5 Solo Travel Tips

As we head into fall, the cooler weather makes more than just the sap rise. It makes those travel feet really really itchy. There’s just no better time to take a trip or an excursion than during the fall. The kids are in school so the lines are short. The humidity is down, so the weather is pleasant. The summer travel rush is over, so travel deals are often abundant.

For those of you who enjoy exploring, now is the time to don a pair of comfortable walking shoes, pack a bag and head toward adventure. The only problem is picking the perfect partner to accompany you on the trip.

Finding the perfect travel buddy is often the most difficult part of travel planning. Think about it. When planning your perfect trip, not only do you have to plan accommodations and itineraries, but you also have to plan for someone else’s travel budget, personal needs and, let’s face it, annoying quirks. That’s why traveling alone is often the best way to travel.

I know what you’re thinking. Traveling alone? Who will be there to share the joys and follies of my trip? Who will navigate while I drive? Who will snap my photo in front of points of interest? Yes, those are all valid points, but, if the decision to take a trip rests on the shoulders of another person, it’s fairly likely you’ll never leave home.
Why leave the destiny of your itchy feet to someone else? Travel solo and you’ll never have to say—I didn’t take that trip because I couldn’t find anyone to go with me.

If you’ve never taken a solo trip, it can be a daunting endeavor. To ensure a fun solo adventure, here are five tips for solo travel:

  1. Plan a test trip. If you’ve never traveled alone, taking a long distance trip may be too daunting. For your first trip, plan a short visit to a neighboring city or town; see a movie or eat lunch at a restaurant. Build up your confidence for traveling solo.
  2. Rely on friends and family. Do you have friends or family members who live outside of your home town? Try taking a trip to visit them and then venturing out alone for the day to visit their city. Test the waters of solo travel by relying on them for advice on what to see and do while still having the experience of getting to do exactly what you please—all by yourself.
  3. Eat with the locals. Look for restaurants that include a bar area. You can usually find other singletons at the bar or you can talk to the bartender. More often than not, the folks at the bar may know of events in town or places to go that are off the beaten path.
  4. Think outside the box. Just because you’re planning a trip by yourself, doesn’t mean you have to travel far. Try going to a shop or art gallery in your own home town that you wouldn’t normally visit or take a weekend to schedule a class or activity outside of your “comfort zone.”
  5. Don’t forget local resources. Your local Convention and Visitors Bureau or Visitors Center always offers maps and brochures of the surrounding area. Ask for travel materials and plan a trip that will take you to a new place, but will still keep you close to home. Even better, plan to stay at a local bed and breakfast for the weekend to get out of the house and find some time to yourself without leaving town. (To find a list of B&Bs in Cape Girardeau, click here.)

At the end of the day, if you took a trip alone, no matter how far from home you strayed, consider yourself an adventurer. Then, prop those itchy feet up on the sofa and give yourself some much-needed R&R.

Capewoman, AKA Stephanie Lynch, is the Director of PR and Marketing for the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau and is a featured blogger on VisitMOBistro.com. You can also find her at theslynch.com and at http://www.semissourian.com/blogs/capeCVB.