I’ve been single for the majority of my adult life, and it’s never stopped me from travelling. I backpacked across India alone; I’ve gone on cruises alone; I visited both Disneyland and Walt Disney World alone (and will be writing about how to do a solo Disney trip later this week).
When I travel, I don’t really feel lonely or left out when I see couples or families. Of course there will be people travelling with significant others or partners and children; that’s how most people do it. But if you’re planning a solo trip and you’d rather avoid a holiday destination populated by (or designed for) couples, The Washington Post has some suggestions of where to go and where to skip.
Venice, for example, is on the skip list—“Two words: gondola proposals”—and single travellers who want to see Italy might have a better time visiting Florence instead. The Washington Post also suggests avoiding resorts, which are often both structured and priced around the couple or family experience; I can confirm that, at least in the case of cruise bookings, solo passengers are often charged a “single supplement fee” to make up the cost of occupying a room that would otherwise have held two or more people (and two or more drink plans and excursion fees and so on).
But I don’t agree with every destination on the WaPo’s skip list. The article suggests avoiding Las Vegas, for example, but I’ve found the Vegas Strip to be a delightful place to explore solo. Since the entire place runs on extracting as much money out of people as possible, nobody cares if you request a table for one or a room for one or an observation wheel ticket for one (and you should definitely do the Las Vegas observation wheel, it’s incredible). You can sit at a slot machine or blackjack table all night long, if that’s your thing; I’m not into gambling, so I spent my time wandering through the ridiculously ostentatious hotels, eating amazing meals, and people-watching.
I will tell you this, from years of experience as a solo traveller and holidaymaker: You’ll probably feel the most awkward if you decide to sign up for a structured event that is otherwise attended by couples. These would be your wine tastings, your horseback ridings, anything involving dance lessons.
You can get through a formal dinner on a cruise ship just fine because they assign you to a table (or, if you’d rather not dine with other vacationers, you can request to sit by yourself); however, prior to the dinner all the couples and families line up to get formal photographs taken—and that might be a little much for you to watch, depending on how you feel about your single status.
So… you know… just show up a little late. Explore the ship by yourself while everyone else is waiting in line to smile for the camera, and then walk into the formal dining room dressed in your best with your head held high.
Chances are, at least one of those couples or parents (or teenage children stuck on the cruise with their parents) will look at you travelling on your own, able to make your own decisions and come and go as you please, and feel a little tiny pang of envy.