Solo Traveler blog

Solo, but not alone!

Alex Shaked
by Alex Shaked

March 18, 2022

4 minute read

The first time I boarded a plane by myself was for an international flight. I was about 17 years old, on my way to visit my grandparents in Portugal. It was exhilarating, but also a little scary.

While I grew up around Portuguese speaking people, I never took to the language. It was a sore point with my family, and like most things at this stage in my life, it was truly embarrassing. Deep down, I knew that the flight staff would be bilingual, but I still sat uncomfortably shifting through my tiny vocabulary in my mind.

Obrigada (thank you). Bom dia (good day). Bom tarde (good evening). Desculpa (I’m sorry). Direita (right; I didn’t know left). Entrada (entrance). Sumol ananás (the pineapple flavor of my favorite Portuguese soda; definitely try it if you get the chance).

When the flight attendants made their first round, they asked in Portuguese if I wanted anything to drink, and when I fumbled with my soda order, my lack of language skill was immediately apparent, and they started speaking English to me instead. Thus ended my anxiety about trying to get help on board the aircraft. I had been to the Lisbon airport before so navigating baggage claim was a no brainer for me, and after that I would have the support of my loving local grandparents.

That was my first time really doing anything out in the world by myself, and the moments leading up to and following the Soda Order Debacle were so enjoyable. After my parents dropped me off at the airport, I had hours to poke around the shops without anyone with me to complain about it. I didn’t have to compromise on where I would be stopping for lunch; there was no uncomfortable “well, what do you want to eat” dance with my family. On the plane, once my Portuguese speaking inefficiencies had been discovered, awkward teenager Alex was able to be overly apologetic in the language she was most comfortable with. After walking into the airport after the 7ish hour flight, I was relieved to be joining up with family after having enough of a taste of freedom.

I always think about that experience when I think about solo guided travel. I haven’t gone on tour alone yet, but I look forward to the day I can. Because it really offers you the best of both worlds: You have companionship and support in a new place, but you also have the flexibility to do what you want (with expert guidance, if you want it) when free time presents itself.

If you’re still unsure, here are some top reasons to take a solo tour:

· Collette handles the details! When you’re on tour with Collette, you don’t have to worry about catching the next train or having to queue up in line to see a busy landmark. You can focus on meeting new people or developing your independence in a new place because the less enjoyable legwork will be done before you walk out of your front door at home.

· You’ll have an expert Tour Manager. Your TM will be there for you every step of the way. They’re experts in their destinations, so whether they’re sharing incredible, little-known facts about where you’re headed next, or giving you tips and directions to hidden gems to check out during your free time, you’ve got support at your side. And they will share the best the world has to offer with you!

· Meeting new people. Immediately, you have things in common with the people in your group. You all enjoy seeing the world, experiencing new things, and you all chose the same destination as the backdrop to your next travel story. The beauty is that you joined this tour alone, but you’re going to be around people who have similar interests and can share in the excitement with you.

· It’s your time to do what you want. When you book a tour by yourself, it’s truly your time to shine. You don’t have to compromise on which excursion to pick as a part of the It’s Your Choice program. You don’t have to compromise on which optional tours to book. You don’t have to compromise on what you do with your free time. The choices are entirely yours to make.

If there’s a destination on your bucket list calling out to you and the only thing stopping you is not having an excited travel partner, consider going on tour! With any luck, maybe I’ll catch you there and we can be alone together.

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