and, to make matters worse, you used your credit card to make some of those reservations in advance. This scenario can be both frustrating and highly disappointing because you now have to either scrap a trip that you've been looking forward to (and lose some money) or you're forced to go solo and foot more of the bill that you had planned.
Life or, in some cases, lack of planning do happen. Or perhaps your flexible schedule doesn't align with those of your friends and/or family. Maybe your dream destination isn't their dream destination making the trip not as high of a priority to them as it is for you. Either way, this can become a pretty played out game if it happens too often.
If you are constantly waiting for others in order to experience something that your heart desires, then you may never have the chance. Go on your own.
2. You Need Time To Chill (By Yourself)
When you are traveling with others, sometimes it can feel as though you need to constantly keep the itinerary exciting and entertaining for everyone else. Luckily, my friends are perfectly fine with just...being lazy for a day. *shrug*
Not only does solo traveling mean getting to sleep in when you want, but it means that you can slow it down a bit to explore and really enjoy your surroundings. If you want to stay in bed all day and watch TV, you can. If you want to sit on the beach for a few hours to meditate, you can. If you want to go on a total rush-free shopping spree, you can. You call all the shots.
Also, read Sarah Cummings of Sleep Advisor's guest blog post from last week on 3 ways to avoid stress while traveling.
3. Your Travel Goals Are Different
Traveling with friends/family with different interests (or personalities) can be either awesome or a nightmare. Finding the people you can actually vibe with can be difficult because you never really know for sure until you've had that experience, especially as a woman. From disagreeing personalities to mood swings, there are several things to take into account. Personally, I'm super picky about who I travel with...and while all of my adult traveling so far has been domestic, you definitely want to make sure you're not traveling abroad with someone crazy.
Perhaps you want to be Anthony Bourdain and explore a destination for absolutely everything it has to offer, or maybe you're feeling inspired by Andrew ZImmern and want to turn your trip into an episode of Bizarre Foods. Maybe you're a foodie, but you're traveling with super outdoorsy friends who aren't down to try tons of interesting, Instagram-worthy dishes. To avoid this altogether, you may decide that traveling solo is the best option until you find your perfect travel companions. You might also just appreciate the freedom of following your own dream itinerary. I mean...if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
When I travel, I typically love to get tons of scenic photos and capture beautiful, natural outdoor backdrops. My main goal in Kauai was stunning photography. On each excursion, I had my Canon with me and snapped to my heart's content. My helicopter tour and sail to the Na Pali Coast gave me the best photos. When I travel to Colorado, I always take at least one trip into the mountains whether with family/friends or solo. I'm also a HUGE foodie, so I'm going to hit up all the cool and unique spots worth visiting, long lines and all.
If you're not traveling solo, that's fine! But don't be afraid to do some activities on your own, too. Schedule time to break away from the group to get a spa treatment, go experience that landmark you've seen all over Instagram or check out that "boring" museum that fascinates you. Before your trip Be clear about your goals for your trip. I think it's important to collectively discuss your goals for a trip with whoever you're going with to figure out how you may be able to compromise and cross activities off of your lists together.
4. Get In Tune with Inspiration & Creativity
Aside from getting tons of rest, some of my most creative moment come when I travel. As someone who works from home and almost 100% remotely, changing up the scenery is essential for me even when I'm in my hometown. I'll travel to a different Starbucks just to be in a new space. Sometimes our typical surroundings can allow our everyday lives to get...a little stale. Not that there's anything wrong with our usual routines, but it definitely helps to switch up every once in awhile. There's something about being in a new place with different experiences that just sparks creativity and brings new perspective on things. When I'm traveling solo, I can really take everything in that a destination has to offer without the distraction of other people. I can think more clearly and ideas come easily. Plus, I can work from my hotel bed in the AM and poolside in the PM if I want to. Work doesn't seem so bad when you're on a plush lounge chair with a Mai Tai, does it?