In my 20’s, I recall my opinion of people who traveled alone one of pity and sadness. How could anyone enjoy taking in all those wonderful sites by themselves? After one side trip to Paris en route to India on business, I gained a completely different insight on the topic and became a firm believer that when in the area, one should take in all they can.
As our bucket lists grow longer and life gets shorter, is it not better to go solo than not at all? A few benefits to traveling alone:No one questioning why you did or didn’t bring somethingNo waiting on anyone else to get readyNo compromising on another’s mood to see or not to see somethingEat/sleep when and where you wantMeet new people
Seeing other cities makes us more valuable, well-rounded professionals and, for me, a more appreciative Houstonian. The old adage about company being like fish…they both start to smell after a few days…holds validity. Try this win-win formula for connecting with friends afar:
- Let them know you’re coming to see their city and want to spend some time with them. Be prepared to stay in a hotel. If they invite you and it feels right to stay with them, take a nice gift and pick up every restaurant/museum tab possible. You’ll get to enjoy the friendship as well as a local’s inside scoop on the city.
- Be a low-maintenance houseguest. Stay no more than 65 hours. Three nights, two days.
- Leave the room as nice or nicer than you found it.
- Send a handwritten thank you note.
- Make your home open to them as well.
In order to have some connection with locals, one can always check out alumnae chapters. For example, in my hometown alone, members of a networking group for women have access to some 50-150 local members. The network also spans 6 countries and has several local chapters. I reached out to members in Phoenix and Portland, met for dinner and quickly learned where to and not to spend time with only two days to see each city.
To ease your way…
- Travel light-one carry-on
- Pack favorite snacks
It’s far better to have gone solo than not to have gone at all!
Helen Perry is a result-oriented consultant to companies and individuals desiring to heighten professional presence and productivity. Her awards include the 2013, 2014 Pinnacle and The BBB Award of Distinction in 2015. Please send questions regarding personal/professional image and branding to Helen Perry through her contact page. Contact Helen Perry.