Travelling alone on your birthday can seem really daunting. In reality, perhaps it is a nice needed break. Perhaps a moment away in a new destination is exactly what the doctor ordered. Some people will choose to have a travel birthday alone and others will be forced into it.
When I was turning 23 I had just moved to the UK from Australia alone. I landed in London for my new life one month before my birthday. That was not enough time to make great friends, I told myself I really didn't care about my birthday, I was living my dream. I was travelling alone and living in London, the city I had always dreamed of. However, due to the time differences, it was amplified. I would get birthday messages coming through the day before it was my birthday in the UK (it was my birthday in Australia). I started to feel like I left everyone that cared for me and I had no body who cared for me over here in the UK. This wasn't the case and I had a fine birthday. In fact, when the day rolled around, it turned out to be a fantastic day.
However, I know how being away from your loved ones on this day can make you feel alone. (I certainly wished something like the She Roams Solo community was around back then)
Your brain sees this as a day as messages, well wishes and attention. When you don't get that and you dont have people around, it doesn't feel like your birthday. And who wants to miss a birthday! Here is how to give yourself a wonderful day when you are alone by travelling in the place you have been dreaming of and doing the things YOU want to.
Splurge the cash and stay somewhere amazing. Enjoy that large double/queen size bed to yourself, sleep smack bang in the middle and roll around as much as you want. Make sure to have a balcony that you can sit on drinking your favourite wine and people watching.
You can find a selection of fantastic luxury hotels on our ultimate travel resources page. Search under accommodation for more luxury hotel searches. Websites like LuxeNomad are great for luxury hotels. You can check out websites like secretescapes.com and designhotels.com for unique experiences and the finer lifestyle.
Make sure to pamper yourself with spa treatment, room service and more or even just pick a place that is secluded and bask in nature.
Spend your time wisely. Learn something new that you always wanted to. Take a cooking course, learn to scuba dive. The beauty of being alone is that there is no embarrassment when you do something wrong. By taking the time to learn skills you always wanted to, you are really treating yourself.
(If photography isn't your thing then skip to the next one.) I know a lot of travellers love to be taking photos. Why not spend the day either on a photography course or just walking around experimenting. Maybe even buy yourself a new lense or a better camera and go for gold! By doing what you love, you will forget all about the sentiment of the day.
Camp alone, go on a hike, sit on the beach with nobody around and read a good book. Just be outside. Find a view that nobody knows about and meditate or practice yoga. Whatever your "thing" is - it is always better out in nature. Having this time to yourself will leave you feeling like you have given yourself a birthday present. It will remind you how much you respect yourself.
First - There is NOTHING wrong with giving yourself a birthday present/s
Splurge out and make yourself feel better. Partner that shopping time with a glass of champange on your break or some of the food courts most expensive food. I recommend oysters or good sushi. Here are some of my personal suggestions.
There are many ways you can meet a local and depending on which country you want to visit, sometimes the locals are more than happy to meet you, making it easier than ever. The beauty of this is that you can always leave the company when you need your space. Here are a few ways to meet locals:
Meetup - Find activities and events with locals and expats
She Roams Solo - For female travellers, join our platform and send a call out for locals who want to meet up or use the find friends feature.
Perhaps giving back is the best way to feel great about your birthday and yourself. So give back! If you can't give money, give your time. When choosing a volunteer position, be very careful to select the right organisation. There are a lot of bad "non-for-profit" organisations that are ripping travellers off by charging for volunteer positions claiming the money goes back to helping the organisation but it doesn't. So here are some helpful ways to find the best options.
Check websites out like Workaway and HelpX. There are also websites like Grassroots We have an extensive selection of websites to check out the vast amount of volunteer opportunities. It can be overwhelming.
If you are only looking to volunteer for the day, perhaps some soup kitchens or local places will be able to help.
Spend a day learning about history or art. You can spend as long as you want in this museum. Sit around sipping on a coffee, write down your thoughts and enjoy every moment of it.
Maybe your birthday is more for partying! That is where the idea of doing a pub crawl comes in. See how much shots you can manage to get for free by announcing "it's my birthday". Leave the party with a host of new friends and good memories... or a strong hangover .- but hey, you live once right! Almost every city I have ever travelled to has a pub crawl. Check out Viator and search pub crawl for a list of pub crawls in whichever country you are in
Have you always wanted to learn an instrument, bungee jump, sing karaoke? We all have something that we wanted to do but haven't yet. Whats yours and how can you complete it? Where would you go in order to complete this goal.... the options are endless.
Spend a day sitting in a hammock or on a beach reading a book. Catch up on all the books you have wanted to finish. When you get tired, take a walk around a new city or town. Enjoy the silence and personal time. Below are a few of my favourite books for such moments.
You can check out our other book recommendations based on which country you're going I also suggest Kindle unlimited because you can read as many books as you want and there really are some great ones in the unlimited family.
Travel somewhere, specifically to see that one band live that you always wanted to. Watch a classy opera or ballet somewhere. The options are endless. Get Cultured!
Would you consider a yoga retreat or meditation? A healthy detox weekend to start your new age right. Check out Yogascapes to find a multitude of different options. You can also check out RetreatGuru for more options. I have added several other options on our Ultimate Travel Resources Page under health and wellness in the plan and explore category (It's not called "the ultimate" for no reason).
Anywhere you want to! With nobody holding you back I can't see a reason why you can't check out that destination you had always wanted to go to. Or go somewhere random based on price or time of flight. It is your day and you can do whatever you want
Be sure to either keep in contact with friends and family on the day or before if you want a day alone. Check your Facebook wall for birthday messages. Anything to let yourself be reminded that you are alone by choice and still are loved.