Have You Ever Traveled Alone?

Traveling Alone to Paris for a 30th Birthday

Would you take a vacation by yourself? This spring, my friend Kate Childs took herself to Paris — alone for a week — to celebrate her 30th birthday. I was curious: Where did she stay? What did she eat? Did she ever get lonely? Here, she tells us how the week went down…

Traveling Alone to Paris for a 30th Birthday

For the drama of it all, I flew overnight so that I landed in Paris on my actual birthday. (The last great accomplishment of my twenties? Packing only a carry-on.)

Traveling Alone to Paris for a 30th Birthday

Traveling Alone to Paris for a 30th Birthday

I stayed at the beautiful Hôtel Providence. My friends had called and arranged for a bottle of rosé and treats to be put in my room when I arrived, so the hotel knew it was my birthday and that I was traveling solo. Staying at a boutique hotel where everyone got to know me was a real bonus. They would ask how my birthday week was going and what I was doing each day. There was also a great restaurant and bar, so when I came back at night, there were people around.

Traveling Alone to Paris for a 30th Birthday

When you’re a solo traveler, your itinerary is your partner in crime. The first couple days were structured, and then, once I got more comfortable, it became free-flowing. Early in the trip, it felt good to have a purpose: I’m going to wake up and walk to this neighborhood and do that.

My mornings began with breakfast at the hotel. The first day, I went to a spa and to see a ballet. The next day, I went to a cooking class and a few museums. I also ended up walking 15 miles one day — I’d never been to Paris before and I couldn’t believe how beautiful everything was.

Traveling Alone to Paris for a 30th Birthday

The cooking class was run by a French-Canadian chef. The class was six hours and quite intensive! There were eight students, and afterward everyone sat together and ate what we had made: salt-crusted roast chicken with mushroom sauce, duck fat potatoes, artichokes and a chocolate mousse tart.

Traveling Alone to Paris for a 30th Birthday

When traveling alone, you’re focusing on the very micro-things you need — do I want to eat now? Do I want to shop now? Do I want to walk down this street? And it opens you up to more macro-conversations with yourself. What am I doing with my life? Do I like where I’m living? When you have the time and space to figure things out, that’s a huge gift to yourself.

Traveling Alone to Paris for a 30th Birthday

I figured I’d bring books out to dinner, but then I realized you can use a book as a crutch. If you don’t have one, you’re open to overhearing something, making conversation with a neighboring table, watching what the chef is doing. I thought I might get restless — like, what would I think about for two hours without a book or a friend? But it was just really pleasant. My favorite dinners were at Spring and Frenchie.

Traveling Alone to Paris for a 30th Birthday

Traveling alone, I could do whatever I felt like in the moment. I went to the Musée d’Orsay, and after it closed, I saw someone riding a Vélib’ city bike. So, I rented one and rode past riverside cafés where people were just sitting outside, drinking and talking, and I thought, I want to do that, so I parked the bike and got a glass of wine and sat by the river.

Traveling Alone to Paris for a 30th Birthday

Traveling Alone to Paris for a 30th Birthday

Traveling Alone to Paris for a 30th Birthday

I did the same thing at Versailles. When I arrived, the lines were too long, so I walked down to the gardens. There was a place where you could rent bikes, so I rode through the entire garden of Marie Antoinette, then grabbed a baguette with ham and cheese, and wandered back through the gardens. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Traveling Alone to Paris for a 30th Birthday

I’d encourage anyone to consider taking a solo trip. There are so many rewards. I feel much braver now that I was able to do this. I never felt lonely, and it’s very fulfilling to know that you enjoy your own company. It was also great to do this special thing, where you just say yes to everything. Yes, I’m going to have an ice-cream sundae right now. Yes, I’m going to go to the Picasso Museum. It felt like a sign of the decade to come. I’m ready to go.

Traveling Alone to Paris for a 30th Birthday

Thank you so much, Kate!

P.S. How to pack without wrinkles, and a hair trick for vacations.

  1. Elle says...

    This post must have percolated in the back of my mind for years — and finally, I decided to take a week-long trip to London by myself. I went last January while my husband was traveling elsewhere on business. I stayed in a small boutique hotel and woke up to a wonderful carb-loaded breakfast tray every morning. I wandered the streets, shopped, visited museums, met many lovely people, and had a great time.

    Three things I noticed: First: when you tell friends you’re going on a solo trip, they often try to figure out if they can go with you! At first I thought it was all good, but I soon began to think, “Wait, this is my trip! You weren’t invited!” Second: those conversations with yourself? I began to notice myself having them out loud. In my hotel room, this was fine, but I was probably also seen muttering to myself on the street. But I found myself to be pretty interesting because sometimes I had no idea what I was going to say next. Three: you’re never really alone when you travel. I had nice conversations with people at meals, in galleries, in shops, at my hotel, on the tube, in Ubers, you name it. Maybe Londoners are really friendly, but I had plenty of company on my solo trip.

    • This makes me so happy! So glad you took the trip, and found it so rewarding.

  2. Linda Fernandes says...

    I’m 70 years old and have been traveling alone for several years. I have no doubt it has influenced me to recognize the me I have become! Yes, “be you” means you must take the time to know who you are. Every one month trip alone has been a revelation. I encourage everyone I know to try it. It can be life changing.

    Kudos to all my acquaintances along the journey who exchanged pleasantries and kindness and made my travels so worthwhile. Eternally grateful for all the fun times!

  3. I know this article has long been published but this encouraged me to finally jump on a solo trip to Europe- Lisbon and Paris because of this. That was the fall of 2016.

    I leave tomorrow for my third solo trip and I come back to this article when my nerves set in.

    This trip is for three weeks for both work and play which is also a major win- two in Lisbon and one in England. I’ve since been to 7 countries alone and have taken almost every form of transportation expect hitchhiking. Please tell this woman thank you. It’s almost 3 years later, and she’s still an inspiration I come back to when I need to believe I can do it (again).

    • Thank you for leaving this wonderful comment! I’m so glad you took those solo trips. There’s so much to be gained by exploring the world on your own. Xx

  4. Elizabeth says...

    I go to Sevilla for 2 weeks every year to take Flamenco classes and see people who I have met who live there and now become my friends and just to be there and soak up as much Flamenco as possible ! I am 55 and traveled to Spain for the first time alone at 50 and there has been nothing more empowering ,exciting and and satisfying than traveling alone! I love staying in my own little apartment, deciding what to to with my free time after classes… I live for these 2 weeks and save all year to make it happen without digging into joint household finances. My husband is super supportive of these trips and has even joined me once for a week and probably will again ! I do have a few moments every trip where I feel a slight ping of loneliness and wish my husband was there , but it passes quickly and I am off to the next adventure. For me it’s like living alone, it’s something that I highly recommend to every woman at least at some point in her life !

  5. Yes! It’s wonderful to travel alone! I had the opportunity to get to know Egypt on a sensational trip with no planned itineraries or return dates. Loved the experience!

  6. Victoria says...

    Sometimes I re-read this post by Kate — to inspire confidence and remind myself that it’s special to try something different. I’m so often inspired by Cup of Jo :)

    P.S. I’m (re-reading) and writing this from a solo trip!

    • This is so nice to hear! I’m so glad you took a solo trip of your own – hope it was wonderful! Xx

  7. Karen says...

    This post inspired me to take a solo trip Paris. I wanted an experience similar to Kate’s, I enrolled in a cooking class, planned to bike along the Seine and at Versailles, I even bought the same pair of Vince sneakers for all the walking! But, the universe had other plans for me. My first day there I met a boy that I would end up having a connection with, pretty much like the movie Before Sunrise. Months after the trip, I can see how everything that happened in Paris has opened up my soul in the most beautiful way! Thank you for sharing your story, so that others could go out and make their own story.

  8. Traveling solo is not so unusual. I prefer traveling solo because I can do exactly what I what to do. I have also started dining solo at Michelin star restaurants on my travels – why shouldn’t I enjoy a great meal even if I’m on my own?

  9. Martha Patterson says...

    I did two big trips solo…when I was 23, I went to Europe for two months..11 countries! I stayed at hostels, hotels, and family and friends. Loved every moment of it! There were pockets of loneliness, but I always felt safe, and loved being able to do what I wanted, when I wanted. A few years later I did a road trip from San Francisco up to British Columbia…saw a little bit of everything! Oregon Coast, Portland and Seattle, high tea in Victoria BC, and swam in Howe Sound in Vancouver…loved the independence of it all. Now have a husband and two kids, and travel for work often. But I do treasure the few hours free when traveling for business that I can steal away to a museum, hit a street market or explore a new neighborhood!

  10. Cláudia says...

    Specially for short trips (3 to 4 days) I’ve travelled a lot alone, for me it’s the best way to get to know small capital cities like Sarajevo, Sophia, Tblisi, etc. I usually have a pre-defined itinerary for the first day and a half and the rest of the time I just wander around :)

  11. Marianne says...

    I’m impressed! I’d love to do this but I’d love to know if you had any French language abilities going in. Did you take it in high school, or college? I have heard stories about the French and their disdain for non-speakers! Also, if you didn’t speak it, where there enough signs in English to get around?

    • Sherry says...

      I’ve traveled solo to Paris 3 times and don’t know any French. Almost everyone I’ve met has been super helpful and welcoming. I end up looking forward to my solo travel to Paris, everyear. I highly recommend it if you’re the adventurous type. I go to Belgium on business every October amd add on Paris at the end, as a gift to myself

    • Hi Marianne — No, I don’t speak French and only knew a few key phrases. I made an effort to start the conversation in French — and quickly transition to English! — and everyone was very welcoming and spoke to me in English.

  12. I spent 6 months last autumn and winter (as a 25 year old!) backpacking through Europe on my own, from Romania to Ireland. It was so incredibly wonderful, hard, beautiful. I learned so much about myself and grew so much into myself too. I gained confidence and bravery that I had always wanted, and got to experience things I’d dreamed of for years. I recommend it as an experience to anyone, even for a much shorter amount of time. It’s good to be alone with yourself and to become in tune with your own desires, habits, fears, strengths! Cheers.

  13. I have an innate fear of travelling alone because of perceived danger so I do applaud those who are brave enough to do so.

    So lovely to know that travelling alone can be so pleasing.

  14. I’m traveling solo to the UK for my 30th birthday (May 30th!!)

    • Sherry says...

      Happy Birthday! My 30s were amazing!

  15. monroe says...

    I’m going to Italy solo in July and this made me feel all the more excited to go! Question – what type of shoes were you able to walk in comfortably?

    • Kate says...

      Hi Monroe- I wore Vince’s Blair Leather sneaker and couldn’t recommend them more! Versatile and stylish and comfortable. Have a great trip!

  16. Yes! I love the idea of taking a long solo trip. I’ve only managed to sneak away for a weekend and ended up exhausted! Solo travel takes on a new level of specialness after having kids, too. You get a chance to miss them and also take away the noise of their needs to do as you please.

  17. Lacy says...

    Traveling alone is a freeing experience. In 2014, I took a sabbatical from work for three months, and traveled through Spain. I learned so much about myself, my adventurous side, the extroverted side of me (when I thought I was always more of an introvert). I loved every moment of it, and almost stayed – for good. The only reason I came home? I couldn’t stand to wear the clothes I had continuously worn over and over again. I was longing for a fresh wardrobe! If you’re thinking about a solo trip. Stop thinking. Just go!

  18. Surender says...

    I traveled Hong Kong alone. I was scared at first (about a week) I even bored a few times, but as soon as I started meeting people in hostels and opening up a bit more I had so much fun, being alone didn’t even phase me…I just met more people in my next destination.

  19. Ah! This has me so, so, so excited for July! Just last week I booked a solo trip to Paris for my 29th birthday. Hoping to ring in the last year of my 20s with renewed confidence, focus, and some good eats!

    PS Love the tip about Versailles. I didn’t get a chance to fully explore the gardens last time I was there. Excited to rent a bike and explore that way!

  20. L says...

    I love traveling solo and have been alone on several trips, including a few months spent on my own in India when I was still a newlywed. I’m an introvert but when I’m on my own I engage with locals so much more than when traveling with a companion. I love being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, whether it’s taking a meandering walk or visiting an obscure museum or just calling in room service. Traveling alone always feels like more of an adventure too. It really is my favorite way to travel, except when I’m going someplace that’s known for it’s nightlife — I tend to be much more cautious about things like drinking and staying out late at night when I’m on my own. Now that I’m not only married but a mom too, the occasional solo day trip is the most I can manage. Anything longer would feel a little selfish to me, although I daydream of taking a long weekend to myself when I no longer have babies to look after.

  21. Cynthia Latcham says...

    I traveled to Seattle and Victoria BC on my own last fall. It was my solo trip after ending a 24 year marriage. I found I was living in the moment and very little in my head. Every thing I did was what I wanted to do in the moment. Nothing was wasted and I’d travel solo again in a heartbeat! Maybe Marrakesh or Paris?

  22. Kukla says...

    I traveled to Kauai, Hawaii for my 24th birthday and stayed there alone for two weeks. I’d love to do a trip like this but I have to admit, staying somewhere where I don’t speak the language, and have never been just terrifies me.

  23. agedneverold says...

    All the time. I travel a lot for work and have been to the most interesting places in the world solo. Earlier this year I went to Machu Pichu next weekend I’m going to see the Iguazcu Falls. I’m an extrovert with introvert tendencies (is that a thing) so it suits me well. I have the most interesting conversations with the most interesting folks when travelling alone. And you get to meet people you would have otherwise ignored if you had comany. Give it a try. Its not so bad.

    • june2 says...

      What is your job!

  24. Coleen says...

    Traveling alone suits my shy and quiet personality. It is also one of my accomplishments in life. Spending sparingly, booking promo and cheap airfares and writing up a detailed itinerary helps me to enjoy each of my trips. I am also fortunate enough to have a few kind and generous relatives and friends who let me stay for a few days and weeks.

  25. Monika says...

    Throughout my 20s and 30s, I’ve had the opportunity to travel solo many times all over Europe (France, Italy, Germany, Croatia) and North America. I found the experience enriching and very satisfying, because you have the chance to explore new places and also discover things about yourself (new level of confidence, independence, thrusting your instincts, trying new experiences, etc.). I am often faced with questions from my friends who have never traveled by themselves and who have a great fear of it (how do sit at a table and eat by yourself in a restaurant, who do you talk to, etc.)… me, those fears don’t even come into play, because the places I have traveled to and the people I have met during my travels have welcomed me with open arms and a gentle smile. I don’t want to sound preachy, but I highly recommend the experience of traveling solo, at least once or twice in your lifetime.

  26. Happy be-lated birthday!! What a way to celebrate. Wonderful post and great pics. A bit directionally challenged myself, I don’t know it wise for me to travel internationally all by myself. Domestic yes, used to that, but time will tell. :)

  27. Liz says...

    Love this!! Reading about Kate’s adventures made me very nostalgic for solo traveling I’ve been able to do in the past. One of the best was a few days that spent in Tbilisi, Georgia while I was on vacation from my Peace Corps post in Armenia. I have a vivid memory of drinking amazing wine and eating cheesy egg bread in a little restaurant during a thunderstorm… when you’re by yourself you have the chance to be so tuned in to every little detail of your surroundings.

  28. Karen in VA says...

    Oh gosh yes … Traveling alone to Paris or anywhere in England is so much better alone. I traveled with a friend or two occasionally, but those were trips that I met fewer people, was less introspective, took fewer really great photos, journaled less …. In other words not the max in vacation value.

    I got to the point that I didn’t announce my travel plans until about 4 days before I left. Not enough time for someone to say, “yea, I’ll go with you.”

    Traveling in England alone is the best, mostly shire hopping. The British love to talk to Americans. They are fascinated with our easy, casual ways. They don’t want to be like us, but are so engaging. If I am traveling with someone, I make very few British friends. And my experience is that they do make good friends. I am still in touch with many.

    I started going alone when I was about 30 also …. Right after I decided to get divorced. A present for me.

    Great post …. x

    Karen in VA

  29. Irene says...

    There’s nothing wrong about travelling alone. I’ve been in two solo trips in my life and it was actually super cool! It teaches you to be more self-concious, responsible yet laid-back and free in your desires. I even think that at that time I’ve learnt how to love myself truly and how to enjoy your own company. So, I really encourage everyone not to be afraid to travel alone and just let yourself go, because this solo trip might be one of the most exciting experiences of a lifetime. Thanks for the article!
    xoxo Irene

  30. Sophia says...

    Can you share where the bag Kate is carrying in the cover photo of this post is from? I’m looking for one exactly like that.

  31. Cindy says...

    I think every person should try travelling alone at least once in a life time. I am a girl, and I like travelling alone, and I travel alone a lot. I consider travelling alone as a time to escape from all the daily routines and have true conversation with yourself, get things straight in mind and start afresh again. Plus, travelling alone is never alone, cuz you gotta meet other solo travellers too!

  32. KayCee says...

    Ten years ago after quitting a particularly stressful job, I just upped and left for Europe for 3 weeks. It was, hands down, THE BEST. A good friend based in Copenhagen suggested I use her place as a jumping off point for exploring the region, so I did! She set me up with her friends in other cities all over Europe, and since I tended towards the timid side and this was the first time I’d ever done anything so adventurous on my own — youngest child, overprotective family, etc — it was the best possible setup because I got to fly solo during the day and still share my escapades with friends at the end of the day.

    The only time I was truly on my own was when I decided on a whim to fly in to Paris for a couple of days. It was a little nerve-wracking because the very cheap hotel (in a slightly scuzzier part of town) I was in couldn’t really be bothered if I came back at night or not, so there was no staying out late or getting chummy with strangers. BUT I did get to spend as much time as I wanted walking around wherever I wanted, stopping whenever I liked, and soaking up the excruciatingly beautiful city — they don’t call it the most romantic city in the world for nothing! My then single self found myself wishing I could share it with someone special, but at that time in my life, it was perfect. Since then I’ve explored many more cities on my own and as time went on, I’ve found that the best part of travel is having loved ones along to share the experience with. But that first solo Europe trip was a life-changing experience that I’ll always remember fondly.

  33. Nina says...

    Since I’ve been 20 years old, many times I have traveled alone, when there was no boyfriend in my life or no friend available to come with me. When my feet started to itch I just went somewhere, many times not even asking if someone wanted to go with me. I thoroughly cherish all my experiences, and never foun myself in a dangerous situation, although one time at Penn Station in New York City, some kid was trying to be too helpful with me. After that I learned to have a poker face on. Traveling solo is a time for being calm and mindful, alone with yourself. The only little downside is not being able to share things you encounter, but on the other hand you can be as selfish as you want ;)

  34. Stella says...

    For the last 15 years I went to many countries in Europe , Australia, Argentina , Uruguay New Zealand, Israel, Jordan, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, Russia and many others. Alone. Not even making plans where to sleep or what to see. Nor taking tours. I let it just happen . I am 54 year old woman and will do this kind of traveling until I cannot anymore.

  35. I almost feel like travelling solo is more common in my mind for me, than with partner, parent/s or siblings. So many places I’ve been a solo traveller, and I love it, I feel so much more open to seeing things, and talking to people. When I have a ‘crutch’ of another person it can sometimes dull my awareness and deep thoughts.

    That being said, the hardest part of travelling alone can be the evening meals in some places. Other countries, it’s fine! I like to take a journal to write about the day, and then stop when the food comes and I eat.

  36. I am heading to Buenos Aires in 20 hours for 10 days alone. Nervous , and excited.

  37. Clare Agra says...

    I spent 3 weeks in a hostel on the north shore of O’ahu when I was 18 over college break by freshman year. My parents weren’t thrilled but I had a fantastic time and still like to travel alone today.

  38. Last summer I traveled solo for two weeks in Europe. I loved the freedom of being able to do what I wanted, when I wanted. I felt a sense of confidence and accomplishment when I came home. There are a lot of great perks to traveling alone, and I recommend everyone does it once in their life. But, If I had to do it again, I would bring someone with me. I realized that my favorite moments of my trip were the ones shared with others. I think it’s human nature to want that connection.

  39. JenS says...

    I have traveled to over 20countries alone. All throughout central America, turkey, Europe, SE Asia and even parts of India. It seems so normal to me and I forgot people have an aversion to solo travel. I have learned so much about myself and other cultures by diving head first. I also have traveled with girlfriends and boyfriends and my now husband…all the travel is different and special in some way.

  40. Ivanna says...

    This story was so nice.
    Thank you

  41. Kay says...

    I went to Paris alone for a week two years ago and loved it. I did have a few moments of loneliness, but afterwards I felt so strong! I really felt like I could do anything after that trip.
    I remember one day I was feeling lonesome, and so I went outside the apartment I was staying at with a cup of tea and just watched people go by. A guy who had been sitting across the street at a restaurant came over to talk to me, (he happened to speak english). He invited me over to sit at the bar with him and his friends, bought, me an espresso and restored my faith in humanity. This never would have happened if I had been with a friend and it totally made my day!

  42. Charlotte says...

    I actually went to New York & DC by myself last October. It was two weeks, and although they were awesome — cuz duh — two weeks is my maximum of traveling alone. I loved being able to do and eat what and when I wanted, not having to compromise with anyone, but the dinners and nights were sometimes quite lonely. Luckily I was exhausted every night from walking and discovering so much, I fell asleep by 9 pm ;-) Would recommend it to anyone! But next time, I’m taking the boyfriend with me to NY.

  43. Lauren says...

    I do something like this when my husband is traveling on business or for a conference and I come along. He’s usually busy all day, almost every day, as well as some evenings, so I plan my days to do whatever I want. I’ve done this in Paris many times, but also in Cairo, Prague, Marseilles, and Avignon. We meet up at our hotel at night and he can see photos of what I’ve done all day. We usually have one day together before we leave, and I show him the best of what I’ve found. I visit a lot of museums large and small (house museums are favorites) and antique shops, but I tend to eat my way across Paris, walking 12 miles or so each day, from one boulangerie or patisserie or crepe stand to another. And nobody knows but me (!) . . . except I often have chocolate on my face when I get back to my room.

  44. Amy says...

    I did a solo vacation in Slovenia on the way back from a work trip. Such a nice experience and it was great fun to wander as I pleased while finding my way and getting lost in shops, museums, cafes. I stayed in a nicer hostel for that trip, which was an ideal way to meet people when I felt like being more social. Definitely recommend smaller boutique hotels for solo vacations, or hostels for the younger set!

  45. After finishing my undergraduate exams in Scotland I had 3 weeks to kill before my parents would fly to Germany and we would do a quick trip before returning to Edinburgh for my graduation. I booked a flight to Turkey. Alone.

    It was one of the most beautiful trips I have ever taken. I went where I wanted, camping in my tent in front yards, relying on myself. Before leaving, friends timidly asked if I wanted a partner-in-crime, inviting themselves along. I didn’t, and it was a fantastic decision. I was 22 at the time, and think everybody should travel solo, young.

  46. Anne S says...

    I flew to London and Paris alone 4 years ago when I was 24. It was awesome. I was lonely at times but it was one of the most liberating and empowering things I had done up to that point. Met new fiends, learned about flexibility, swallowed my pride, and had an all around magical time! Even bumped into Bill Murray in a side street in Paris around midnight near the Seine. Totally recommend some solo traveling- never too old or too young.

    • Julie says...

      That’s so cool :)

  47. Malia says...

    I went to Paris for a week by myself in my early 20s. It was the loneliest, most depressing vacation I have ever been on!
    Traveling solo is a cool idea, but isn’t for me.

  48. Erika says...

    This story is so inspiring! My sister-in-law and I were having a conversation just the other day about what we would have done differently had we not been with our now husbands back in college, or if we were to split up right now (I know, kind of a weird convo considering they were there with us! hahaha).

    I would have definitely already traveled to Paris (my favorite city in the entire world) and a place I feel I have lived in before… in a different life.

    I think it is so wonderful empowering to travel alone! I hope that one day I have the guts to do so… Thanks, Kate! and Joanna :)

  49. I love this! I have traveled solo at different times in my life and definitely encourage people to go for it. There are many chances to meet people along the way, people whom you’d otherwise not meet if you were traveling with someone. I traveled solo once after kids, too, and it was a great experience.

  50. Heather says...

    I’m 32 and have traveled solo a number of times and loved it! I’ll admit, there were a few unbelievable moments along the way that I thought, “I really wish I could share this moment with someone I love.” But to have those times of self-discovery has shaped who I am and made me more confident in myself. It’s made me a person who can positively contribute to the relationship that I’m in now, and made our travels together even better!

  51. Mariele says...

    I did a solo camping trip to Yellowstone last year and it was amazing. I meet lots of really cool people and enjoyed the park way more because the only limitation was me.

  52. This is such an amazing post. This birthday If I have the money, I’d love to go to Paris and Berlin. I’ve been travelling alone for a long time now, and yet to document it on my blog :) The only reason I started travelling solo was because my friends were never free when I was, or they didn’t want to go, or they didn’t want to see the same things that I did. I was hesitant because I was afraid, but then I realized I LOVED it because travelling solo gives you all the freedom to make your own agendas and see/do whatever you feel like.

    If you’re eating alone, sometimes people look at you like “oh poor thing eating alone in such a pretty cafe, must be sad, or someone stood her up” etc. Truth is, no one cares. As long as you’re not in someone’s way, you can pretty much do whatever you want.

    My family thought it was nuts that I wanted to travel alone. They thought I was upset because of a boy, then they thought I was going to see a boy, and basically they were just plain scared that I wanted to travel to all these far-off places in Asia alone.

    I’m currently planning a solo trip to Taiwan and the Philippines. One thing I recommend if you do have the time is to take the time to travel slowly, 10 days or more, getting under the skin of a place, asking the locals what they do for fun, being a regular at a cafe/coffeeshop and chatting with the servers/chef, just having time to yourself to read a book, write, walk around slowly, or just watch the sun rise multiple times in a different part of the world.

    Sometimes I feel like it would be great to visit a particular place again with my boyfriend or best friends, and that I badly want to share a certain experience with them that they would have loved, but mostly going solo is incredible. You’ll never regret doing it. And you’ll never regret spending money on travel! :)

    Also, there’s no one “type” of person who is capable of travelling solo, anyone who has an open mind can do it! :) You’ll learn to take care of yourself, and you’ll come back with a fresh perspective and appreciation for the little things.

    Mostly I was just a shy kid who didn’t believe in herself and I was thought what is the point of struggling, or to travel alone, but thankfully I found the guts to do it and I’ve become a more confident, resourceful, smarter, braver and most of all a happier person.

    Wow! That was like a whole blog post. Do feel free to email me ifyou have any questions about travelling solo in Asia. I’d love to help! and instagram: @ruchikashankar

    PS: I love love LOVE your blog, I even make my mom and grandmom read it! :) :)

  53. Anna says...

    Beautiful! I love the part about micro decisions leading to macro ones. And all in Paris to boot!

  54. I love the idea of traveling solo, though I’ve never done it. I do love the moments of vacation when I get out and about by myself, so I’m sure a whole vacation would be so lovely. I was in Paris 4 years ago on a business trip, and my traveling partner and I split up for the afternoon. The line for the D’Orsay was too long, so I walked around and then headed to the Rodin Museum, which is my ultimate happy place on Earth. Probably my favorite part of my business trip, in which I was to do some R&D of french party and bread, and that’s hard to beat!

    I have two kiddos and a husband now, so I’m not sure a solo trip is in my future. But a girl can dream!

    • And by party I mean pastry… Pastry party!

  55. Katie!! <3
    I tacked on a solo weekend after a work trip at the end of March and enjoyed it so much. I rented a bike, beach-combed, ate frozen yogurt, treated myself to an amazing dinner. It was so luxurious. And it totally gives you the space to think about your life in a different light (exactly what I was hoping it would do for me).
    Happy birthday, gf, so amazed by you and glad you had a fulfilling vacation!

  56. I absolutely adore traveling on my own. In college I decided that I would seize the day, and studied every summer in Europe. The last summer, I went totally solo, and it was amazing. I went to a little French fashion school for one month, and then to Parsons Paris for the second month. But in between, I had a whole week to travel so I went totally solo and hit all these places I’d wanted to go: a gorgeous boutique hotel in London, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, a few days on the Cote d’Azur where I lounged on a beach at a fab hotel, and finally a few days in Prague to see my favorite art nouveau artist. It’s been over ten years now and these are still some of my favorite memories and one of the accomplishments I’m most proud of.

  57. Crosby says...

    Anyone here in a long term relationship but travels solo sometimes? My boyfriend and I have been all over the world together, but now that I’m almost 30, I’m craving a solo trip. I would feel so guilty saying, “Honey, I love you to pieces, but I’m going to _____ by myself.” Thoughts?

    • Yes! My husband and I have done this (we’ve been married almost 15 years), and I’ve even traveled solo after kids. We have been able to talk about it honestly, without guilty or judgmental tones. There are many things that can be important to either person, whether it’s taking exercise classes, having alone time on weekends, needing extra time to visit friends or family, etc., and traveling solo is one of those things.

    • naomi says...

      Just do it! But, remember to be understanding when your partner chooses to do the same thing :)

      My husband and I do the same thing. We travel the world together, but also take solo trips as well (6 months ago he went backpacking in India, and I went to Barbados last month). Some people are judgey about it, but I personally just think they’re jealous! It works for us :)

    • Yes – we’d been married 6 years when I turned 30. I traveled to Austria on my own in time for my birthday, and I still say it’s the best day of my life! Being in Europe was a dream come true. I was miles and miles away from friends and family, back in Australia. My husband was on HIS dream trip, in the West Indies to watch a cricket match. So – perhaps this is how you can bring it up, by suggesting that you both go on dream trips at the same time. Best of luck and I hope you get that solo trip. We had a child now, so I think – maybe no more solo trips for me.

    • *have a child (not had!)

    • Jo says...

      My husband and I have been married for three years, together for seven, and I just booked my ticket to Paris solo for my 30th birthday (totally inspired by Kate’s trip!). My husband is a fantastic travel partner, but my job gives me much more vacation time than his does, and so he encouraged me to go.

      We both have styles of vacation that really appeal to us, and luckily there is a big overlap (doing a month-long bicycle tour through France and Spain is something we want to do together next year), but there are definitely trips that I would love and he wouldn’t, and vice versa. Spending a week in Paris, just wandering and reading and eating, is ideal for me, but he would get restless. Likewise, there are some surf trips in frankly miserable climates that he would love and I would hate. I think being able to travel alone when you’re in a steady, long-term relationship can be an indication of self-sufficiency and independence that actually comes back to strengthen a marriage or partnership. One of the best parts of my trip will be coming home and telling my husband about this great time I had, and all the busy cafes and too-rich croissants he didn’t have to suffer through :)

      I hope you’re able to bring up the idea to your boyfriend and that you end up taking the solo trip you’re craving!

  58. Kat says...

    Yep, I took a solo trip to Europe (well, France and the Benelux states) when I graduated college at age 20, then I took a solo trip around the world when I was 22. It’s never lonely (I stayed in hostels and met lots of people), but sometimes you realize one person in particular in your life would also really enjoy this one particular thing you’re doing, and you wish they were there. The best part is it forces you to feel uncomfortable and maybe even afraid, but to be okay with that and make a move anyway. It’s liberating.

  59. Caz says...

    I’ve travelled alone and I’d highly recommend it! Not only have I travelled alone but moved abroad alone twice as well. There’s nothing to be afraid of!
    It’s nice not to have to consider what someone else wants or deal with group coordination – you see what you want, when you want.
    Safety hasn’t been an issue so far, but there are certain countries I would be a little hesitant about, but you could always join a guided tour.
    My two main recommendatioms are:
    1. Take a book! Meal times are when you might feel lonely, so having a book to read makes you feel less awkward.
    2. Stay in hostels, not hotels. Not only will you save money that can be spent on more important things, but it’s quite common to meet fellow travellers in the lounge, strike up a conversation and end up spending the day together exploring. Just be sure to research the hostel – some can be quiet and sterile, while others are too loud and party-oriented.

    • CindyA says...

      Ive also moved alone several times (once to Europe, twice to asia), and so often do solo trips. I’m pretty friendly so have always met folks while traveling, and have actually made some solid friendships that way. Im also a big reader, so traveling solo means I can get through a few books in a weekend, without distraction. I really see it as an opportunity to self-reflect and do precisely what I want with my time…

  60. for my 30th i went to gettysburg by myself. it was just a long weekend, and technically it’s only 1.5 hours away from home. it did feel rather liberating. and i’d do it again, though i have since partnered with someone who adores travelling as much as i do.

  61. Looks like Kate had an amazing Birthday week! Solo travel isn’t for me but I can see how it suits a lot of people!

  62. I backpacked around Brazil for 4 months when I was 28. It was such an eye opening experience. The feeling of being independent and knowing you could take care of yourself physically and mentally.
    I can say I became and adult on that trip. Highly recommend it!

  63. Valentina says...

    This post is bringing back so many memories! When I was 21 I moved to the U.K. for a year on my own. I loved the idea of being able to focus on myself for a whole year, and it never occurred to me that I could get loney as I generally love spending time on my own. It was such an adventure at the beginning, I took trips around the U.K. and expored the culture. However two months into my trip I got injured and got sick at the same time and the trip took a downward spriral from then onwards. Being injured in a new place where you dont know anyone that would be willing to help you is scary. Being a shy introvert didn’t help either. I still continued my trip however I became lonelier by the day, wishing that my loved ones would be with me to share my experiences. I still stayed for a whole year and it was a life-changing experience, however I would not do ot again. Spending a year without anyone to trust or be friends with was too hard and incredibly lonely. I would consider going on a weekly holiday by myself but no more than that.

  64. Carolyn says...

    I spent 5 days in Marrakech alone last year while my husband was in the Faroe Islands. I loved it and I had so many different conversations with people that I would never have had if I was travelling with a companion. I paid for a local guide to take me around for half a day which I would not have done if I had been with my husband. In that wonderful day I saw a box of newborn kittens, he showed me how to walk on the footpaths like a local , we went in to underground cooking pits where men sat all day shovelling hot ashes on to tagines, we went CD shopping to buy local music and I learnt that it didn’t matter if I got lost in the souks., I would always find my way out. I love travelling with others but being alone is also such a great experience.

  65. Porkchop says...

    I went on a solo trip to Hawaii for my 30th birthday! I have also travelled around Australia on my own. I think it is so important to do things on your own and be comfortable with your own company. And also not to be too dependent on others for approval. Helps build resilience. And travelling on your own is so much fun too! You get to do whatever you want whenever you want :D

  66. shopgirl says...

    Super article, I always wanted such easy, calm, just for myself holidays. But never have the courage to do that. The hardest for me would probably be at the table, in the restaurant, café… everything else – travel, shopping, museums, movies, shows.. no problem.
    And ironically these days you end up seeing couples, friends, people at neighboring tables, staring everyone at their phone and it would be just the same if they were alone at the table ….

  67. Alice says...

    I just got back from a solo trip to Stockholm. It was the BEST. Kate is so right in saying that solo travel allows you to have those macro-conversations with yourself- for instance, while on that trip, I realised that I was seriously unhappy in the relationship I was in, and ended it a few days after I got back. I wasn’t lonely at all on my trip either- and I loved being able to do exactly what I wanted!

    For what it’s worth, I stayed in an AirBnB apartment which was GREAT- because if I didn’t fancy eating out alone, I could just eat at home. And it was a great way to feel like a local! By the end of my five days, people in the street I was staying on were smiling and saying hello to me. It was amazing- I’ll absolutely be doing it again soon.

  68. I love this post and totally agree with her perspective on solo travel. The whole trip sounded heavenly! I backpacked around Ireland for my first solo trip (never even imagining I’d wind up living here, or walking by the church where I’d one day get married! I even have a photo from that trip with my husband in it, and we didn’t even meet until 6 months later in the US! ) I love that though I’m living in my husbands home country and not my own, I still have my own history here and my own special memories.

  69. Gina says...

    I’m currently traveling Nepal alone and absolutely love it. I’ve backpacked all of SE Asia solo and it honestly was such an amazing experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything. There is nobody I wish I could have brought along bc I have met so many people along the way. That’s the best part, not having anyone with you so you have to put yourself out there and talk to everyone. I’ve completely broken out of my comfort zone and learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable :)

  70. lottie says...

    This is one of my favourite posts of all time. When I was younger and single I often had to travel alone, and it’s made me reconnect with how precious alone time can be. Now I can’t wait to take my own adventures again! Thank you so much!

  71. Laura C says...

    I would LOVE to traveling solo. I am longing for it, just one weekend with myself out of my country.
    I am trying to go to Scotland, it’s just a 3 hours flight.
    I’ll let you know Jo and readers when I’ll get there!
    Hapoy bday Kate

  72. Happy birthday Kate from a Kate across the globe :)
    While I love the idea of travelling alone, I would spend the whole time taking pictures and sending them to my husband. I can’t imagine experiencing a new country without him. He’s my best friend and I’m quite shy in new places and he gives me confidence.

  73. Alexis says...

    This post comes at the perfect moment, I’ve recently booked 13 days in Paris this November and am going solo.
    I’m definitely taking her suggestions. The cooking class sounds amazing!

    • Kate says...

      Hi Alexis – I hope you enjoy your trip to Paris! The planning is almost as fun as the actual trip, and I highly recommend Catherine Reed’s cooking class! Her email is catherine.reed [at] .

  74. Julie says...

    I spent 3 days in London by myself after a break up in 2012, my first major travel alone. One of the days there I still have up there as one of the best in my life. I felt so free and independent. I had High Tea alone and loved everything about it, Since then I’ve traveled a decent amount on my own, day trips, road trips. When I travel for work it gives me the freedom to get out and do things even if no one is with me, I’m not going to miss out on things I love because people are busy or there is no one to do them with. Traveling alone is magical, spent the day yesterday in San Francisco by myself. Walked up and down hills, ate ice cream and donuts, sat by the bay. Had wine at the MarketBar for dinner. Loving myself and feeling so happy. :)

  75. Jaymie says...

    I tried to do Paris solo and my good friend crashed. I’ve done Belize and the Dominican Republic solo and loved it!

  76. L.R. says...

    Great post! I’ve traveled alone in India, Morocco, Spain, and England. There is nothing I love more than wandering around a new city by myself. Even when I’m visiting friends and family, I try to have at least an afternoon to explore on my own. I wish I could do it more.

  77. Elisabeth says...

    This sounds like heaven right about now.

  78. Twyla says...

    My dream!! I would LOVE to take a trip by myself but my husband isn’t in love with that idea… Although I do get to travel a couple of times a year for work (each time a different Canadian city) and I thoroughly enjoy my solo time!

  79. Melissa says...

    I am taking myself to a concert in Toronto next week! My coworkers all think I’m a little insane, but I love my own company and am kind of relishing the chance to spend a few days wandering the city and doing whatever I want, whenever I want.

  80. Eva says...

    I traveled alone this summer to eastern Europe–Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Poland–and had a blast. I got lonely sometimes, but that wasn’t a bad thing. The one thing that I was sometimes reluctant to do was to go to nightclubs (in Budapest and Krakow) alone, especially if I’d have to be walking back by myself, but more for the worry that I’d get lost than anything else.

    I hiked the Tatras mountains in eastern Slovakia alone, and also did the hikes to different castles and churches in Slovakia, which I found was really powerful and one of my favorite experiences, and I don’t think I would have had it any other way. This summer, alone: Sri Lanka.

  81. Annette says...

    I started 2015 off on 1/1 by going on a solo trip. It wasn’t my first, but I did find that I was lonely. I’m an extrovert, and found myself becoming more lonely as the trip went on. That being said, I’m not opposed to going alone, because my friends don’t seem to have the time or funds to join me!
    I loved this beautiful post….it inspired me to move forward and not wait. As a two-time breast cancer survivor, I will no longer wait and will just go do!

  82. Meghan says...

    Yes! It is my favorite!!!

  83. Peg says...

    I was exploring Paris by myself a bunch of years ago and happened upon the most amazing Miro exhibit at the Pompidou. It was glorious to take all the time I wanted with each painting. The art gallery is where I always want to be by myself.
    As a side note, whenever in Paris, always go to the Georges Pompidou! The next time I went, I happened upon a Lucien Freud exhibition! I almost died!

  84. Sarah says...

    Would Kate be willing to share her itinerary, or parts of it? It sounds like a dreamy trip, and so brave. Thanks for sharing this post!

  85. Megan | Denton & Lou says...

    I did exactly the same, in Paris, except I stayed for 3 months by myself while my Husband stayed in Australia. It was the most difficult, but rewarding experience ever. Having always tried to make everyone happy and push them towards their own goals and dreams it was a huge step to do something for myself. It didn’t break us, we are both so happy that we can take paths we want and come back together every time. So happy for your friend… what a fabulous birthday present to herself :)

    Megan || Denton & Lou

  86. Sarah says...

    my heart is calling me to do this. thank you :)

  87. Zoe says...

    This post made me so nostalgic for my solo travels! For nearly 10 years I would pick a country and take a trip by myself, mostly in Europe, which I call Disneyworld for adults. The trips were glorious, and I don’t say that in hindsight. I remember thinking they were glorious at the time! The author is right – your itinerary is your partner in crime, as is your camera. “Where shall we go today, Camera?”

    My solo trips brought me so much joy, and so much pride. I could do this alone, and be happy. My 20s were hard, but those trips were the shining beacon.

    My only not-as-fun experience was traveling alone to Lake Como. That place is for lovers, and I felt my solitude a little too heavily on that trip.

  88. Janet says...

    I’ve surprised that traveling alone is a seeming novelty that needs to be probed into – I’ve been doing it since college! I feel like some of my best memories are traveling alone (even more so than trips with groups or family in many cases). London and Paris are two of my top picks for solo travel, but I’ve also done this in Asia and parts of the US (Florida, DC, NY). I can’t wait for my next solo trip!

  89. Margo says...

    Happy birthday, Kate! Loved reading about your experience.

    • Kate says...

      Thanks, Margo!

  90. Alice says...

    I’ve travelled in Nepal, Spain, Australia, China, and Thailand on my own and have loved every trip. I’ve travelled a lot for work in the past too. Now I have two small sidekicks I don’t think I’ll travel solo for a while, and I’m happy with that. I also love travelling with them, my husband, or friends.

    In general I think it’s about choosing the right kind of trip needed at the time. And Kate’s looks perfect. As does that outfit in the first picture!

    • Lo says...

      I loved Nepal too Alice!

  91. Lmn says...

    I did 10 days solo in Italy last September. It was mostly amazing. I planned far in advance, cause I love planning, and also did whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Including a nice afternoon bath, which I can’t remember the last time I had a true bath! The only time I got a little lonely was dinner, since as an extreme introvert I found it hard to meet people. But otherwise it was a fantastic experience and to echo others… I felt brave!

  92. I have been planning a solo trip to Paris glad to hear how well it went for you!


    • Kate says...

      It was wonderful! Enjoy your trip!

  93. When I was 25 I moved to Paris by myself to go to Le Cordon Bleu. I was quite shy in my 20’s and I felt lonely a lot, but it was also a great learning experience and something that, in retrospect, I wouldn’t have missed. I did gain a lot of weight because I would sit in my studio alone and eat the pastries I learned to make that day. I’ve never gone on vacation alone, but it does sound appealing, especially now that I’m 40 and much more outgoing! :)

  94. As much as I love traveling with my husband, traveling solo really allows me to sit back and reflect more on everything. So much about traveling with another person has to do with compromise, so in many ways, I prefer to travel alone because you get to do only what you want to do. Guilty of being selfish :)

  95. Beautiful! Loved this.

  96. Jill says...

    Last year I spent a week and a half solo on the Big Island of Hawaii, and met other travellers everywhere I went – the beach, restaurants, stand-up paddleboarding. I recommend staying in a guest house or small hotel, where you can have privacy when you want it but there are always people to chat with and compare notes with over breakfast. I love travelling alone, and find it opens me up to new experiences in exactly the way this writer describes. This year – a week solo in Mexico City!

  97. My first solo trip was in November 2012 and I had four days in Lourdes, France – it was beautiful and I loved it. My second, and possibly my last, was in January 2015 when I spent four days in Barcelona, Spain – I was so sad, I got sick, it was really hard. I love my own company but a friend at the wedding I attended in Belgium (I’m an Aussie) before going to Barcelona said, “Why aren’t you coming to visit me instead?” and I realised afterwards that I wish I’d gone and been pampered by friends.

  98. I just took my first solo trip EVER!
    I recommend it to anyone for a short little getaway trip.
    I went nerd out in New Zealand (read: visit Hobbiton & Glow Worm caves) and hired a car and just drove around sightseeing but I napped when I wanted, ate when I wanted, sat at the top of a hill for an hour when I wanted.
    As a bit of an introvert I probably spoke to about 5 people the whole time and it was perfect :)

  99. Kath Cremer says...

    When in my early 30’s I found myself spending just a night alone in Paris. I’m an Aussie girl and I happened to be meeting my Irish friend there a day after I arrived. She was teaching French to a bunch of mature age women and taking them there on a French immersion weekend. I caught the Eurostar from London and arrived at Gare du Nord. I hadn’t really planned much apart from where I was staying so I had to figure out everything when I got there. I had to quickly establish out how to get French coins and use the pay toilette at the station (no pay toilets in Australia!), hop off and on trains when I noted I was going in the wrong direction etc. I went out for dinner alone and ordered with my rusty school girl French. It was scary but the best and I looked at Paris with much more open “soak everything up eyes” than I would have if I was there constantly chatting to a buddy.

  100. I love this!

  101. Jo Chan Smith says...

    Love this post! I did pretty much the same thing – I was in Salzburg, Austria, the day I turned 30, thousands of miles from home (Australia!), and my husband! I was completely alone and did whatever I liked, and I still consider it the best day of my life! (And yes, I’m a huge introvert!!)
    I remember my mother in law was aghast that I would choose to travel on my own. I was solo for about 10 days. Admittedly I missed my husband after a few days – I wanted someone to enjoy things with, and especially, to laugh with! As planned he joined me in Austria for my last 3 days there and our reunion was pretty memorable! Now that we have a child I really don’t know if I’ll ever travel solo again. Thanks so very much for this post, for helping me relive my solo trip!

  102. Annie says...

    I love traveling solo; I find it extremely liberating and empowering. In February I took a week-long solo trip to Oaxaca, Mexico and let it unfold by the day. I ended up saying yes to everything, meeting wonderful people and having a jam-packed, refreshing getaway. I highly recommend it to anyone! Once you start, it’s hard to stop!

  103. I’m always impressed by the frequency and relevance of your posts. some of the best articles on the whole Web. Also, Paris looks amazeballs.

  104. hokidoki13 says...

    I love it and had done it many many times as part the many month-long biz trip to Asia. It can get lonely sometimes but i make sure i have high level plan so i know where to go, what to eat. i am proud to say that i’ve seen the Great Wall, Forbidden City and climbed up Taipei 101 all on my company’s dime

  105. How fitting! I’m going to Europe (Copenhagen) for the first time, and my husband is leaving me for four days to go on a kayaking trip before I meet him back up in Stockholm. I decided on a whim yesterday to book a solo flight to Paris for a couple of days, AND I AM SO EXCITED. I’m an introvert, who has always been unbearably shy and dependent. But the past several months I’ve been finding a new found independence and a joy in doing things on my own. I’m only there for such a short stay, but the sun doesn’t go down til nearly 10pm during the Paris summer, so I’m going to do EVERYTHING I WANT and hope to check out some of her itinerary. :)

  106. Kelli P. says...

    I haven’t traveled alone in years. Years! But since my daughter turned 2, I’ve really been thinking about having a solo adventure. After my acupuncturist (literally) poked and prodded me about doing something for myself, and knowing my husband was supportive, I booked a hotel in NYC for 5 days in July. To say I’m excited is putting it mildly.

  107. I travel alone all the time. I am single, so if I waited for a partner all the time I’d never get anywhere! Over the years I’ve traveled alone in India, Thailand, Capetown, Paris, London, Rome, all over Italy, China, Australia, etc. I sometimes wish I had someone with me, to share things with, but I’ve never regretted any trip by myself, and I love being the master of the day.

    • Jade says...

      I am in the exact same boat! Maybe if I had a partner it would be a different story but I have travelled by myself around New York, Paris, London, Wales, Maui, Ireland, India, Indonesia & Italy and have loved every second.
      As a young woman I was at times really self conscious- but I think travelling solo for me has always been an incredibly empowering experience. I have seen musicals, hiked volcanos and visited temples alone. The freedom and sense of accomplishment that comes with navigating a late night bus network in a country in a language you don’t know or kayaking for hours to an remote island serves as a constant reminder to myself when I get overwhelmed in day to day life ‘I can do this.’

    • corina says...

      I love the way you say that if you waited for someone you’d never have gotten anywhere. I think the same way. I think travelling alone is a blessing and not everyone knows how to enjoy it. I might say that people are afraid. Afraid of themselves that is…

    • Emma says...

      Hi Anne, I feel exactly the same! I recently spent a year in Canada on my own on a teaching exchange from Australia. At the end of this I took three months long service leave (all paid- a great Aussie perk!)and travelled from Toronto through Boston, New York and down through Central America and back up again, all on my own. I met up with people when I wanted to, and travelled with them, but mostly I was on my own, relishing the opportunity to spend each day at my own pace. I never felt lonely, but at times, as you mentioned, wished I had a someone with me to share the experience. However, I just never want being single to prevent me from going to all the places, experiencing all the things I want to do. It makes you feel so confident being out in the world with only yourself to rely on. I love it!
      Good on you Kate!

  108. Amy says...

    I’m an introvert stay-at-home mom with three kids under five, so even somewhere much less glamorous than Paris would be amazing to visit alone!

  109. Lindsay G. says...

    Outstanding (and inspiring) post, thank you!

  110. Kim says...

    Great timing! I’m in the middle of traveling solo through Mexico for a month – it’s so much safer here than Americans imagine, given the media. I’ve only traveled solo as an adult and a few years back spent five months jumping around China and India. If anyone is considering it, I wholeheartedly encourage trying solo travel, even as a female! All it takes is courtesy, an ability to laugh at one’s own cultural mistakes, and common sense (no heavy drinking or drugs, no staying out super late, and letting the hotel/hostel know your plans for the day).

  111. Beth says...

    I took a trip to Cincinnati for work a few months ago and took a mini-road trip to Louisville during my trip. That road trip, though only 6 hours total will stick with me for a long time since it was so relaxing. I picked the music, I picked the pitstops, I picked when to pull off the road to take pictures of a beautiful bridge. It was lovely.

    Though I was there for a conference, I was able to explore Cincinnati the way I wanted to, go for a run around lunchtime if I felt like it, and troubleshoot problems by myself. I love traveling with my husband, but there is nothing as relaxing as traveling by yourself. It forces you to stick up for yourself (instead of pawning it off on a spouse or travel companion), make decisions, and navigate in ways that traveling with someone just won’t let you do. You realize how much you’re truly capable of!

  112. jeannie says...

    I totally loved this post. I would love to go to Paris – even solo after reading this. The thought of riding a bike in the gardens at Versailles sounds totally appealing. On one hand, I might miss sharing experiences which reinforces the enjoyment, but it would be liberating! Thank you!

  113. Melissa says...

    After graduating high school, I spent a month in Spain. I traveled to Europe again for a few weeks (at 30) before getting married – sort of a solo bachelorette party.

    Both trips were magical. I absolutely loved the luxury of being responsible only to myself. The first trip, I enrolled in a language immersion course to meet fellow travelers. More recently, I had wonderful Couchsurfing experiences in Barcelona, Lisbon, Paris and Amsterdam – each host so unique and wonderful!

  114. Steph says...

    I looove this.

  115. Yay for you Kate! I love to read about solo lady travelers. I’m doing 3 weeks on my own this summer in Sri Lanka and I am simply delighted about the prospect! I will say my poor mother is so nervous about me being abducted but I think she’s also proud of what she calls my adventurous spirit :)

  116. Roxana says...

    Brava to Kate! Lovely interview. What a great way to enter into your thirties!

    Every year in college and for a few years after I’d go visit my grandfather in Southern Florida. I’d spend the day at the beach by myself, meet-up with him for dinner and then go out by myself (the mall, the movies, a book store, etc.). I loved it. I wasn’t REALLY by myself, but I was away and out-of-touch from everyone else I’d typically see. It was a nice break. One year it really helped me work through boy/man issues.

    I think it is very healthy to spend time alone for a week or more; especially on a trip. You can really learn about yourself. Wish I could do this someday, but I think I’d miss my husband and kids too much after a day or two :).

  117. Aidel.K says...

    Could someone comment on traveling in these places (mentioned in the post + comments) with respects to language? Do you speak the native language at all? I could see taking taxis everywhere, but it would be difficult to navigate public transportation (for instance).

    • I don’t speak french but the Paris subway system is a breeze and so so convenient! Most people in Paris will flip to English as soon as they hear your accent even if you attempt a few words in French. I’ve been around most of Europe and not had problems since Europeans 1) often speak English and, or 2) are very used to tourists that do not speak their language.

    • courtney says...

      I also didn’t know French and navigated their transit/city without any big issues (though I was not as successful in finding Parisians who spoke English). I also navigated Barcelona on my own (but had an elementary understanding of Spanish). I am about to head to multiple cities where I’m not familiar with the language, but I’m not terribly concerned (I’ll come equipped with some vocab + perhaps an app) because the cities are popular (Amsterdam, Prague, Vienna, Berlin). I’ll definitely use their public transit. I would be more concerned if I were going into the countryside/less touristy places.

    • Julie says...

      There are also some great apps that can help you with languages. In Florence I went to the food market and ordered prosciutto, bread, cheese, all using halting and broken Italian with the help of an app that would say basic pronounciation for you. It was one of my best travel experiences. The butcher was patient and didn’t switch to English and it made me so proud. A lot of my friends who have traveled to places with little to no English use a lot of hand gestures and try and pick up a few words. It’s part of the fu !
      Also, for travel, theres now uber, so you can put in your destination before being picked up!

  118. Thank you, Kate, for sharing your experience! Traveling by myself is one of my favorite things to do, but sometimes people look at me like I am so crazy when I say I enjoy traveling alone. My first trip by myself was when I was 23 and I went to Lisbon for the weekend. Since then I’ve been to Florence and Tuscany, Costa Rica and Buenos Aires. My sister was actually supposed to go to BA with me, but she canceled. Everyone expected me to cancel too, but why would I say no to a great experience simply because no one would travel with me? It was a reflective and great experience for personal growth, and highly recommend it to others!

  119. I enjoyed reading this so much. Good work Kate! Time alone really does make you sit with yourself and think about what it is you want and enjoy. This post reminded me of when I was a teenager and my sister told me that she went to a movie by herself. I was so shocked at the time and thought it was so incredibly brave of her. She said she loved it because she got to choose the movie, snacks, and seat that she wanted without any hassles or compromises. She also told me she felt more engrossed in the movie than she would have had she gone with friends. Reflecting on it now, I’m not sure she had the choice to go alone or if she just couldn’t find anyone to go with her (the movie she wanted to see was a B rated Johnathan Taylor Thomas movie called Wild America). In any event, I was in awe that she did it.

    It’s funny how doing things alone can feel scary whether as a teenager or as an adult, but the thrill and empowerment of solo time is so worth it. Whenever I’ve had adventures alone, the phrase, “wherever you go, there you are,” often enters my mind.

  120. Martha says...

    One of my favorite posts ever! I’ve been hemming and hawing about taking a trip to Paris on my own. Now I won’t delay. Carpe diem. Thanks for sharing your travel story with us!
    Now, what comfortable and stylish shoes did you wear?