Guide to Safe and Fun Solo Travel after Divorce
After divorce, you’re renegotiating your identity and finding a new place in the world. You’re left to discover who you are now without the label of “spouse” to weigh you down.
Adventure awaits in your new life, but it can be difficult to see that after a major life transition like divorce. Traveling solo to a new place where nobody knows you or what you’re going through can be liberating and help jumpstart a new sense of peace and independence.
Traveling alone after divorce
A fresh start is difficult when you’re surrounded by reminders. And after divorce, everything can remind you of the past. The simplest things can trigger feelings of loss, anger, betrayal, and heartbreak. This can be even more acute when you face holidays and vacation time on your own for the first time.
It may help to get away from the usual landscape of your daily life for a while can help reset your attitude and remind you of your strength and resiliency. It can also remind you of the big world out there that you put on hold while you were focused on the bubble of your marriage.
Taking baby steps
If you’ve never traveled alone before, the idea may sound a bit out of your comfort zone. So, take baby steps on your first solo trip. Devise a trial run with an in-state weekend away. Finding your balance before you head out on a longer trip may take a few practice runs and a little time, but it’s worth the effort so you won’t become overwhelmed when you’re further from home.
Get comfortable with shopping, sightseeing, and going to restaurants alone. Practice asking for directions. Find your voice, and remember how easy it is to talk to others when your conversation isn’t focused on one other person.
Scary? Maybe. But if your well-being needs a nudge, what better way to boost your self-esteem and rediscover who you are than immersing yourself in new surroundings with new experiences and people?
Travel tips to enhance your safety
Being mindful of your safety will take practice if you’re new to traveling alone or with your children. Consider these tips before heading out solo:
- Prepare ahead of time. Do your research, carefully planning an itinerary with concise directions. While it may be fun to get lost when you’ve already established your sense of place, not knowing your surroundings can put you in areas that might be dangerous for you as a single traveler.
- Enroll in STEP. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) allows you to register your trip outside the country with the U.S. Department of State. You’ll receive important information about the country you are traveling to. It also allows your family, through the U.S. Embassy, to contact you in case of an emergency.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Know what is happening around you at all times. Don’t look at maps or your phone unless it's necessary. This will distract you from the people around you and identify you as a lost tourist.
- Keep in contact with others. Plan periodic check-ins with people back home so they know where you are, what you’re doing, and know to jump into action if they don’t hear from you.
- Don’t over-share with strangers. While you want to be friendly, you also don’t know the ulterior motives of others, no matter how nice they seem.
- Safeguard valuables while traveling. Don’t travel with unnecessary valuable items, and keep those you must travel with close to you at all times. Don’t set things down where a passer-by could easily grab them. Keep copies of your passport and any ID in a separate place in the event that they are stolen.
- Behave in a common-sense manner. Pay attention to your alcohol consumption, and always watch your drink in a public setting. Check in with your gut. If you're feeling uncomfortable, get to a crowded place, and interject yourself into a group. Ask for help.
- Dress like a local. Dressing like a tourist is a surefire way of screaming that you’re alone and out of your element.
- Be careful about what you share online. Not only are you traveling alone, but your home is now unattended. Sharing this broadly means others know you’re away from home. Check in with a security app periodically, and ask a trusted friend or family member to look in on your home while you’re gone.
Travel tips to enhance your fun
A solo trip can be exhilarating, fun, and empowering for a newly single person. Now, you can make all the decisions about how to spend your time without having to consider another person.
But be aware that old feelings can creep in, and you may have moments of feeling lonely and unsure of yourself. Creating new grooves to overcome the old well-worn ones will take time and practice.
What is it that sparks your soul that you’ve put up on the shelf throughout your marriage? Now, it’s yours to embrace.
- Live like the locals. Immersing yourself in the local culture and traditions lets you get a deeper understanding of the people and their way of life in your new surroundings. If you only stay in tourist-designated areas, you’ll only experience what typical tourists see and do. Many travel and home-sharing sites offer culturally immersive ideas and experiences for you to choose from.
- Find local tours that highlight your interests. Architecture? Art? Museums? Food? Wine? No matter your particular interest, you’re bound to find some local guided and walking tours that highlight these interests and even allow you to make friends with like-minded others..
- Be flexible and open to new experiences. While your itinerary is a great tool, the best guidebooks can’t prepare you for the spontaneous experience of a lifetime if you’re open to it.
- Give yourself downtime for self-nurturing. Being busy is good, but being too busy can set you up for overwhelm when you least expect it. Pay attention to what your body and emotions are telling you, and honor those messages.
- Consider traveling alone/together. If solo sounds TOO alone for you, there are lots of group travel options specifically designed for single travelers. Group trips with a travel company to "bucket list" locations are a great way to experience a destination that you may be concerned about traveling to as a solo traveler.
After your divorce, traveling alone can be freeing and uplifting when done right. Give yourself the gift of fun and empowerment, and watch your confidence grow.
At Hello Divorce, we know that divorce is more than a legal transaction. It is a whole-life transformation, and we are committed to helping you through it from start to finish. From our divorce plans to our flat-rate professional services to our expansive library of informational resources, we are there for you each step of the way.