One of the items on my Thirty Before 30 List I wanted to check off this year was taking a solo trip. Traveling to a new destination all by myself…and y’all, I did it.
To be honest, I still can’t believe it. It was definitely one of those things that had me feeling nervous and completely unsure of what to expect before I took off. Would I feel lonely? Would I look like a loser? Would I get bored? Well, let me tell you, my experience was the complete opposite of all of those things.
Before I dive into the trip itself, let me give you some background.
I’ve always wanted to travel alone, at least once. I’m that girl that loves to go out to eat or to the movies solo but I was always apprehensive about hopping on a plane and going to another country by myself. I’ve traveled for work (in the States) but that just isn’t really the same. Without really getting into the details, I’ve been put through the ringer in my personal life over the past few weeks and I desperately was in need of a true vacation. A trip where I wouldn’t have to worry about work, capturing content for the blog, keeping up with Instagram or emails, etc. To be honest, I hadn’t taken a true vacation like that since I started blogging almost six years ago and that is pure craziness.
So, while I was on my flight to Italy (again, an awesome trip but 100% work), I decided to book myself a mini getaway to Jamaica. It was probably the most impulsive thing I’ve ever done, booking a trip one week out. It wasn’t cost effective. It wasn’t well thought out. I had no idea what the weather in Jamaica would be. BUT, I have never been, I found a great all-inclusive resort and Delta hooked me up with first-class upgraded seats so it all worked out.
What I learned.
I’ll dive into the life-changing trip that was The Immersion next week but my first ever solo trip proved to be extremely rewarding in all the right ways.
I left my phone in the room, deleted Instagram from my phone and brought along a few books to read by the beach. I woke up when I felt like waking up. I went to the gym when I felt like I needed a good sweat sesh. I drank fruity drinks by the pool and indulged in all the jerk chicken I could eat. I met new friends, danced the night away, sat by the ocean until 2:00 am, partied on a boat with complete strangers…I did so many things for me. And it felt amazing.
What I learned was the beauty in being alone but not being lonely.
It’s okay to take time for yourself. It’s okay to be alone. I feel like society puts this negative connotation on being by yourself. Whether it’s in regards to a relationship, eating out or going on vacation, there just seems to be this strange view that women shouldn’t be by themselves. The looks I got, the questions people asked…you would have thought I was the only person to go on a vacation solo and I know for a fact I’m not. But it reinforced the fact that it’s not the norm for women. It felt really good to have alone time and to challenge myself to be OK with being alone. To make connections with people without relying on a fellow-social butterfly. To be comfortable with sitting at a bar without my phone to distract me. To open myself up to being approached by strangers (in a safe setting), and making new friends.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to only travel solo from now on. I love experiencing new places with friends and the people I love. But, there is definitely something special about experiencing a new place or even a place you’ve visited before when it’s just you and that’s something I plan on doing way more often.
So now you wanna go, right?
I highly encourage every single person reading this post to make plans for taking a solo trip. Somewhere, anywhere, an overnight stay in your city, a long getaway across the world…just got for it. I’m no pro when it comes to solo traveling but I thought I’d share some of the biggest tips & takeaways I gathered from my first trip in the hopes of helping the next solo traveler.
- GO WITH AN ALL INCLUSIVE: I have to admit, this was a first for me and I probably wouldn’t always stay at an all-inclusive but for a first solo trip I think this is the best way to go. You’ve got all of your restaurants, activities, drinks, etc. all on one property. It’s like summer camp for adults. I went with an adults only resort and also triple checked reviews for safety and quality. I wouldn’t have done my first solo adventure any other way. I felt safe the entire time, was able to score my tropical cocktails without bringing my credit card or money to the pool, I could eat at any time without having to make arrangements to leave the property and was able to walk safely back to my room after dancing at one of the lounges on-site. They also arranged off-property tours and activities if that was your thing and you go with other hotel guests. It was the perfect place to get away.
- LEAVE YOUR PHONE IN THE ROOM: I can’t stress this enough. If you’re looking to truly unplug and break away from your comfort zone, leave your phone in the room. Whether you’re going to the pool or beach, heading out for dinner & a glass of wine or just want to relax on the balcony with a good book, leave your phone behind. You’d be surprised at how much you rely on your phone for entertainment when you’re alone. Not having it forces you to be present in the moment, engage with the people sitting next to you and also be more approachable and open to trying to new things. If I got bored reading a book, instead of scrolling through IG or my email, I tried paddleboarding or dancing by the pool with some friends I met. Disclaimer: if you’re leaving the property, I’d take your phone with you for safety reasons…obviously. And don’t forget to check in with your mom every night so she doesn’t worry. They can get a little crazy.
- DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Use your trip for what you need. If you need to relax and catch up on sleep and me time, do that. If you’re looking for adventure, do that. But whatever your goal is, try to mix things up a little bit at some point during your trip. For me, my main goal was to truly unplug and just relax. I’m always on my phone or computer or thinking of new content ideas or stressing about a to-do list. So I truly made it my focus to get some much needed R&R. But I also wanted to switch things up. I went to the gym every day. I tried new water sports. Instead of resorting to my go-to of Italian food, I forced myself to avoid the Italian restaurant on the property and try new cuisines. This one isn’t really different but it felt good to do it anyways. I love to dance and I have no problem with dancing alone. But usually, I’m dancing solo with friends or B nearby. This was the first time I’ve walked onto a dance floor not knowing a single soul and just danced.
Honestly, I could go on and on and if you’re still reading this post, I hope you feel more empowered and excited to take a solo adventure. I’m hoping to take at least two or three more trips this year, even if they’re closer to home. If you’re thinking about trying one out, please let me know in the comments or shoot me an email!
I’m guilty of claiming I’ve done this, but really I have just been on work trips or headed to a place a day or two before everyone else arrived. I definitely haven’t explored a city by myself for more than 36 hours. I think I need to jump on this!
My Style Vita
Great post! I admire your honesty and candid thoughts on unplugging and traveling alone. As much as I love social media, I also don’t like being a prisoner to it and I can imagine how a trip like this really freed you from that. I love your posts like these, true honest moments, and I can’t wait to hear more.
I’ve come across a couple of articles recently about traveling solo as a woman. And now, hearing your real life experience only entices me more to think of a place I would love to go and just have time to myself!
Go Lauren! You are bold, fierce and oh so cool!
I’ve never traveled on vacation solo and you made this sound so amazing. Im inspired!
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