Popular culture may lead you to believe that the holidays are the worst time of the year to be single. From romantic comedies to songs to magazine how-tos on finding a significant other in time for Christmas, it seems no one wants to be alone during December.
However, the holidays are actually a great time to be single. You can schedule your Christmastime activities all on your own, which means you can jet off and do whatever you want while you’re off of work this month. And you’ll be better for it: there are about a million ways that travel makes us better, and you’ll give yourself that gift this year. There’s not much better than that.
So, all you need to do now is decide where you’re going and how you’ll do it. To help with the latter, here are four tips for travelling solo that’ll make your journey even easier and more memorable than it will be — no significant other necessary, thank you very much.
1. Research Your Lodgings Well
For many solo travellers, the whole point of a hostel is to meet other solo travellers, buddy up and see the sights. You’ll likely meet people from other cities and countries and share once-in-a-lifetime experiences with them — and, to think, they were all strangers before you arrived for your trip.
In order to find a social lodging that allows you to do this on your next solo vacation, be sure to research your hostel options well. Find a place with overwhelmingly positive reviews, and be sure to make sure people mention that social aspect of the place in said reviews. Many times, if the hostel makes an effort to connect guests through dinners, tours, drinks, etc., that will be included in reviews — and that will be good information for you to know before you book.
On the other hand, you may want to travel solo and spend your time with only you. That’s also a respectable decision and one that should factor into your lodging research, too. You might be better off finding an Airbnb or hotel room where you’ll have the privacy you seek. Again, make sure that the place you stay is quiet, safe and private, just as you want it to be.
2. Think Outside of the Travel Box
Your travel plans might take you on a more traditional route, of course: if you dream of Paris at Christmastime, for example, then hopping on a plane and staying in the city is probably the best plan of action for you. But not every travel plan has to take you from point A to point B in the most linear way. You can use your solo travel time to explore other methods of transportation and out-of-the-box lodgings, too.
For example, booking a solo room aboard a cruise ship will envelop you in luxurious surrounds, make dining easy, connect you with relaxing or exciting activities and take you to port cities that you can explore. You can also plan a train-based trip so that you can admire the landscape as you make your way from city to city. Train travel is much more efficient than air travel in some places, too.
Your unique plans might also affect where you stay on your solo trip. Rather than a traditional hostel or hotel, you could head to a spa-style resort or a wellness retreat. Yoga-centric getaways help you to re-centre and reconnect with the practice — and you’ll feel amazing in the end. Even a solo foray into nature for hiking and camping is a cleansing, learning experience for some. Figure out what you want and do that, no matter how “weird” it is. This is your trip, after all.
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3. Stay In Touch With the Home Front
It’s easy to get carried away while you’re travelling, forget to pick up the phone and thus fail to update your loved ones on your location, your experiences and your enjoyment of your trip. But keeping up with family and friends is a must for their peace of mind and for your own safety.
There are plenty of safety tips for women who travel alone, but simply keeping others abreast of your plans and your continued success in those plans is one of the most important. In a similar vein, you should register your travel plans with the U.S. Department of State so you can receive any safety updates in the country where you’re visiting or at home.
And, of course, talking to and texting with loved ones can help you get over any sort of loneliness or homesickness you feel while travelling alone. This probably won’t be a problem on a short holiday jaunt, but communication with the people you hold dear is vital on longer solo trips when you occasionally feel less-than-stellar.
4. Stay True to Yourself
The above tips are all helpful, but the most important note of all is that this is your vacation. The beauty of solo travel is that you get to decide what you want to do and when you want to do it. Let your own dreams and preferences guide your planning. Go to the places you’ve always wanted to see. Push your limits and try something new.
In the end, you’ll give yourself the best gift of all this holiday season: the gift of adventure, self-discovery and memories to last a lifetime. Solo travel is so rewarding, and you’ll be happy you went — no partner necessary.