Solo Traveler Snapshot
- Name: Lori H.
- Age: 59
- Location: Wisconsin
- Marital Status: Married
- Favorite Solo Trip: Paris
Lori H. went all in on solo travel once her husband decided to put away his suitcase. For her, solo traveling is as much about learning about herself as the destinations she is visiting. She encourages everyone to try it whether you travel to the far reaches of the earth or the next town over.
Solo Traveler Inspiration
TravelAwaits: What inspired you to travel solo?
Lori: I realized once I hit my 40s that I developed an intense need to experience and see the world outside my rural town. I wanted to see museums, eat amazing food, feel the excitement of a big city like Chicago. My husband did not feel the same way. The older he got, the less he wanted to travel, and now not at all. I let fear hold me back for a long time until the longing grew bigger than the fear. I decided if I wanted to fulfill my dream of traveling, I would probably need to do it on my own.
First Solo Trip
TravelAwaits: What was your first solo trip?
Lori: My dream was to visit Paris for what seemed like forever. In 2003, I started a little savings account to accomplish that goal. By 2010, I had plenty saved and decided the time was right. Unfortunately, none of my friends or family would go along, so I started researching traveling to Paris as a solo female traveler. Not long after, I found out a local TV news anchor was hosting a group tour — a week in Paris! My husband suggested I do that. I would be solo in that I knew no one on the tour, but I had the security of being in a group. I signed up for that trip a few days later. So, while this wasn’t necessarily totally solo, it felt like it since I had spent months researching like I was going on my own.
Favorite Aspect Of Solo Travel
TravelAwaits: What is your favorite part of traveling solo?
Lori: Aside from the feeling of empowerment I get from traveling solo, I love that I can do what I want when I want. If I want to spend an hour on a bench people watching while nibbling a pain au chocolat, I can. I can wander in and out of shops all day. If I want to sit at the campsite reading all day, I can. It’s a freeing feeling.
Favorite Solo Trip
TravelAwaits: What is your favorite solo trip so far and why?
Lori: Really, all the trips I’ve taken solo have been my favorite in different ways, but I would say that first trip to Paris. It literally changed my life. Being a shy introvert, I have always been afraid to put myself out there. The person I was became different. I gained a confidence I had never had before. I felt more myself walking the streets of Paris by myself than I had ever felt before. Although I didn’t know any of my fellow travelers on that tour before, I found my people and formed a lifelong friendship with some, including the TV anchor that was the host. That trip would be the springboard for everything good that has happened in my life since. Anytime I take the train to Chicago for a day or weekend is a favorite, and last year, I car camped from Wisconsin to Gulf Shores Alabama solo. That was a favorite too.
Biggest Solo Travel Concern
TravelAwaits: What was your biggest concern before your first solo trip and how did you overcome it?
Lori: I was afraid it would not live up to my expectations. Would I get lost exploring on my own? Safety was also a concern. I had heard a lot about pickpockets and scams. As far as the pickpockets, I was careful to keep my bag in front of me, always zippered, and holding it with a firm grip. I never got lost, and the trip far exceeded my expectations in every way.
Group Or Independent Travel
TravelAwaits: Do you travel with a group or independently and why?
Lori: Now, I travel mostly independently or with a friend. If I am camping, sometimes it’s with a group of ladies. I would consider group travel again if I were traveling internationally. Each situation is unique. I enjoy exploring places on my own, but would love to explore Italy with a small group of women. Can’t you just picture long Italian dinners, lots of wine, and laughter among a group of like-minded women?
Recommended Tour Company
TravelAwaits: Do you have a favorite group tour company for solo travelers?
Lori: There are several women-only small group tours. My first was a large group (40+ people). One advantage to that was, as an introvert, you can keep to yourself if you’d like.
Favorite Travel Product
TravelAwaits: What is one product you cannot live without on your trips?
Lori: The one thing I cannot live without may be automatic, but it’s my phone. It has served me well with GPS, no matter if I’m driving or walking in a city. I have a Kindle app on it, so I can read a book while I’m dining solo. I purchase an international data sim card for my phone through Cellhire if I am traveling internationally.
I Wish I Would Have Joined A Group For This Trip…
TravelAwaits: Is there a solo location/destination that would have been better in a group and why?
Lori: I would say anytime you want to travel internationally, especially for a first visit or not knowing the language, group travel is a perfect way to do it. Solo travel requires a lot of research in preparation, which can be overwhelming for some. That first trip to Paris with a group served as an introduction to a return trip 5 years later. I took notes so I would remember how to navigate the metro and the airport.
Best Advice For Solo Travelers
TravelAwaits: What advice would you give someone who is considering solo travel?
Lori: Start small. Maybe go to a movie or restaurant by yourself. Visit a nearby place you’ve always wanted to go to. Get inspiration by following blogs of other solo travelers. Join a Facebook group for solo travelers. Get a little comfortable being uncomfortable. I have a bit of fear every time I travel or camp solo. You can follow me at Lori Loves Travel.
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