Traveling alone is the new traveling with your partner.
Well, maybe that’s a stretch. But it is a thing more people are doing, regardless of their designated Relationship Status™.
A Visa travel survey last year found that the number of “first-time solo travelers” nearly doubled last year. There’s no one single cause for this renewed sense of independence, but one can certainly point to some contributing factors: A rise in dual-income households means more disposable income but also more difficulty making schedules cooperate. Americans are both getting married and having children at older ages than ever. Overseas travel is more affordable than ever.
All that hypothesizing does not, however, necessarily make for a significant other who is as excited about your adventure as you are. There’s no easy way to break the news. So head in prepared.
Step 1: Tell her, “Everybody’s doing it.”
Twenty-four percent of people traveled solo on their most recent vacation, and that number is on the rise, tripling since 2013. While we may think of the one-man traveling show as a perk of bachelorhood, these days it’s more and more acceptable to do it while in a committed relationship.
"We're seeing a sea change in the way many boomers and seniors are traveling," says Kara O'Toole, CEO of Overseas Adventure Travel, who specialize in solo travel. “Married couples no longer feel the need to take every trip with their spouse or partner, and this frees them to explore parts of the world that might interest them, but not necessarily their significant other.”
Step #2: Honesty is the best policy
The elephant in the room here? The possibility of infidelity. So address it. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Create a space for calm, comfortable conversation. And highlight the importance of independence and maturity. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Step #3: Compromise
Understand — and be OK with the fact — that your admission may mean your partner will also want to travel solo. Hell, with different work schedules, interests and possibly a couple kids in tow, taking turns having a week abroad might be the best gift you can give one another.
Step #4: Go-Time
Travel companies have already wised up to the fact that more people are traveling alone than ever before. The UK’s Solos Vacations recently launched a U.S. arm. Orbitz and TripAdvisor both have filters specifically designed for the single fella. Cruise companies are adding more cabins for one — take the Majestic Line, which houses seven suite cabins for solitary sailors.
Step five: Keep in touch
Travelling alone is exhilarating. The people you meet, the places you go ... You’re going to want to do it all again. So don’t mess it up. Ring home at least once a day. Tell her you miss her and you can’t wait to see her soon.