Solo travel at its best is deliciously self-indulgent: eat whatever and whenever you want, spend as long or as little as you like in a place, skip famous sights, sign up for the super cheesy. It’s a time where the only compromises you have to make are with yourself. People traveling by themselves will find they are, in some cases, pushing themselves a little harder, in others, giving themselves a little more slack. Travel + Leisure’s editors and contributors travel solo often, by chance and by design, and know the best tips and tricks for social butterflies and shrinking violets alike.
It’s not only the pace of solo travel that differs so greatly from journeys with a companion or large group. People traveling alone must also do the work that might otherwise have been shared: planning the trip, remembering the hotel room key, keeping track of addresses and hours, rescheduling when circumstances change. But for all the extra effort, there’s no one to disappoint if you get something wrong. You are on vacation—forgive yourself. Take a nap. Order a midday ice cream.
Those who travel alone often make themselves more available for local discovery and connection. Sometimes it’s intentional, other times it isn’t. By yourself, you may be more likely to try out those rusty language skills or strike up a conversation with a stranger. You’ll be surprised who you may meet. Exchange English-language novels with a Welsh couple staying in the same Corfu campground. Share a meal in Athens with woman traveling from Korea and communicate by hand gestures and smiles: neither of you speaks the other's, nor the local, language. Try something new.
Whether you are imagining an ambitious journey in a new social context or a relaxing getaway in solitude, T+L can help you plan your solo travel.