The New Rule of Travel: Go Solo

Everyone should travel solo at least once in their life. Here’s why.

The New Rule of Travel: Go Solo


Jake Stangel

While on maternity leave last year, I started thinking about solo travel. (I recognize the irony that I chose the moment I surrendered my solitude to reflect fondly on the trips that had afforded me freedom and autonomy—my favorite parts of traveling on my own.)

I adore having a toddler, but ask any new parent about alone time and you’ll get nothing but a long, loud chuckle in response.

I thought back to my trips to Oaxaca and Mexico City after college, and to Paris when I was weighing a job and a relationship. At the time, I took my solitude
for granted, not anticipating that later, when my only solo trips would be for business, I would look back wistfully on those precious weeks when my time was truly mine.

When I returned from leave, I floated the idea of creating an issue of AFAR devoted to solo travel, and I was heartened to hear our staff was all for it. I talked to industry execs and learned that solo travel is indeed on the rise. Many outfitters and cruise lines are waiving solo supplements (extra fees tacked onto trips for those not sharing a room) in expectation of growth in the sector.

Whether you’re a millennial new to the work force, a boomer dealing with a high-pressure job, or a veteran traveler whose friends aren’t up for big trips anymore, chances are a solo trip will do you good. Going it alone can help you clear your mind and get outside your comfort zone and maybe even make a new friend (for an unconventional twist on that, see “Pay Pal”). Our goal with “The World Is Yours” is to inspire you to get out there on your own, to a destination 50 miles from home or 5,000.

As for me, I’m planning a family trip to Switzerland, Denmark, and Sweden this spring. Alone time? I’m promising myself a few hours of quietude while wandering the galleries of the Louisiana Museum outside Copenhagen. Anything longer may have to wait for 17 years or so.

Julia Cosgrove is vice president and editor in chief of AFAR, the critically acclaimed travel media brand that makes a positive impact on the world through high-quality storytelling that inspires, enriches, and empowers travelers who care. Julia lives in Berkeley, California.
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