“Your water, miss,” the waiter said as he placed a gigantic bottle of sparkling water down on my table at the Savoy Seychelles Resort with a flourish.
“Errrr,” I stumbled, “do you have any… smaller bottles? It's just me.”
He looked confused, and then clearly unsure of how to answer. No, they didn't have any smaller bottles of water, but I could take whatever I didn't drink with me back to my room.
And so, after eating my dinner alone and signing for the enormous bottle of water, I carried more than half of it back to my room.
I had a feeling I was going to be drinking a lot of sparkling water on this trip.
I've been traveling predominantly solo since I started traveling seriously in 2011. I like solo travel; I like the freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want to do it, and I like how achieving things on my own makes me feel. But I'd be lying if I said I never experience awkward moments as a woman traveling on her own.
A lot of the awkwardness for me seems to come at restaurants, or when booking an activity that's typically booked by couples or families. And this awkwardness is sometimes amplified when I'm visiting a destination that doesn't see very many solo female travelers.
Like the Seychelles.
Solo in the Seychelles
When most people think of the Seychelles islands, they think of white sand, turquoise waters – and honeymooners.
Yes, the Seychelles has been mostly marketed as a romantic getaway. Resorts offer couples massages and private plunge pools, and the beach loungers on the sand and around the pool are almost always grouped in twos.
It may not be the first place you think of when you think “solo adventure,” but the truth is that you can visit ANY destination solo and still have a great time.
I've been to some of the most romantic places in the world on my own: Paris, Venice, Tahiti, Santorini, and now the Seychelles, to name a few. And while there will always be those “You're traveling alone??” moments on these trips, the fact is that you can totally have a great time on your own.
I don't subscribe to the belief that there are destinations that you can “only” visit with a partner. Ladies, life is far too short to wait around for a man to take you someplace super dreamy!
In the Seychelles, I enjoyed beaches on Praslin and La Digue completely on my own, ate several delicious plates of seafood without having to worry about the fact that my husband hates calamari, and took selfies with everything from tortoises to coco de mer nuts. And I won't lie: having a king-sized bed to myself at every hotel did not suck, either.
There's much more to the Seychelles than beaches, too. You can go hiking in a national park, marvel at jungle plants, learn about tortoise conservation, and take boat rides that will help you admire the colorful coastline.
Like many other traditionally romantic destinations, the Seychelles isn't a “couples-only” destination – you just have to look for the solo-friendly bits.
How to enjoy a romantic place solo
So let's say you want to visit a romantic place like the Seychelles on your own. How do you do it? Well here are my tips for how to make the most out of a trip like this.
1. Look for hotels/resorts with lots of amenities that interest you
You might not be interested in the couples massages or complimentary champagne for two (though, I mean, it can always be complimentary champagne for one, right??), but there may be other things that hotels/resorts will offer that will be great for you as a solo traveler.
Things I found offered in the Seychelles at the Paradise Sun resort on Praslin, for example, included free afternoon tea every day (a great way to mingle with other hotel guests), free access to things like paddleboards and snorkeling gear, complimentary sunset cruises on Wednesdays, and live music most nights during dinner (which can sometimes make eating alone a little more fun).
Other things I look for include nice hotel pools, multiple restaurants nearby or on-site, and of course really nice rooms! (Because even if I'm not enjoying it with my honey, I can still appreciate a big comfy bed and deep soaking bathtub!)
2. Do your homework about solo-friendly tours/activities
The downside of traveling solo to resorts or on cruises is that, yes, many tours and excursions are designed with couples in mind. This does unfortunately mean that single supplements sometimes apply, and that some tours won't run if you're the only one booked. I have run into this before and it's definitely annoying.
So to avoid disappointment, it's good to do a bit of research before you leave home. Look for activities and tours with guaranteed departures, or that don't have a minimum passenger requirement. (Or, if it's an affordable destination, consider booking a private tour just for you!)
3. Be confident about asking for a table for one
Even after years of solo travel, I'll admit that I still sometimes get anxious about eating alone in restaurants. I find it helpful to remind myself that I'm in a place where nobody knows me and why shouldn't I be confident and fabulous enough to ask for a table just for myself?
Sure, you may have to flag down the waiter who hasn't come to your table yet because he assumes you're waiting for someone to join you. And yes, you may end up ordering more food (or sparkling water) than you need because the portions aren't designed for one… But who cares!
If eating alone truly makes you anxious, I recommend sidling up to the bar instead if possible, or bringing along a book or Kindle to keep you occupied.
4. Forget the stereotypes and have a blast!
At the end of the day, you need to get past the fact that you've associated certain destinations with romance – every single destination can be enjoyed solo, as long as you approach it with the right attitude.
Think about it this way: you're treating yourself to a getaway; don't be afraid to allow some time for pampering and self-love. Get a solo massage; treat yourself to decadent desserts; go on a sunset beach walk on your own. We all need to spoil ourselves sometimes, and traveling solo to a “romantic” place can be a great way to do it.
Have you ever been to a romantic destination alone? How did you enjoy it? If not, where would you love to go?
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