I didn't initially plan on going alone...
I had two days off work, and I knew I wanted to go somewhere. I'm the type of person who always welcomes a change of scenery. It helps me think, and it helps me put the whirlwind of things in my routine into perspective. I knew I wanted to go somewhere warm— somewhere with a beach and somewhere where shorts were appropriate attire. After weeks of trying to convince friends to go on this impulsive trip with me, I had no luck. The weekend was creeping closer, and I made the ultimate decision to go on my own!
Finding the perfect location
I had several requirements that would help me narrow down all the possible destinations:
- Hot and beachy
- Reasonably priced (plane tickets + accommodations)
- Scheduling feasibility
I used a combination of KAYAK (utilize the explore tab when brainstorming where to go!), Google Flights, and Expedia to look at my options. Those are my top sites, and I generally exclusively use these three for every trip planning process.
In terms of safety, it is super super important to make sure that the place you are planning to go is somewhere ideal for a single traveler. Being a young female, I was careful with my research and disregarded places that I knew may cause trouble when walking around solo. I'd say trust your instincts. If you aren't comfortable with the idea even before getting there, you most likely won't be when you do. I checked opinions on TripAdvisor and Reddit as well! Many have travelled solo before you, and there are lots of tips/advice online for you to utilize.
feeling like a loser
There is no need to feel like one!!! Despite the fact that there may be people mocking your decision to travel alone – such as suggesting you have no friends to go with, you're the one traveling the world while they're at home on Netflix. Most of the feedback I got during the trip were along the lines of "you're so brave!" or "That's awesome, I could never do that," which means, if you are serious about this, you're actually getting crazy gold stars.
Here are just some reasons why traveling alone appealed to me and have to many others:
- You can see, eat, sleep, and do whatever you want whenever you want
- Generally cheaper
- Meeting new friends!
- Time to truly leave your life back home for a couple days
Dipping my toes in the solo-ness
My trip was a total of four days with two half days reserved for travel. Traveling solo meant quite a bit of alone time, and I was really ready for that. I remember jumping on my bed after checking in, and feeling super free and happy. The possibilities were endless and it was incredible. I could take a nap right there, hog a bowl of fries to myself at the bar, or curl up reading on the beach till dinner.
It was only when it was time to get my first sit down meal did I feel a bit awkward. The thing about ClubMed is that the resort encourages guests to interact with one another. They have large dinner tables at the restaurant where multiple parties can sit down and get to know each other. I kept to myself the entire day, so I was nervous to see if I'd be okay striking up conversation with a group of strangers. Turns out I was worried for nothing, because it turned out completely fine! I met a couple that came for their honeymoon, and later that night partied with a group of recent Canadian grads.
Having so much time to relax without having to coordinate plans with someone else was therapeutic. Like I mentioned above, I had no one telling me they wanted to eat something else, or sleep for longer. It was a trip completely for myself. I learned that I prefer not to stay out too late, that day drinking under the sun isn't my thing, and that I was only okay waking up super early if it meant snorkeling. Traveling alone forces you to become more self-aware, and I feel like it's something everyone should try at least once.
again or no?
As much as I enjoyed having the freedom to do anything I wanted, there were definitely times where I missed having company. I watched a guy do a full face plant on the sand, and I really wish I had one of my best friends to share that moment with. Despite those short moments, I don't regret going alone at all. It was a much needed trip, and I wanted to experience what solo travel felt like. Would I do it again? Definitely. But, after I take some trips with some of my favorite people first ;)