Go Solo: Tips on Traveling Alone, and Loving It

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Who needs a plus one to have fun? Former Phoenix resident Michelle Ponto says she found freedom when she started traveling alone.

Her adventures have taken her to 47 countries and counting and opened her to opportunities to work abroad. 

Her book, Go Solo: How to Have Fun Without the Plus One, highlights her passion for travel, the people she meets along the way and her hopes to spark a similar sense of adventure in her readers.

Ponto said when you're traveling by yourself, it's your agenda, your time and your itinerary. She added that you can wake up when you want, eat when you want if you want to do nothing one day and go to the spa. It's your vacation.

Ponto has been traveling solo for years and says being alone doesn't necessarily mean being lonely.

"When you are by yourself people chat you up," she said.  "The bartender the cab driver you learn about people almost by accident."

Ponto recommends picking a country that is safe and the customs that are familiar. For example, any place in Europe.

"Even though they speak a different language, people speak English and the countries are laid out for tourists," Ponto added.

If you're nervous about the idea, Ponto suggests you plan a trip according to a hobby. She looks for trips that involve being active outdoors, combining fitness, sightseeing and the likelihood you'll meet other explorers with similar interests, like this tour.

So being lonely isn't an issue but what about feeling safe? If you're new to solo travel, Ponto suggests you book a hotel instead of her preference of an Airbnb for a little more security and guidance and just use common sense.

"When it comes to safety I always tell people what you do at home," Ponto added. "When you're at home you don't go down dark alleys by yourself. You don't get into strangers cars."

With 42 vacation days a year off from the university where she works, Ponto plans on adding many more stops to her itinerary. To afford it, she'll plan ahead, book flights early and scrimp or splurge accordingly. After all, this is her favorite thing.

"I don't have a car, don't need one where I am," she said. "My education is done. So my money goes to travel."

There are three things she always travels with: a canvas bag (for shopping), running shoes and an outlet converter.

Her book is available on Amazon.com

For more information on the book, click here

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