What's it like traveling alone?
You're by yourself? This is a question I get asked a lot while I'm on my travels. Whether it's being the third wheel on a tour or requesting a table for one, people are always seem surprised to hear that I'm traveling by myself. While I admit, it can be a bit lonely at times, and there are things that I'm not always comfortable doing on my own due to safety concerns, I really do enjoy traveling alone. I get to do whatever I want whenever I want, and I can't imagine a better way to vacation.
I've found that cruises can be a great and safe way to travel solo, although solo travelers are often required to pay a supplement as cruise lines structure their pricing for a minimum of two in most cabins. Sailings with reduced or no solo supplements can be found with some searching.
On some of their ships, Norwegian Cruise Lines offer what they call their Studio Cabins, which are meant and priced for solo travelers. They are small, interior rooms, but are well appointed and have everything you need. They also have a Studio Lounge where you can get coffee and snacks and where they hold a nightly meet up of solo travelers who may want to dine together as a group.
I have been on four Norwegian cruises so far, and my experiences with these nightly meet ups have varied by the cruise. I always try to at least attend on the first night to get a feel for the group, and then go from there. Some cruises, the first night was all I attended. Others, I've met up with other solo travelers each night, often going from dinner to the bars with a group of new friends.
When on cruises, I also typically stick with excursions through the cruise line. This helps me feel a little safer and provides some insurance that I won't be left behind in a foreign country if the excursion gets delayed and we literally miss the boat. I find the excursions can also be a great way to meet new people and get in a little socialization.
Whether on a cruise or not, dining alone does take some getting used to. I don't always feel completely confident in doing so, but I decided years ago that life was too short to wait for someone to travel with. I would rather deal with the awkwardness of asking for a table for one than to miss out on experiences.
I would rather people not ask that question, "are you by yourself?", but when I tell them that I am, I honestly think they are a little envious of the peacefulness of traveling alone and not having to consider the needs or wants of another person when making plans.