Embarking on a solo travel adventure can be exhilarating, but it can also trigger a wave of apprehension. For a while, I’ve grappled with the idea of setting out completely on my own because I’ve always found comfort in traveling with a companion. Even as an avid traveler and travel writer, the idea of a solo trip brings me anxiety.

Here’s insight into the reasons behind my hesitation and why I’m determined to overcome my fears this year.

Navigating Solo Travel as a Black Woman

My safety weighs heavily on my mind in general, especially as a Black woman. Therefore, thinking about traversing unfamiliar territory alone is unsettling. I can accept the reality of facing discrimination due to my skin color. But the physical danger I could possibly experience for being Black and a woman is nerve-wracking. I’ve often found solace in the presence of others, and knowing there’s someone watching my back. Despite this fear, I recognize solo travel is often done safely and happily. All it takes is a little responsibly with careful planning, research and awareness.

The Comfort of Companionship

Throughout my travels, I’ve always had the presence of a companion. It is a constant in my travels no matter if it’s a friend, family member or colleague. So, one of the toughest aspects of solo travel, for me personally, is the absence of a companion to share experiences with. There’s a certain joy in recounting adventures, sharing laughter, and creating memories with others that don’t happen when traveling alone. The idea of exploring new destinations without someone to share those moments with feels daunting. However, I welcome the feeling of being alone. In fact, I feel like solo travel opens up opportunities to connect with a diverse array of people along the way. There are moments I may encounter individuals with unique knowledge, passion, or talents that enrich my travel experience in ways I wouldn’t have access to if I were traveling with companions. These encounters are behind the beauty of solo travel, offering unexpected connections and enriching experiences that are uniquely my own.

Photo Credit: Alina Rudya/Bell Collective

Solo Travel’s Financial Toll

Let’s talk money! Another factor contributing to my hesitation is the financial aspect of solo travel. The idea of shouldering all expenses alone, from accommodation to meals and activities, is not a welcome adjustment. Splitting costs with a travel buddy has always made budgeting more manageable. And even though I can afford to travel alone, who doesn’t want to save some coins? Also, solo travelers often encounter the “solo tax” – an additional fee from certain companies or hotels, known as the single supplement. This means that you’re paying more for accommodations when traveling alone. Even with AirBnB’s, which predominantly caters to couples or families, solo travelers often find themselves having to pay up. Additionally, while some hotels offer single rooms, they tend to exceed the per-person cost of a double occupancy room. Despite the frustrating reality of the solo tax, there are strategies to reduce its impact. All in all, I’m focused on prioritizing experiences over expenses and finding creative ways to make solo travel financially accessible.

Embracing Solo Travel

Despite all my fears and uncertainties around solo travel, I’ve reached a realization: growth happens when we push past our comfort zones. So, this year, I’ve made a promise to myself to dive headfirst into the unknown and embark on my very first solo travel adventure. It’s definitely a leap of faith. But I’m determined to embrace this chance for self-discovery, empowerment, and an entirely new level of independence.