According to the Wellness Tourism Association’s first wellness travel survey, a combined total of 47.15% of respondents like to “travel solo to meet up with the like-minded” and “travel solo” when asked with whom they would prefer to travel with on a wellness vacation.
Solo travel gives you an opportunity to really get to know yourself. When you only have yourself to please, it is easy to ensure your complete satisfaction. I started travelling by myself only a few years ago and now I make it a priority to go somewhere new, at least for a couple of days, by myself every year. I’ve found my strength in recognizing what I actually want to do and am brave enough to make those experiences happen.
If you are an experienced solo traveler, you might already be familiar with some of these tips. If you have never taken a trip without a companion or group, these are my favorite things to focus on when I’m off adventuring on my own.
When you start to plan your solo vacation, narrow down the top three objectives that you want to get out of your trip and then start searching for your match. Is it good food and wine, is it culture and art, is it nature and wilderness? What do you need in your life at this time?
The trips that I take by myself are usually to a place that draws other people interested in the activities that I like to do on vacation. I search out places where it is safe to hike alone on trails that are rated at my comfort level. Places that have a local yoga studio and a class schedule that matches my itinerary. I also search for gluten free food options since I have Celiac Disease.
Be Open to Conversations
With the majority of the world’s population living in large urban centers, it is our natural tendency to avoid making eye-contact and not engaging in conversations with strangers. I try to throw all of this out the window when I travel by myself.
The best conversations I have had are with people sitting next to me on a plane, on a bar stool, on a ferry, at a trail juncture. This past June, I woke up from a post-hike nap and considered just staying in for the evening, but I got up and went to the local pub in a tiny village in Ireland, where I proceeded to have an incredible night meeting a variety of new people. I even ended up singing back-up when the local musicians started their jam session! It takes a little more gumption, but the effort of smiling and making eye contact with the people around you will invariably pay off with an interesting conversation or connection.
The world needs more personal connections these days and you can be the initiator when you are a solo traveler.
The BEST part of travelling by yourself is being able to do exactly what you would like to do, when you would like to do it and how you would like to do it! This is your chance to listen to what your body is craving. Do you need a massage or soak in a mineral pool? Do you need an early lunch from a food cart so you can keep exploring? Do you need to be on a budget or can you indulge? If your life is usually full with other people, it might take you a little bit to be able to tune into what you actually want and not just what is best for your spouse, children, friends.
As you get ready for your vacation, I recommend keeping a journal. Make quick notes about all of the things that you would like to do and even things you don’t want to waste your precious time on. Then, when you arrive, you have a general schedule for what you really want to see and do. Being sure to leave time for the unexpected, solo travel is unique in that you can change plans on the fly because it is just you to accommodate. If you want to do something that isn’t on the schedule, just go do it.
Our loved-ones and friends are amazing travel companions, but occasionally it is a treat to go it alone and spend time with the most important person in your life – yourself! We host wellness retreats on a variety of topics in February, March, April, October and November and have found that 80% of our attendees come to these retreats solo. Wellness retreats are typically a very personal journey to discover old patterns in your life that no longer serve you and how to embrace new habits that will enable you to live your best life.
Participants choose us because of the unique retreat content and to be immersed in the beauty of Lake Louise, as well as to share a few days of learning with like-minded people. They arrive as strangers, but within hours, they are building bonds that last lifetimes.