A solo vacation is no longer weird or tragic — it is just the coolest indulgence

When Queen aka Rani decides to go on her honeymoon alone after her no-good fiancé dumps her at the altar, it seemed like the coolest, quirkiest thing to do. That her travels through Paris and Amsterdam brought her in touch with wild child Vijaylakshmi and cutie roommates Taka, Tim and Oleksander is an added bonus. While for Queen taking a solo vacation might have been rather out of the ordinary, there are quite a few people heading off into the unknown for a break or some much needed me-time.

Deepa Jacob, a content writer and singer, who has just returned after holidaying on her own, says: “I don't really know when it started, but I have wanted to travel solo for a while now simply because it is not always easy to find a travel buddy who wants to do the same things you do. In any case, I quit my job and decided to see a bit of the world. My plans sort of snowballed into a two-month backpacking trip. I also acquired a travel buddy who I met in Bangalore. We travelled together for a while before finally parting ways in Vietnam.”

With youngsters beginning to earn at an early age, their spending capacity is definitely higher and with the umpteen apps that are now available to people, solo travel isn’t difficult. There are plenty of websites through which one can book accommodation or make local travel plans.

According to Dennis Mathew, an adventure sport fanatic, “Travelling solo is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. From kayaking in Canada, white water rafting in Indonesia to trekking in Nepal and paragliding in Thailand, I’ve done it all. The best thing about travelling alone is that one doesn’t have to depend on anybody else. The experience has always been exhilarating.” If you’re wondering what the supplementary benefits are of cruising solo, Sheena Mistry, a scuba diving instructor, says: “If you’re the kind of person who loves making decisions and doesn’t believe in following the crowd, the solo vacation is for you to do whatever you want and don’t want, no questions asked! It’s the best time to listen to the new playlist on your iPod or sit on the beach and read a book without having to worry about not being sociable. Also, it’s the perfect way to unwind at a spa and go in for indulgent treatments to help you feel rejuvenated.”

Weighing the pros and the cons of solo vacationing, Deepa finds, “Travelling alone can be a really enriching experience because you’re doing it entirely on your own terms. The only downside to it is that it can get lonely at times, especially when you’re moving from place to place very quickly. However, staying in hostels means you’re never really alone. There are always people around and you make friends really quickly.

There’s a constant cultural exchange happening and you find yourself changing your plans to hop along with someone else’s harebrained scheme-of-the-day. Safety was a concern, but with a little bit of caution and a general sense of self-preservation, I was surprised to find that I felt far safer in this part of the world than I do on a daily basis in my own city. Also, clichéd as the self-discovery aspect of solo travel may be, it’s bound to happen so you might as well make the most of it!”

Solo-cruising can cause a sense of trepidation for first timers but fret not. The experience will certainly outweigh the apprehension.

And if you’re of the idea that it is only the divorcee, the widower, or the spontaneous bachelor, that is holidaying alone, you would be surprised to know that the trend of married couples vacationing alone is no longer unusual. So go on, set sail already!