Traveling solo already has multiple advantages, but I feel these advantages can only be amplified during a pandemic. If you have to travel now, here is my list of 7 top advantages of traveling alone in pandemic times.
7 Advantages of Traveling Alone During a Pandemic
Let me start by saying I’m not telling you to travel now or that traveling solo has no risk during a pandemic. I, like most people, am a little nervous to travel during these unprecedented times. Whether it’s airline travel, staying in a hotel, or dining in a potential COVID-19 hotspot, fears can loom in many travel corners.
However, if you must travel, now may be the best time to just go it alone.
1 – You Are In Control
Remember my first “pro” of traveling solo: you are in control. Yep! You don’t have to worry about trying to book a vacation around someone else’s schedule or deal with their travel temperament. You can come and go as you please – short of travel restrictions, regulations, and company policies, that is.
Speaking of company policies, airlines have beefed up safety policies to ensure their employees and passengers do not contract COVID-19.
For example, United Airlines’ policy includes requiring passengers to certify they have been free of COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days prior to check-in. It also requires mandatory mask-wearing for those without a medical condition or risk losing your travel privileges with the airline.
So, what if you’re traveling with that person who starts to get COVID-19 symptoms? What if she or he is that person who simply refuses to wear a mask? Anywhere. That’s not a person you want to travel with.
Going alone prevents any of this awkwardness and additional risk to your safety.
2 – Learn More About Yourself
I suppose nothing could teach someone more about one’s comfort zone than how willing they are to travel during a pandemic.
Fear of contracting COVID-19 on a plane or standing in line; fear of a flight being cancelled; fear of a border closing or a country changing its entry rules… How much more could one deal with when just trying to take a vacation?
As a solo traveler, you will only have to address your own fears. Consider if now is the time to test your traveling comfort zone.
Do your research on the updated airline policies. Most airline ticket change policies are a lot more flexible. Some don’t require a change fee at all or will give you a voucher you can use for two years (this is what happened to me on my last scheduled September).
Touchless screens are now in play by some airlines in certain locations, eliminating the need to touch possible, infected surfaces.
Don’t forget to stay abreast of the TSA COVID-19 travel guidelines.
These updates are in efforts to make you feel safe and secure with air travel. Are they working? If so, you may just get in that trip you were considering in 2021.
3 – Take Your Work With You
The best way to deal with stressful situations is to remove as many stress-causing factors as possible, right?
If you are able to work remotely, this builds in extra flexibility to meet any last minute changes to your travel plans without affecting your income earning. Plus, if you don’t have any time restraints, you could work remotely while you adhere to any international, initial self-quarantine rules and then go travel. Yeah, you!
Traveling with someone who doesn’t have remote-work flexibility could limit your abilities to travel internationally.
Now, I’m not advocating working on your vacation. Shoot, no. If you can bring your work essentials with you, however, you have successfully removed the “missing work” stress. Another bonus is that you can self-quarantine when you come home without missing work.
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4 – Enjoy Travel Deals
If that airline ticket deal pops up that you just can’t refuse but you have to leave tomorrow, no worries. It’s just you. Another advantage of traveling alone in 2021.
Another bonus for traveling alone is having more airline seating options. The window seat farthest from the restroom is considered the safest airplane seat during a virus. You have better seat options if you are just booking for yourself.
If you’ve got airlines miles saved up, now may be a good time to use them.
Don’t just look at the airlines. Travel loyalty programs are desperate for business this year. Travel credit card companies are waving their fees or offering more airline miles to get you to sign up. Here is the latest update on travel rewards cards to entice you to travel.
Hotels, too, are looking for customers and you may be able to negotiate a good deal. After you’ve confirmed your future hotel’s cleaning and safety protocols, why would you want to rock that boat by sharing a room?
When dining out, it’s considered safest to avoid peak dining times. If you’re traveling alone, you don’t have to wait for your travel other to get ready and delay your dining hour.
5 – Your Bag, Your Safety
You can avoid airline baggage check-in and pick-up when you pack for carry-on only. It’s ideal if you bring as little as possible in your carry-on baggage during pandemic travel as you may be asked to remove items during the security check.
If you have something in your bag that is not allowed, you will be asked to leave the security area to remove those items and then have to queue all over again.
Note, you are now allowed to bring one 12 ounce liquid hand sanitizer container in your carry-on.
If you end up traveling with that person that over-packs or is unprepared for the security check, then there is more of a chance of standing in lines, dealing with baggage check, or waiting in a crowded security area with your companion. Why not just limit your crowd exposure by traveling alone?
6 – Indoors or Outdoors – You Choose
Yes, there is more risk of catching COVID-19 indoors than outdoors. Being outdoors, you also have more opportunity to physically distance properly.
Since there are now more regulations on physical distancing in public spaces, you’re going to be separated from each other.
Perhaps you want to play it safe on your vacation and spend your time outdoors and avoid crowds by relaxing on the beach or hiking. Your buddy, however, wants to shop or go to the top museums. So, you split up and do your own thing while your friend has a higher risk of COVID-19 infection.
Again, why not just take advantage of traveling alone during these unusual times?
7 – Stay Local
Road tripping is very popular during the pandemic. People are dying to get out to explore as much as they can, yet are left doing it in their own country since they may not be able to travel out of their country.
However, why not reign that in and just stay within your state or region of your state? How well do you know your ‘back yard’ anyway?
Now is a great time to explore what your own back yard has to offer that you may have been putting off because, hey, it’s local and you always thought you could go at any time. Well, why not now?
Ditch the friend who’s trying to convince you into ride in a car (with no physical distancing) for long distances at a time and stay in hotels you’re not sure about.
Instead, try new outdoor activities alone like biking, hiking, camping, sailing, kayaking, fishing, or other. There are numerous things to do alone while connecting with the outdoors.
You may like your new activity so much, you may join a local activity group after this coronavirus craziness is over.
My Plans to Travel Alone in a Pandemic?
So you may be saying, “Yeah, yeah, Gwen, but are YOU going to do any of this?” I’m so glad you asked.
To put it mildly, I was aggravated to have to cancel my lovely, 4-country Europe trip in 2020. Since American’s haven’t been allowed to enter many countries, with or without adhering to mandatory quarantining (that would have consumed most of my trip), well, it was best to just push that trip to later.
This doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping my eye on the travel advisories, airline notifications, and travel deals. As an experienced solo traveler, I already know I have the advantage to just take off for a long weekend if I absolutely must.
I’m also going to explore more of my back yard. There are some more hiking trails to pound and rivers to kayak.
Near or far, I’m planning on U.S. travel this year. I encourage you to consider how to take advantage of traveling alone in pandemic times also.
Let Me Hear From You
I would love to hear if these advantages for traveling alone in a pandemic were helpful to you. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!