As hard as it may be to believe: solo travel is not solely the domain of all the single ladies and men out there. You can be in a relationship and travel alone. In fact, I’ve written about travelling alone while in a relationship before here and what it was like to travel without my then-fiancé-now-husband.
The set of challenges that you face while travelling solo when you’re in a relationship is different to the set of challenges that you encounter when you travel solo as a singleton. It’s a lot harder having your better half at home, even if you are off exploring new pastures, because just as people get homesick and start missing their creature comforts, you’ll inevitably start pining for your partner’s company and even start missing their lame jokes—no, really. Loneliness can be even more of an issue and experiencing new things without your partner can often be bittersweet. Having a good WiFi connection becomes the holy grail as you navigate the sometimes tough terrain of keeping the lines of communication open. And of course, it is even harder for the person at home, dealing with the at-times monotonous nature of familiarity, without the stimulation of new buildings, different sounds and fresh smells to serve as a temporary distraction. It can be a tough gig, I’m not denying it.
But as difficult as it can be to get back into that state of being alone, it is so totally worth it. The words ‘solo travel’ may ignite fear in the depths of your soul and have you running straight into the protective embrace of your partner, but I can guarantee you that travelling on your lonesome will not only be good for you but also fantastic for your relationship. Travelling alone while in a relationship depends on trust and communication: the foundation for any rock-solid relationship.
I guess what I want to say is for anyone out there who is contemplating travelling alone without their partner: do it. I promise, hand over my heart, that you won’t regret it. I’ve even put together a list of the best places to travel alone when you’re in a relationship to provide you with some inspo—how about that!
The best places to travel alone (when you’re in a relationship)
Not only is Iceland one of the most breathtaking countries in the world, but it’s also one of the safest which is perfect for solo travellers. In fact, this spellbinding island is so safe that hitchhiking is a common occurrence. Rent a car and drive the Ring Road around the entire island—it is highly unlikely you’ll get lost which is perfect for a gal like me who relies on her partner to be her navigational system. You’ll also be so overwhelmed by the beauty of the rugged landscape that you won’t even have time to miss your other half (almost). Be forewarned: your partner may get mightily jealous when they see all of the stunning Instagram photos you’ll be posting every
2. Tokyo, Japan
If you’re searching for a city that will keep your mind thoroughly preoccupied, Tokyo has got to be a top contender. You’ll find it hard to focus on anything at all—let alone miss anyone!—with the daily sensory overload. The perpetual background noise of the pachinko parlours, flashing neon signs and swarm of pedestrians provide a constant distraction. There are so many different neighbourhoods to explore in this sprawling mega-metropolis, each area revealing another unique layer or subculture of this captivating city. Japan is also extremely safe and the crime rate is low, so there shouldn’t be any issues walking around on your lonesome even around the Kabukichō area in Shinjuku, which is Tokyo’s red light district. You’ll also be guaranteed to pick up some pretty unique souvenirs for your better half (gals, get your fellas anything from Akihabara for instant brownie points).
If you consider yourself to be more of an active adventure seeker, Peru is an ideal place to travel solo as there is no shortage of landscapes to gawk at and more than enough experiences to fill up your travel itinerary. Peru offers the full gamut from its dramatic scenery to its delectable Peruvian cuisine to its colourful culture and smiling locals. There are plenty of single-day and multi-day group tours offered by myriad tourism operators (you can probably guess that tourism is king in Peru) which may be an ideal way to explore this surprisingly sizeable and incredibly diverse Andean gem. Just remember: Pachamama (Mother Nature) constantly surrounds you in Peru, so you won’t ever be completely alone.
4. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest in an eclectic and multifaceted Eastern European city that will have you enamoured from the moment you arrive. Some have even likened Budapest to Berlin (the new Berlin?) and one can immediately understand where such parallels are drawn: there is a similar historical trajectory and familiar air of grit and controlled anarchy, although Budapest is certainly more aesthetically pleasing than its Western counterpart. Leave time to explore both sides of the river—Buda and Pest. Take in the leafy surrounds of the castle district on the Buda side, before finding the urban pulse of the city in Pest. Your days will be awash in bohemian ruin pubs, hipster bars and cafes, and photogenic thermal spas.
5. Baltic States
The Baltic region was the first place I visited as a solo traveller, while in a relationship or otherwise, and I don’t think I could have picked a better place to start my first solo journey. The Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are situated next to each other and the bus services connecting the countries are excellent, making travel between the countries extremely easy and convenient (as I mentioned before, perfect for someone as geographically challenged as me). As with all of the Old Towns in Europe, the Old Towns of the Baltic States are similar in the sense that they emanate old-world charm and wonder; however, the traces of the countries’ recent Soviet past add an enigmatic mystique which somehow makes you feel as though you are on a secret adventure. There’s also a surprisingly excellent WiFi network—even on the buses! It won’t be difficult to find a cafe to dial your loved one in.
Read more on what’s it like to travel alone when in a relationship
The Benefits of Solo Travel While in a Relationship (My guest post for Pin the Map Project)
Why You Should Travel Solo While in a Relationship (A Girl Who Travels)
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Have you travelled alone while in a relationship? Where did you go? What was the experience like? What did you find most challenging? Leave a comment below!