View a new place from a completely different perspective when you’re not encumbered by the demands of kids and family, and the various different wishes of friends. You have no one to please but yourself when you decide to wing it solo!
Not so long ago, travel/holidays in India meant visiting one’s ‘native place’, or at most visiting relatives in different cities. We’ve certainly come a long way since then. Not only does India offer up a magical smorgasbord of options: from lazy beaches to tough treks in the mountains; cultural tourism to eco tourism; we now have an array of options for singles looking to travel on their own. Solo travel is a great idea for many reasons.
Please only yourself: As one CNN travel expert says, “You discover who you are when no one is looking.” You can really be yourself and please yourself when traveling alone. Love a place? Stay a day (or few) longer! Feeling lazy one day? Go nowhere, do no sightseeing. Vegetate in your hotel room with just the TV and room service for company, or laze all day by the pool reading. You get to create your own itinerary which is not possible if there are several other people to please.
Skip a meal if you so want! This is never possible when traveling with kids, who are typically fussy eaters. You don’t have to search for a McDonald’s; you can discover charming little local eateries and sample some genuine local cuisine.
Meet new people and make new friends (if you want): When you travel with family and/or friends, it is far less likely that you will approach or be approached by others. Solo travel permits you to get to know the local people a little bit; you get to experience a bit of the local lifestyle and culture. It also lets you mingle with other solo travelers or groups who may be holidaying in your hotel or area.
Increasingly, in India, we now have people offering homestay options where you get to stay in a home with a local family. This can be very convenient and safe for solo travelers, plus inexpensive too. Check out websites such as Airbnb, Funstay.in, TripVillas, GuestHouser and others to book an entire holiday home or a part of it.
Get to really know a place and its people: Without the demands and distractions of whiny kids who want to visit amusement parks and friends who want to go clubbing, you can genuinely explore a new and unfamiliar place. Hire a cycle one day. Head out on foot the next. Head off the beaten path; explore interesting looking nooks and unfrequented non-touristy looking places.
Get recommendations from local people or read up on TripAdvisor about the dos, don’ts and not-to-be-missed attractions of a place and really get to know about a place, its cuisine, the people and their language, and the local music.
Yes, it’s safe! This is always an issue, isn’t it, especially if you’re a woman traveling alone. According to a survey conducted by Makemytrip.com, nearly half of all women felt safe traveling alone in and outside India. Increasingly, women are traveling on their own or in all-women groups (check out the many groups on Facebook), or as part of organized tours by popular travel agencies and portals. According to the survey, Goa is the most favorite travel destination, followed by Ladakh, Himachal, Rajasthan and Kashmir.
But of course…selfies! Take your own pictures, create your own memories. Take panoramic shots of the places you visit, photograph the local monuments, use a selfie stick or don’t! Gone are the days when you posed for a picture and asked random strangers ‘photo please?’ so you could have the definitive holiday/family picture. With your point and shoot camera and the will to travel, the world is your oyster!