Why I love traveling solo, even though I’m married

Hiking in Tayrona National Park, Colombia
At the top of the Eiffel Tower in a chilly February morning
At the top of the Eiffel Tower in a chilly February morning


I recently returned from a 2-week trip to Bhutan, Bangkok and Laos, where I hiked up Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Paro, tried some delicious street food from a floating market near Bangkok and watched the morning alms giving ceremony in Luang Prabang. I created all of these new memories without my husband by my side.

Once you say “I do” and sign the marriage paperwork, most people assume that you’ll be glued at the hip for the rest of your life. Just because you get married doesn’t mean you should give up the things that you’re most passionate about.

Some of the most frequent comments I hear while traveling sans husband include: “He’s actually letting you go by yourself?,” “My husband would divorce me if I ever went on a trip without him,” “Isn’t he worried sick about you all by yourself,” “Don’t you get lonely without him,” “I’d never let my wife ever travel without me.” My husband knew that I have a huge case of wanderlust before we got married and that I would travel with him as well as on my own. So no, I don’t ask for his permission before I book a trip and I’m thankful to be married to someone who accepts me as I am.

So why do I enjoy traveling without my husband?

Sometimes I want to go somewhere my husband has zero interest in visiting. For instance, India has never been high on his list and it would be a huge waste of money to pay for both of us to go. Instead, I went on my own and splurged on business class tickets for the long flight. On the other hand, if there’s a destination that I know he really wants to visit (Japan, for example), I’ll hold off on planning a trip until I know that we can both visit.

I actually like traveling solo. The amount that you learn about yourself while traveling solo is incredible and you’ll be forced to step outside your comfort zone. You don’t have someone else to rely on so you have to get creative in solving problems. When I was almost denied boarding on a Druk Air flight from Delhi to Bhutan due to a typo in my visa, I had to take charge of the situation and figure out how to fix the situation without anyone else’s help.

I’m a huge introvert and have always struggled with confidence and assertiveness. Traveling solo has helped me face my fears and I’ve brought these skills back with me to my daily life. I’ve learned to stop worrying about all the “what ifs” and just go.

I meet more people. Romantic vacations for two are great for reconnecting but not for forming life-long friendships with other travelers from around the world. Whenever I’m traveling solo or joining a group trip like Intrepid Travel, I meet like-minded people who often become very close friends. I’ve also noticed that locals will often up to me in a way that doesn’t happen when I’m traveling for others. While driving out to the Kuang Si waterfalls in Laos, my driver shared his life story with me, starting with stealing money from his family so that he could leave and get an education. That’s not to say that connecting with others doesn’t happen with you’re traveling as part of a pair but I definitely experience more openness when I’m on my own.

I have different interests. Sometimes I want to book an all-day horseback riding excursion through the mountains, followed by a street food tour in the evening with a 5am wakeup call the next day to photograph sunrise. A trip like that would exhaust my husband and make him fairly grumpy. I often like to relax and slow down but there are times when I want to maximize every minute of my vacation time and that style doesn’t always work for other people.

I’m thankful that my husband is supportive and encouraging when it comes to my worldwide adventures. I’ve had quite a few married friends over the years who were yearning to get out and explore the world but their spouse was reluctant to let them go. They always say that maybe next year, they’ll finally book that trip they’ve been dreaming about.

Stop waiting around for it to happen. Book your dream trip now. Your marital status should have absolutely no bearing on pursuing your passion. If your passion is traveling, even if your spouse doesn’t want to join you, you should feel supported and encouraged to discover the world.

Hiking in Tayrona National Park, Colombia
Hiking in Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Have you ever traveled without your spouse?


Author: Rebecca Pattee

Rebecca started Away From the Office to encourage office workers to temporarily step away from the 9-5 grind and see the world. Follow along for advice on amazing destinations, packing tips and more.

18 thoughts on “Why I love traveling solo, even though I’m married”

  1. I, too, think it’s amusing that people immediately come to their own conclusions! While I’m usually traveling with someone else (rather than solo), my husband has far less leave than I do and also isn’t always interested in all the places I want to go.

    I’ve also gotten the comment “it’s nice your husband allows you to do that”…to which I usually (try to) laugh.

  2. I haven’t traveled without Bill yet, but we also have very similar travel interests. I did go on a work trip to Las Vegas and invited him to come along with me and he decided to stay home (no interest in Vegas. I wouldn’t have gone to Vegas either if it weren’t for work.)

    I would happily travel without him if it’s a place he’s not super interested in visiting and once our finances are a bit more caught up, hopefully I can do a sisters trip with you and Mindy!!

    We are one of the couples that do have very similar travel interests so we’ll probably do most trips together, but I don’t find it weird at all to travel either solo or just with other friends or with a travel/tour group.

    (Also, we had an incredible time in Ireland and would never have been able to accomplish such an awesome trip within our first year of marriage if it weren’t for the generosity of you and your awesome husband!!!!)

    Love you sister <3

  3. This is so interesting! I personally don’t travel much without my husband (unless it’s for work) but good on you!! Even in marriage you are free to be yourself!

  4. I totally understand your point to travel solo. If you go as a couple many times both of you has to compromise to make the other happy and both of you get an average experience at the end. But if you go alone you choose the things you want to do and the experiences you want to live. On the other hand when you travel together you can share the same experience with someone else, so I think both has advantages and disadvantages. Good post by the way.

  5. I think it’s easier to travel solo and have to negotiate/compromise how time is spent. Sounds like you have a good mix of solo and couple travel!

  6. Well done on your solo travels. I married my soul mate and we do everything together. We both work long hours and getting away camping and traveling together always brings us closer together. Good on you but.

  7. Go for it, love how you clearly travel because you love it. Such an inspiration to so many women. I am a solo traveller and love it 🙂

  8. I love traveling with my husband, but agree that sometimes it’s great to go on an adventure alone. We have such different interests that it just makes sense to not do everything together. I am also an introvert and find myself stepping outside of my comfort zone and am more confident & social traveling alone. Fabulous post!

  9. I love that you travel solo!! The lines you get from people about your husband letting you are hilarious! I definitely believe it though. There’s obviously positives to travelling both solo and with your partner, and it seems like you’ve found a happy balance for both of you!

  10. Yay I love this. It’s so important to continue your passions when you;re in a relationship, I love that you still travel your way.

  11. You guys have a great mutual understanding. And I totally admire you for following what you want to do and where you want to. I agree that marital status should have nothing to do with you traveling solo.

  12. I agree and understand that traveling solo teaches you so much as a human as well as in life. But still, I prefer and always wanna travel with my husband. I feel with him I can enjoy more, that time makes us know each other more and that is the best quality time for us.

  13. Some good points! I like how you find travelling solo gives you increased confidence and faith in yourself – that’s important whether you’re married or not.
    I have been on a holiday with a friend without my husband. In the future I expect I will again; there are a few countries he doesn’t want to visit that I would love to see.
    He gets to go away with his work fairly often and usually has a day or two off sightseeing so it’s only fair I get to go solo too 😉

  14. Totally agreeing with this! Before two years ago, I enver imagined myself being able to travel solo, but now? I will confidently and happily travel alone. All the points you have listed are correct and I totally share the same sentiment. Cheers to us girls who love to travel solo!

  15. I really like your way to think. It is not because we are married that we should stop to do what we love, if we respect each other we can do everything!! Will share it with some friends who can’t understand it 😉

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