Solo Travel: Why I Choose to Travel Without My Husband

April 10, 2015

Solo Travel: Why I Choose to Travel Without My Husband - Sweet and Savoring

Strangers cooking me dinner and sheltering me in Switzerland.

CouchSurfing hosts taking me in for an extra night when I missed my flight home from Milan, Italy.

Roaming around Isla de Ometepe in Nicaragua for several weeks, never minding that I slept in a hammock outside and woke up to the sound of howler monkeys and roosters.

Getting a heavily discounted meal in Seattle, Washington after some laughter-filled conversation with my waiter. 

Each of these things happened to me while I traveled alone. Solo travel is one of the richest, most rewarding experiences you can have. I steadfastly believed that when I was single throughout my twenties, and I still believe it today as a married woman.

Solo Travel: Why I Choose to Travel Without My Husband - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

Perhaps you believe that solo travel isn’t for you. Perhaps you believe that solo travel is what people do when they can’t find anyone to go with them. Or maybe it’s only for those who don’t like people. Or those who are single, but certainly not married. Why on earth would someone travel alone when they’ve got a husband/boyfriend/partner to go with them?

These are things I imagine people think about me, and of course I love to experience new places with my husband. But that’s not to say that I can’t still enjoy that passion I realized in my twenties. Solo travel is about seeing the world through my eyes, not through the filter of a traveling companion. It’s about exercising my independence, my choices, my desires.

Solo travel is about gaining self-confidence. Everything is up to me: I have to make all the decisions, figure out how to get everywhere, and I get to eat wherever I choose. I also own all of my mistakes, and  believe me, there are plenty.

Despite popular opinion, solo travel is heavy on social interaction. When we travel with others, whether it’s friends or family or a partner, we are wrapped up in them and don’t often invite conversation with locals or other travelers. When I travel alone, I learn all about my fellow solo travelers and relish in their travel stories. I learn about their home cities or countries; we exchange our experiences thus far and recommend activities to each other.

You know what else? Solo travel reminds me of my individuality. Marriage is a different sort of life: my life is entwined with my husband’s and I love how much we share. But I find that going off on my own is essential to my mental health and to the health of our relationship. I travel and I remember my own passions; I rediscover music that I haven’t listened to in a while. I write more, I pay closer attention to my own thoughts and linger longer at certain museum exhibits just because I can.

Solo Travel: Why I Choose to Travel Without My Husband - Sweet and Savoring

I love that I have found this thing that I love that is all mine. Solo travel fills me up with a warmth and lightness, and for that, I’m grateful. I’m grateful that I have the kind of supportive partner who helps me live my dreams without resentment or criticism.

I recommend traveling alone to all women, regardless of age or background or experience level. You can do this. If you feel called to travel, I promise that you won’t regret it.


I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. Today’s post is I for Independent Travel. I’ve also featured a fantastic hostel in Seattle, my frustrating delay at Birmingham Airport, and my memorable meals from my Seattle vacation last month.

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  • Pete April 11, 2015 at 2:27 am

    You don’t recommend travelling alone to men? Only women?

    • Christy April 11, 2015 at 8:44 am

      Hi! Of course I advocate solo travel for everyone, regardless of gender. I’m speaking from my own experience, which is as a woman 🙂

  • Rea April 11, 2015 at 2:54 am

    I love this Christy! I’ve gone to places alone but those are places that I’m already familiar of. I’m actually already planning to travel alone this year, not necessarily outside the country right away. I love what you said that it reminds you of your individuality because that’s what I think too when I go out alone and my husband is also very supportive of that.
    Rea recently posted…15 Things To Think About When BloggingMy Profile

    • Christy April 11, 2015 at 9:17 am

      Yay for supportive husbands! It’s so important for us as women to remember and affirm that we can have lives outside of our marriages, or our children. Starting within your own country is perfectly fine; I know there’s so much just within New York State that I still haven’t seen!

  • Anabel April 11, 2015 at 6:42 am

    I can see your point, but I still prefer to travel with a companion, usually my husband. We aren’t joined at the hip – we have lots of separate activities, but I like to spend my vacation time with him. Re recommending to women but not men, I assume your starting point to be that there are still more dangers to be considered for women in many parts of the world, so they are less likely to do it and need more encouragement, not that you’re not recommending it to men.
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    • Christy April 11, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Absolutely, Anabel, I love traveling with Andy, too. And yes, certainly from an American perspective I think female solo travel is something that still needs to be proven ‘safe’ (amazingly, even in the 21st century) and okay for us to do as independent women. I remember when I was 23 and on my first solo trip, it was *amazing* to meet another fellow American female. ‘Oh my gosh, you too?! I’m so happy to meet you! Everyone at home thinks I’m so crazy or so brave!’ etc etc. It was a big deal, and honestly it still is. If it wasn’t for the internet I wouldn’t be in touch with so many inspiring women who choose to travel alone, married or not.
      Yes, as a women alone we do have to be more aware and cautious than men do, but it’s no more different than being cautious about walking around a city alone in your home country. What I meant is that the fear/risk is the perception, not necessarily the reality. Of course I recommend solo travel for men; I recommend it for everyone! 🙂 (Hope this made sense, I’ve got so many thoughts on this and it’s hard to get them all down)

  • Arlee Bird April 11, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Other than long drives, it’s been many years since I traveled alone. I never minded it too much and like you say you can linger longer without having to think about traveling companions. The freedom can be nice.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Arlee Bird recently posted…Jokes and Jesus (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

    • Christy April 11, 2015 at 10:06 pm

      You’ve sent me back to my single days of taking long road trips by myself! I would hop in my car after work on a Friday and drive from NY to Montreal, or Cape Cod, or any number of nearby cities/states for the weekend. ‘Twas a fun time!

  • Jen April 11, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    I long ago decided that I wasn’t going to wait for someone to do things with me – if I wanted to do it, I was going to do it. If someone wanted to come along, great. If not – also great. I didn’t see any reason to change that when I got married. I’ve not done an really huge trips without my husband, but I make frequent small trips without him all the time. He doesn’t mind – worries about me a little but we are fairly indepentent anyway.
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    • Christy April 11, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      Hear, hear! I’m all for independence within relationships. The longest I’ve been away from my husband, Andy, is one week so far, but I’ve been dreaming lately of walking the Camino de Santiago through northern Spain. I think it takes five weeks? Believe me, the thought of it makes me miss him terribly, but it’s also so much fun thinking how happy we’ll be to see each other when I get back 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by, Jen, I appreciate it!

  • Amanda April 11, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    This is a great post and a sentiment I share with you 100% In 2006 my husband and I were married in April but had deferred our Honeymoon until October due to his work commitments and wanting warmer weather for our trip. A week after this a friend who had been living overseas decided she was moving back to Australia in July. I was 26, had never been overseas and had always planned on visiting this friend over in the UK. I also had friends working and studying in Finland and Ireland.

    My husband said if I wanted to go over and visit them all I should just do it. And so I did. Eight weeks after we were married I went on a 2 month trip to Europe. Yes some of this was staying with friends but much of it was on my own as they were working during the day and I wanted to make the most of my time away. I remember trying to figure out how to get around London on my own, how to ask if I was on the right bus in Helsinki when the driver spoke no English and feeling so proud of myself for ordering food in French in France. I grew up as a person on this trip as I had to rely on myself. Many of my husbands and I’s family and friends were stunned that he was “letting me go traipsing off all over Europe on my own when we had just gotten married”. He told them it wasn’t about “letting me go”, I didn’t need his permission, just his support to follow my dreams and heart. After all that is what real marriage is all about 🙂

    • Christy April 14, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      I’m so glad to find like- minded women through this post! Thanks for your support and sharing your story, Amanda. I haven’t been away from Andy for that long of a trip, but you never know what the future holds! I love that you shared what your husband thinks of your traveling, it’s the same with mine. Ditto to your last line! 🙂

  • Bev April 12, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    I’ve done a lot of traveling, but aside from a flight to a destination I’ll admit I’ve never done it alone. I guess it makes me nervous, but you do make it sound like a fantastic way to connect with the local culture and other travelers. I will say that when my husband and I went backpacking for 5 1/2 months together in South America I think we got pretty bored with each other at times and it was nice for us to have activities that we did separate from one another. It also helped us to interact more with other people, as it was so easy to just rely on each other for human connection which could be surprisingly lonely sometimes. One day I’ll have to try taking a trip somewhere by myself!

    • Christy April 14, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      My husband and I went on a 3 1/2 month trip in a camper van only a few months after we started dating, and there were LOTS of tough times. Interacting with other people is essential if you want to enjoy spending time with your partner!
      Being nervous is totally normal if you’re traveling alone! And thanks for that part about local culture- I’ve been composing a post in my head about the ins and outs of staying with locals and doing work exchanges, so this was motivation to actually start writing it 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by, Bev!

  • Skye April 13, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Christy, this is just so spot on for the reasons I travel alone! I’ve been doing it since I was 16, and was concerned what would happen when I got married. Nothing. 🙂 I still travel on my own and appreciate him and our nest when I am home. There are times he travels with me, and I love that!! But the traveling alone is my time to soar, to flap my wings and to see what I want/need. It refreshes me, heals me, and takes me deeper than I could go with someone else beside me. It is a cherished event for me, and I am grateful to have a husband that not only understands, but supports me. He told me when we first met that I am a bird, and I need to fly. That he will never cage me or clip my wings, he only wants to give me a nest to rest when I want it. He has upheld that for three years beautifully. Thank you for writing this!!

    • Christy April 14, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      I love that we both got married and still get to enjoy traveling solo! I also love this comment because it seems like you said everything I was trying to say in the post, but more eloquently 😉 Agree with everything you said. Thank you for FB sharing and taking the time to comment, it means so much to me!

  • Farin April 15, 2015 at 8:39 am

    I love how you worded this. I enjoy travelling with my husband, but can imagine that would change if his idea of a good vacation was different than mine. He plans them, simply because we tend to love all the same things. And whenever he wants to attend something that doesn’t interest me, he goes alone. And vice versa.

    Great opinion piece!


    • Christy April 15, 2015 at 9:57 am

      Yup, I hear you. I love how my husband and I are drawn to the same sights & activities most of the time. We love going on long drives and stopping to take pictures at whatever strikes our fancy, exploring abandoned places or cute little towns, and of course we both love visiting enticing bakeries for a treat midday! 🙂 Thanks, Farin!

  • Rachel G April 15, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Everyone has their ‘thing’, the sort of hobby that refreshes them–we all have different likes and needs. I absolutely do not enjoy solo travel. Even solo transit–the many times I’ve flown from the USA to Asia by myself are not among my best memories. I do travel without my husband, but generally with other family members, that suits my personality better.
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    • Christy April 16, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      I’m the first to admit that getting from place to place by myself can be extremely stressful! Somehow I keep doing it though, because I know that what’s ahead of me will make it worth it 🙂

  • Kam Kay April 18, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Reminds me of when I used to travel all by myself! What a fulfilling experience that is! Now that I am married, and my hubby is all for me traveling solo, as well as together. It’s fun multiplied! Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience.
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    • Christy April 20, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Yes, fun multiplied, nice way to put it 🙂 You’re welcome, and thanks for stopping by, Kam!

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  • Christan P April 28, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Very well said. Indeed married women do need to travel alone specially if they have kids. Sometimes you need to pamper yourselves and discover more about what you can do to be happy. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience.
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    • Christy April 30, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      I haven’t had kids yet, but I imagine that the me-time is even more necessary, since women’s identities get so wrapped up in motherhood. Thanks for stopping by, Christan 🙂

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