By Victoria De Maio
Traveling Solo — it’s our turn, boomer gals!
We are the emerging and growing demographic and we are at the front of the solo travel trend. Yep, as they say somewhere, we’re kickin’ butt and takin’ names!
Four years ago when I first started writing/blogging, solo travel was one of the hot emerging trends I wrote about. Cruise lines and tour companies were beginning to take notice and just starting to rethink those hefty (and prohibitive) single supplements. You know what those are, right? It’s when you want to travel solo or have your own room and you get dinged for a small fortune and, adding insult to injury, get a “lesser than” room! (Been there, done that!)
Well, those days are coming to an end as the baby boomer generation, especially women, are stepping up, stepping out and wanting to see the world — often on their own. Once seen as almost pitiful (like you don’t have any friends or family who will travel with you, poor thing!), now solos are welcomed and lauded. Now there are plenty of possibilities and opportunities and boomers are ready to pack their bags and live those dreams!
I remember when I decided to take my first totally solo venture. I decided that I knew it was something I had to do so I set out to find my “courage muscle” — a long weekend in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I flew to Albuquerque, rented a car, stayed in a B&B, enjoyed great food, took a cooking class, went to the opera, went to museums and shopping, and drove all around the area. In other words, I did exactly what I wanted to do — all solo and I loved it. Sure, there were moments when I felt a bit lonely and shy but overall I was so damn proud of myself! I knew then, as I know now, that a “courage muscle” has to be flexed!
Since I’ve traveled solo and combined it with small group tours (that I organize and lead) and sometimes meet with friends. It’s perfect. I meet my doubts and trepidations, take a deep breath, and overcome them one at a time. Always taking precautions for my safety and well-being, I find that my solo travels have made me a better traveler. I’m forced to engage and interact and, therefore, I grow and learn — and meet so many fabulous people!
For those not quite ready to do an entirely solo trip, especially internationally, joining a small group of like-minded travelers is the perfect way to be solo but still have the umbrella and security of the group. I did this on my first solo trip to Italy in ’97. I had been traveling solo domestically for business but going overseas was a new stretch. I was going to meet a group in Rome and flew in several days before and after the tour to explore a little on my own. It was truly a breakthrough for me as I met my apprehensions and anxieties and not only survived but have never had a regret!
It’s because I’m so familiar with the reservations many solo travelers (especially women) have, and particularly if traveling internationally, I found myself organizing small groups to Italy. (Okay, I also happen to LOVE Italy!) Suitable for couples and friends, they are also absolutely perfect for the solo traveler.
Since I’m a boomer, my audience is pretty much boomers as well. With groups of 12 or less, no one is lost in the shuffle or feels awkward. Instant friends after the welcome aperitivo, everyone not only enjoys and embraces the experience, but they’re ready to plan the next one.
I’ve even had seasoned solo travelers as guests and they loved the experience, too. It’s the perfect compromise between being totally on your own and still having the support and comfort of the group. No fuss, no muss, just sit back and enjoy yourself!
So my advice to you is to revive that dream, meet those fears head on and just take that first step. Even if it’s a baby step, you’ll be so gratified that you did. And I’m here to help you!
More tips and inspiration
Thinking of Going Solo? You’re Not Alone!
25 Great tips for the Solo Traveler
Solo But NOT Alone!
Going Solo–Getting Started Advice & Why a Small Group is a Perfect Solution
About the author:
“La dolce vita for me” sums up Victoria’s passion and love for all things Italian. An American (with deep Italian roots) living in California, her heart is always in Italy. Her book “Victoria’s Travel TipZ Italian Style” is a result of her love for Italy, all things Italian, and sincere desire to help others have a truly fabulous trip to Italy. As a travel consultant, writer, and blogger, Victoria loves sharing practical no-nonsense travel tips and insights as well as her own experiences from a personal and light-hearted point-of-view on her travel blog, PostcardZ from Victoria. Needless to say, her favorite subject is Italy! When she isn’t planning her next trip (or yours!), she loves being a regular contributing writer for Italian Notebook, Italian Talks, and L’Italo-Americano.