Women ages 25-54 have created the fastest growing trend in travel
By Haven Lindsey
Think there’s a stigma to traveling solo? Think again! The hottest form of global travel is not couples paired on a trip, nor is it a family or groups of friends or adventurers with shared interests. It seems everyone is going solo these days — accounting for nearly one-quarter of all travelers.
In fact, one thing that Baby Boomers, Millennials and Generation Y have in common: they are choosing to go solo. The number one response solos give when asked why they enjoy traveling alone is the freedom to do, see and experience what they want when they want. Stay up late? Get up early? See every museum and gift shop or all your time in the mountains? Solo travelers don’t have to negotiate — they choose where and how they spend their vacation.
It’s as if Taos was designed for the solo traveler. The diverse and liberal-leaning, freedom-affirming high desert mountain town with its eccentricities and acceptance of everyone and everything has welcomed solos long before solo travel was a thing. The town is also dog-friendly, known for its festivals, food and scenery (including those stop-the-car sunsets), and its proximity to things that often appeal to the solo adventurer: camping in solitude, hiking, biking, skiing and fishing. Creatives are often solos by nature, which is why Taos appeals to writers, painters, musicians and artists of all varieties.
I have been a solo traveler for decades and my first meaningful visit to Taos was as a solo travel. I fit the demographic and, like most solos, I practically crave solo travel for the liberation of making my own decisions, seeing what I want, and skipping that which doesn’t serve me.
Turns out, the Taos vibe served me well, and I soon made it my forever home. I now enjoy the area with friends, some of whom I met on that initial solo trip, yet I continue to enjoy all that Taos has to offer as a solo enthusiast because Taos, as much as anywhere I’ve lived and traveled, offers a wealth of opportunities for those who choose to go solo.
For the uninitiated, walking into an establishment alone may make one feel uncomfortable or awkward. But Taos has long been a destination for the creatives, the unencumbered, and the ones whose comfort zones are readily expandable and therefore makes it the ideal location for anyone venturing solo for the first time.
Perhaps it is due to the older and somewhat independent-minded demographic of those who live here, or because there remains an undertone of the wild open Southwest, but solos blend in here as easily as the sage on the mesa. Whether dining alone or having a margarita at the Adobe Bar in the Taos Inn, the solo traveler isn’t likely to be solo for long — unless they want to be.
It is the freedom of choice to embrace solitude one day and a social experience the next that solos love. Solo travelers are in-fact alone, but few are lonely. Nearly 100 percent of solo travelers, upon returning from a trip, say they will travel solo again and many come to prefer it.
The realities and responsibilities of life often require us to meet the demands and expectations of colleagues, bosses and families — solos understand that doing more of the same on vacation isn’t always a vacation. My favorite trips have been as a solo traveler where I can linger and not feel rushed to keep up with someone else’s agenda or schedule — or not have to wait for someone to keep up with me on a hiking trail or a ski slope.
Ojo Caliente is a short and scenic drive outside of Taos and has long been a favorite solo destination. With much of the property canopied in a whisper zone — why not go alone? I find that people are often intrigued with me on solo trips and I have dozens of experiences where strangers have talked with me — many who are friends today.
One gentleman having lunch with his daughters noticed me enjoying my lunch at a lovely riverside table and, as they were leaving, he approached me and said he hoped his daughters would grow up to be as independent and content as I seemed. Rather than a rare sentiment, I had heard similar things before. Solo travelers inspire others just as much as we are inspired, and the connections made through solo travel are often impossible to make when traveling with others.
As the travel industry catches on to the solo travel trend, travelers who choose to go it alone are increasingly benefitting from solo sales and specials. In my experience, I make more connections and have a richer experience when I travel solo. I’ve traveled to Taos (twice) as a solo traveler and, if you have not seen Taos through the eyes of a solo traveler, add it to your bucket list.