Traveling solo? You're not alone.
With the number of unmarried adults at an all-time high, Americans traveling by themselves for leisure purposes is growing, according to the Travel Industry Association. In fact, travel publisher Fodor's says solo travel has become "trendy." The majority of solo travelers are women 50 and older.
Jeanne Schnupp, a veteran solo traveler who writes about senior travel on her Savvy Sightseer website (nwsdy.li/solotravel), says the joys of traveling alone far outweigh the challenges.
Schnupp, a retired teacher and Farmingville resident, says the initial reaction from friends when she began her solo journeys eight years ago was to tell her how brave she was. But, she says, "It's not being brave, it's doing what I want to do and having some fun."
Schnupp has traveled throughout Western and Northern Europe, and just got back from Vienna. Among her favorite places are England and Switzerland. "I've done a Switzerland-by-rail tour, which was just beautiful," she says. Amsterdam is another favorite. "It's such an easy city to get around." (Fodor's offers its picks for best solo travel destinations at nwsdy.li/fodors.)
While the typical solo traveler is widowed or divorced, Schnupp says more married people are packing their bags and leaving their partner at home.
"I have a lot of friends whose husbands simply don't like to travel," she says. "So they go on their own, and it gives them lots to talk about with their spouse when they get home."
For those thinking of becoming solo travelers, Schnupp advises to start small, and don't go far on your first trip. "Maybe go for a weekend," she says. "Not a weekend to visit family, a weekend like to the Jersey Shore." This way, you can see if traveling solo is for you.
Schnupp will offer hands-on advice about going solo -- and share photos from her recent journeys -- at two free seminars this month. She will be at Sachem Library on Monday, 7-8:30 p.m. Registration is required; call 631-588-5024.
And Longwood Library is sponsoring her presentation on Sept. 29 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The event will be held at the nearby Yaphank Presbyterian Church community center, 65 Main St., because of construction at the library. For reservations, call the library at 631-924-6400.
For Schnupp, who is divorced, seeing the world alone is exhilarating, and she doesn't miss traveling with a partner. "The option is, if I'm not going solo, I'm not going," she says. "The goal is to travel and see things you want to see."