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Traveling Alone Over the Holidays

For most of us, December is a time of holiday parties, dinners with friends, vacations, and trips home to see family. But the season can bring occasional stress along with the traditions and festivities, because full calendars leave little time for self reflection. With so much going on, this time of year is probably the least likely time you’d be expecting to travel independently, or go anywhere alone. But – why not?

Sarah is taking a step out of the norm and considering flying solo, quite literally.

April, I’m not very close to my family and won’t be seeing them over the holidays. But I’m in desperate need of a getaway and would love to plan a trip this month. It’s going to be the only time this year I’ll be able to leave work for more than a few days. The only problem is that all of my friends are busy with family holiday obligations. Do you have any advice for a woman traveling on her own? Is it a good idea, or will I feel even more lonely than I do right now? Thanks in advance for your insights.

Brave Sarah, there’s nothing wrong with going somewhere alone! In fact, it can actually a truly rewarding and fulfilling experience if you have the right mindset ahead of time. If a trip is what you need, my advice is to go on an adventure and have a fabulous time. If you wait for friends to get on board, you might be waiting for a really long time, and missing out on living your life.

Here are three things to consider:

1. Choose a Busy/Fun Hotel or Resort

You’ll want to book a hotel or location where you won’t be surrounded by overly amorous couples kissing by candlelight. That alone would make anyone feel extra single with a side of loneliness, so don’t put yourself in that position. This time of year, you’re not going get completely away from couples and families traveling, so choose wisely. Find a location where there’s a lot of activity, good people watching, and you’re able to do as much as possible on the property. Dinners, drinks, spa treatments, sports, live music. This is also the safest way to travel so you won’t be hailing cabs or walking alone after dark.

2. Make Friends

You’re bold and brave enough to go solo, so embrace it! The worst thing you can do to yourself is hide in your room while you’re away. The best way to meet new people is to have your dinner at the bar instead of your lonely table for one. If there are group activities, ask to be the number 3. What I mean by that is singles tend to stay away from married people, but they happen to be your best ally when you’re solo. Typically married folks want everyone else to be in love, so be sure to include them in your conversations. Let trustworthy people know you’re traveling independently since all your friends were booked, and that you’d like to be included. You’ll be surprised how many people will welcome you. Before you know it, you’ll have a whole new set of friends for your trips next year!

3. Be Safe (Do Your Research and Take Precautions)

For women traveling alone, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your safety. For example, let key members of the hotel management know you’re there by yourself. Not only is this a great way to make contacts, but you’ll have extra eyes and ears on you just in case of an emergency. Be sure to tell more than one member of the senior staff, and be sure to let desk people know where you’re going when you head out, and what time you expect to return.

There’s plenty of great information available online about how to be safe when traveling alone. I particularly like this safe travel guide. It’s written by the Consular in Canada, so it’s not very pretty, but it’s full of really useful tips for women from North America traveling anywhere in the world. Being prepared is the best way to know you can relax and enjoy yourself while traveling, whether you’re going two towns over, or to Cabo or Dubai.

Sarah, I applaud you for making this commitment to yourself. Some of my favorite journeys have been completely on my own. Whether it’s been checking myself into a hotel to write for a weekend or driving up the coast making stops along the way. You don’t have to go very far. Just 45 minutes away from home for a little staycation can refresh you and help you feel like you’ve changed your routine. I’d love to see more women taking time for themselves and not waiting on friends to take a much needed trip.

Now it’s your turn. I’d love to read about trips you’ve taken solo, where you went and what you learned about yourself in the process. Was it scary? Rewarding? Would you do it again? And, did you perhaps have a better time than you would have if your friends had joined you?

Let’s discuss!

Safe and happy travels this season everyone. I’ll be doing the same for myself after the first of the year and will let you know where I decide to go!

Much love,
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