Last year, to celebrate a job well done after a freelance contract ended, I made a bold personal decision to reward my efforts with something more meaningful than a boozy night out with friends — I booked my first solo trip, to Paris. I’m one of millions of Millennial women who are choosing to travel solo to far off destinations for fresh experiences over all-inclusive resorts with a few too many friends.
Solo travel is a rising trend with Millennial women for a few reasons: First, young women value customized, personalized products and experiences. We want to design our travel experiences to be exactly how we dream of them. The recent rise in solo travel for Millennial women is also being driven by our hunger for adventure. Unlike what movies like “Wild” and “Eat, Pray, Love” suggest, solo travel for women is more about adventure seeking than mending a broken heart.
Though solo travel for women is a rising trend, I remember more than a few people having reservations about my first trip. My family was encouraging and excited, but other women in my circle voiced concerns about my safety and wondered if I’d get bored or lonely. Aù contraire — I met a bunch of new friends and saw layers of Paris I maybe wouldn’t access if I stayed in my comfort zone. I thought it was silly to use fear of loneliness or boredom to prevent me from travelling solo abroad, especially if I could take multiple actions to prevent those things.
In fact, each of these 5 myths about solo travel should probably just disappear:
Myth 1: Solo trips are long journeys into the unknown
You don’t need to quit your job to hike the Pacific Crest Trail by yourself for months to successfully travel solo — we don’t need to be so profound. Just book a trip to Buenos Aires or Paris, or Dublin, for 6 days and then return to your life. At least for your first solo trip, choose a location that that feels somewhat familiar to your home city. It will help you to build your confidence so you can step further outside your comfort zone on your next trip, if you wish.
Myth 2: It can get boring
Um, no. You’re a human and you have every capability to sit at the bar in a café and strike up a conversation. When I was in Paris, I logged into Bumble and used the app to meet some new BFFs — a few of them even brought English-speaking friends to help the conversation along. Plus, you’ll be so alert and tuned into the sights and sounds that boredom will be virtually impossible to set in. Boredom isn’t a thing when you travel solo, stop worrying about it.
Myth 3: It is unsafe
It’s no more unsafe to walk around your home city alone than it is to walk around another city alone. Anything can happen anywhere, at any time but the media sensationalizes a lot of things, including danger, so just keep your wits about you and you’ll be fine. Can you imagine your 90-year old self looking back and saying, “I’m happy I didn’t book that trip, in case something ever happened. It was worth not experiencing that trip to Paris in my lifetime”? That will never happen, so book the trip.
Myth 4: Travelling alone isn’t fun
Travelling alone is definitely fun, it’s just a different kind of fun. You’ll connect with yourself again, and your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you have. You’ll relish the time to yourself and laugh quietly to yourself over your poor French. Feel proud of yourself for being courageous and achieving — solo travel is really great for your soul.
Myth 5: You don’t look cool if you travel alone
You know what doesn’t look cool? Relying on other people to feel proud and fulfilled, and happy. You certainly have friends, and you probably have a family, and they’ll be there when you get home. Besides, nobody is thinking about you, and that’s a great thing to know. Self-consciousness isn’t always bad but it is if it holds you back from experiencing life.
The whole world is waiting for you. Don’t let these 5 silly myths about solo travel hold you back from booking your next trip and experiencing adventure when you want to, exactly how you want to.