Travelling solo on Valentine’s Day can be a weird feeling. In the past it was easy enough to ignore such events. But nowadays, as we’re bombarded by social media images of 12 red roses and #hesakeeper hashtags, it’s harder to pretend it’s not happening. Plus, even when you’re travelling it’s easy to feel like everyone around you is coupled up.
I don’t know what it is about Valentine’s Day but there’s something about it that just instantly transports you back to being at school. Will I get a card? Does anybody like me? Even if you’re perfectly happy with your life it always seems to bring up questions.
Travelling solo on Valentine’s Day
When I was on my 30b430 trip, I found myself alone in Wellington, New Zealand as the day approached. I loved Wellington as soon as I arrived in the city and really enjoyed exploring it. But as Valentine’s Day got nearer, I wondered what to do with myself.
I’d met a nice couple in my hostel, but I was very conscious about not being a gooseberry as they were planning to cook a meal together that evening.
So I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do. When suddenly it occurred to me that I was in a city on the other side of the world and I could do whatever I liked!
I love going to see shows so, on the off-chance, I popped into a local theatre to see whether there was a production that evening. It turned out there was a show about a Kiwi-English couple who were trying to decide which country they should live in when they got married. They were basically asking the audience to choose. This sounded exactly like the crazy kind of decision-making I like. I instantly bought a ticket.
I arrived at the theatre that night worried that I would be surrounded by couples, but I actually didn’t even notice. The show was brilliant, I even got dragged onto the stage at one point! (In case you’re wondering, the audience voted for New Zealand.)
I returned to my hostel so happy that I’d made the effort to go out by myself, which is something I would never have done back at home.
So if you’re travelling solo on Valentine’s Day and struggling to decide what to do, here’s some ideas:
Do something you’ve always wanted to do
One of the best things about travelling solo is being able to do exactly what you want. If I had been with someone else in New Zealand, I would have had to ask whether they felt like going to see a show and take their opinions into account. But when you’re alone you have total freedom to make your own decisions.
Arrange to do something you’ve been wanting to do for ages or something you enjoy doing back at home. Think of it as a treat to yourself and enjoy the feeling of having the freedom to make your own decisions and not have to even think about whether anyone else would enjoy it or not.
When I was in Australia I treated myself to a few dives in the Great Barrier Reef and it was so special to be able to fulfil a life-long ambition.
Take yourself out for a lovely meal
It’s always nice to treat yourself when you’re on the road, especially if you’re travelling for a long time. Even if you’re on a budget it’s worth splashing out every once in a while. So get dressed up and take yourself out for a nice meal.
When I’m travelling solo I love to take a book and alternate my time between reading and people watching. Try to stay off your phone if you can, otherwise you’ll just end up looking at other people’s lives on social media.
If you don’t fancy being surrounded by couples gazing into each other’s eyes, consider going out for a nice lunch instead. It is one of my favourite things to do and you can often get great deals on lunchtime menus.
Or if you do fancy company, round-up a group of people from your accommodation to join you.
Join in a group activity at a hostel/hang out with new friends
Speaking about accommodation, I can pretty much guarantee that if you are staying in a hostel, there will be some kind of organised Valentine’s Day event. If so, throw yourself into it. Take the opportunity to make some new friends and have a laugh.
Alternatively, use an app like Eventbrite to find out if there are any events going on in the local area you like the sound of.
Go on a date!
With the abundance of dating apps around now, it’s actually easier than ever to meet people to date when you’re travelling. If you do fancy getting dressed up and going out for a night on the town then it’s an easy way to meet someone. Apps like Tinder and Bumble allow you to change your location so you can find singles in your area.
Obviously, remember all of the usual safety advice when you’re travelling solo. Always meet in a public place and never go anywhere by yourself with someone you’ve only just met. If you can, tell other people your plans and what time you expect to be back.
Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing
It’s easy to have down days on the road and significant days can always bring up worries and insecurities. But remember, you are doing this trip for a reason.
What my own experience in Wellington made me realise was that sometimes loving the life you live is enough on Valentine’s Day.
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