Traveling alone can be quite intimidating for most people. For most a lot of that intimidation has to do with the unknown of trying something new without a travel partner standing by you for when you don’t have or know the answers to what’s next while discovering a destination that’s new to you.
To help ease your curiosity of Solo Travel once a month we choose one Brave Solo Traveler to answer a few questions and give recommendations about Solo Traveling based on their personal Solo Travel experience.
Hey! I’m Annette, the author of the book Bucket List Adventures, the co-owner of Sugo Trattoria, a serial adventurer and creator of the award-winning travel blog, Bucket List Journey. Phew! That’s a mouthful. As an obsessed new experience collector, my passion is for checking the world off my bucket list one adventure at a time.
My imagination will take me someplace different every day, if not hour. It may be taking me through the icebergs of Antarctica or gorilla trekking in Uganda. There are so many incredible places to explore in the world it changes rapidly.
I’ve always loved to do solo day-trips to places I’ve never been to before that were within an hour or two drive from my home. These short excursions helped to build my confidence to travel further and further from home.
There are many factors that assist in deciding where I will be going to next. Sometimes it is a discount flight that decides for me or a bucket list worthy attraction in the location, and sometimes it’s a special event that is happening in a certain part of the world during the time I want to travel. With that said, at this point in my travel career, many of my decisions are based on opportunities that are presented through partnerships with companies and destinations.
My first solo trip was to Africa and I was terrified! I had to overcome what seemed like a thousand fears to make it happen: getting multiple vaccinations, flying over twenty hours, traveling alone, meeting new people, being in such a foreign land, etc. But, if I hadn’t forced my self to say “yes”, I would have missed out on a completely surreal experience of sleeping in a tent in Serengeti, being in a jeep surrounded by wildlife, visiting a Maasai tribe and spending the afternoon at an orphanage. Plus, as I continued to step out of my comfort zone, my confidence built and solo travel became less scary
I have been fortunate to travel to some pretty incredible places around the world. Some of my favorites are the Galapagos Islands for the wildlife, Switzerland for the green rolling hills and Jordan’s stunning UNESCO Wadi Rum desert. But, there is one place that I can never get enough of because of the endless exploration opportunities. Tokyo can not ever get boring. While there I ate beef that was creatively shaped like a brain, served to me inside of my private jail cell by women dressed in pink nurses’ outfits. I drank my coffee next to a dozen felines at a quirky cat café, confirming my preference for dogs. And I found out exactly what all the buttons on the Japanese toilet do (enjoying some outcomes much more than others).
There are not many places that can provide such peculiar and unexpected forms of entertainment, but Tokyo is a city of many colorful facets; a mix of avant-garde and traditional. It is a town where the illuminated skyscrapers cohabitate with historic temples, unusual anime shops and cherry blossom lined streets. It is a destination where you can attend a lively tuna auction hours before daybreak, eat skewers of yakitori in the seedy Piss Alley or scramble across one of the biggest intersections in the world with hundreds of others. The variety of things to do and rich culture is what makes Tokyo fabulous.
I have so many fond memories of exploring Tokyo, but one of my favorites was going to the crazy Robot Restaurant Show. The quirky show will have you eating sushi out of a bento box while watching scantily clad girls ride twelve foot steel horses as live stuffed animals prance around the stage and music blared. I never saw anything like it!
I would go back to Tokyo any way I can get there, whether it be solo or with a travel companion. While traveling alone through the city I always felt safe and could easily navigate the subway system, so there’d be no reason for me to not go there again solo.
Definitely being able to make my own itinerary that includes only the things that I want to do. Plus, traveling solo encourages me to meet more people whether it be at an attraction or a restaurant.
For me the answer is different depending on the trip. I enjoy exploring small cities on my own, beach resorts with my husband and spa getaways with my girlfriends. With that said, I would never say no to traveling just because I didn’t have someone to go with me.
A definite pro to traveling solo is being able to set your own schedule and itinerary. You don’t need to wait for anyone or divert your plans to accommodate everyone’s tastes. The only negative for me that sometimes you experience something so incredible that you wish you could be sharing it with someone you love.
Don’t be afraid to start by taking baby steps. Your first solo trip doesn’t have to be something major halfway across the world, you can start small. The more you do it, the more your comfort zone will expand and soon you’ll be traveling around the world.
If you are wanting to start solo traveling with an international trip, think about picking something where English is the primary language (like England, Australia, Ireland). It’s a good way to get your feet wet with traveling alone overseas.