Solo travel for theme park fans
Published: April 17, 2014 at 10:54 AM
Solo travel changes your vacation. It's not just the social aspect, either. When you travel alone, you change the economics of your trip. And that just might allow you to visit someplace you though you'd never be able to go before.
Your truly, traveling solo to Universal Studios Singapore
Think about how much money you spend per person when you travel in a group. When you take a roadtrip alone, you're paying the same for gas and maintenance as you would if you had other people in the car with you. A hotel room often costs the same whether you're traveling alone or with a partner. That's why it makes sense to pile the family into the car and hit the road for a relatively affordable vacation.
But when you travel alone, the price per person of that hotel-filled roadtrip skyrockets. If you're used to traveling with your family and taking the car because you think it's the cheapest way to travel, it's time to rethink that assumption before a solo trip.
Here's when solo travel makes more financial sense — when you fly. Unlike driving, adding a second, third, or fourth person to the trip when you're buying airplane tickets sends the cost, as well as the passengers, sky high. Price the cost a single plane ticket against the cost of driving to that place you've always wanted to visit and you might find that flying is the better and cheaper way to go.
But don't stop there. Since flying is often cheaper than driving for solo travelers, why not take a look at the price of going even farther on your solo trip? Perhaps you'd never consider that dream trip to Tokyo Disney or to Disneyland Paris if you had to take the family. But what if you had the opportunity to go somewhere alone? Could a trip to Tokyo or Paris, or some other far-off destination, actually be affordable? You won't know until you start checking prices.
If you're flying to some far-off city, obviously, you'll need a place to stay. While the price of a hotel room for a single often isn't cheaper than when you bring a partner or the family, traveling alone gives you some flexibility in choosing a place to stay that you might not have when you go with a group.
Unless you know someone with a lot of extra space in their home, it's harder to bring the family to stay at someone else's home than it is for one person to claim a space on the couch or in a spare bedroom. (Even if you don't know anyone where you want to go, you can find available spare rooms and places to stay on sites such as AirBnB and Couchsurfing.) Hostels can provide a decent place to get a night's sleep for a solo traveler. Also consider that if you plan a trip to multiple cities, you can avoid expensive hotel costs by traveling at night — flying red-eyes or taking night trains from one destination to another. Never stay somewhere you're uncomfortable, but take the opportunity solo travel gives you to consider alternatives to the same old hotels you'd use as a family.
So where should you go? Theme parks provide an ideal destination for solo travelers who don't just want to get away from civilization and be alone. When you're in a theme park, you're surrounded by many other theme park fans, even if you've come to the park by yourself. Sure, you could just obsess over your cell phone's screen like many other visitors when you're going it alone, but you also could ask the person in line next to you if he or she's ever been on this ride before, then see where the conversation flows. No, you can't bond with your family or friends on a solo trip, but you can meet a world filled with other interesting, engaging people with whom you'd never have talked if you'd been there with your own family or friends.
And let's not overlook the great advantage of traveling alone to a theme park — single rider lines! Traveling alone, you can fly through a park, using every single rider line available, and doing the park on your schedule without having to wait for anyone else to catch up, take a break, or anything else that slows down a group trying to move through the park as one.
Who's going to take your picture, to show that you were there? You don't have to take selfies when you're a solo traveler in a theme park. Any park photographer will take your picture with your own phone or camera, in addition to snapping a picture with their pro outfit.
At Tokyo Disneyland
Worried about eating alone? Don't be. It might be easier to find a single seat somewhere in a crowded counter-service restaurant than it is to find a table with enough seats for the group. in certain restaurants, you can eat at the bar, without having to wait for a table. But don't rule out other table service restaurants, either. Book your table for one, chat up the servers, and enjoy a little time with that cell phone or guidebook that you didn't get while waiting in line because you were sprinting through a single rider queue, or hanging out talking with the people around you in the regular one.
Have you ever traveled alone for a vacation? Please tell us about your experiences, in the comments.