Travelling on your own

With my holiday imminent – I leave this weekend – I’ve been excitedly telling everyone about it. The most common questions I’ve had are ‘Why Istanbul?’ and ‘Are you going on your OWN?’

You can read about why I chose Istanbul here. And yes, I am going on my own. I’m single, none of my friends can travel with me right now, and actually I LOVE travelling solo.

You get to do exactly what YOU want to do. No compromising on which sights you see. You decide each day what you want to do, and then you do it. That hugely famous museum too crowded? Blitz through it and go and find a good coffee spot. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to accompany someone round a museum who wants to examine each artifact in minute detail, when all you want to do is give it all a quick once over and then escape the crowds. Had enough for the day? Just pop back to your hotel for a nap – no ‘come on, let’s just go and see one more church/gallery/etc.’

I’ve also found that travelling solo means I meet many more people than when I’ve travelled with someone. Maybe solo travellers are more approachable, or maybe we make an effort to be friendly and chatty so that we have people to talk to. When I returned from a round the world trip a few years back, I had many more email addresses and contact numbers than a coupled-up friend who had done the same route 6 months earlier. And I am still in touch with a few of the people I met too.

I also love flying on my own. OK, I hate flying but at least if I’m on my own, I can close myself off into a little iPod/in-flight movie cocoon or take a sleeping tablet and just zone out. There’s also a better chance of finding more than one seat to spread out in.

Sure, there are downsides to solo travel – going to a restaurant solo can be awkward, romantic sunset cruises are less romantic when it’s just you. Plus it’s more economical to book a double room and then share the bill. But on balance, if nobody else is available to travel with me, I’m extremely happy to go it alone. Are you?

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