A couple of years ago I was worn out after a hectic year which involved graduating, breaking up with my ex fiance, moving twice, changing job and then falling in love with the guy who would become my best friend. I woke up one day in November 2003 and felt exhausted. I wanted to go on holiday but it was a dodgy time of year for people’s finances because they were preparing for Christmas, so I literally said “F*ck it! I’m going on my own.” Two weeks later I was on a flight from London to Antigua.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared but I was probably even more frightened of not being able to cope with a holiday with me, myself and I. I remember being the last person in the taxi van as complete darkness descended on the island and promptly felt like throwing up and wanted my mummy. The taxi driver then placed his hand on my arm and said “Don’t worry baby. There’s no need to be scared.” This actually made me feel worse as I was convinced that it was all a ploy, but I obviously made it safely to the hotel!

If there is anything I can get you to do whilst single, I beg you to take a holiday for a week with just yourself for company. It’s a fantastic opportunity to recharge your batteries but it also puts you in touch with yourself. It is very easy for us to become used to doing things in pairs or groups, but going on holiday on your own doesn’t make you a sad singleton. It’s an empowering experience that gives you an independence that very few other experiences can bring. I am a firm believer that you should be comfortable in your own skin and company before you expect anyone else to be. There will come a time when you are wifey with a load of kids running around or whatever your future plan is and it won’t be so easy to take off at your own will.

I got up when I wanted to, took an one to two hours to eat breakfast whilst buried in my book, napped on the sun loungers, read loads, listened to all of my favourite albums but most of all I exhaled and I relaxed. Think long walks on the beach or watching the sun come up or the sun go down.
You don’t have to be on your own because human nature means that people are incredibly nosey and want to befriend you. You will also find that you get a lot of male attention and that other less secure women think you want their guys in their little Speedos and dodgy pube hair hanging out! Yes some women will think you’re predatory but who cares? You’re only away for a week! If you’re a bad ass like me, you’ll smile sweetly at everyone both male and female so that they look silly.

Eating alone is actually not very hard at all. Bring a book or a magazine, but you will find that people have a habit of inviting themselves to your table.
The key is to go somewhere that you will be comfortable. If you really don’t think that you could cope with just your own company for the week, you don’t go somewhere that isn’t a complex/resort with activities and entertainment. However if you’re not fussed you can go where you like.

I recommend that you bring:
Books – If you read relatively quickly like I do, bring three. I mix it up so that I have a variety e.g. 2 thrillers, 1 trashy
Magazines – Catch up on all of the trivial gossip and plan what to fill your wardrobe with.
iPod/MP3 Player – Tune out the pesky guys that chat you up if you need to, or create your own soundtrack to your holiday. Don’t forget to bring iPod speakers then you can dance around your room when you feel like it. I have iPod speakers and they are one of the best things I ever brought. Instant party wherever you are.

Laptop – This is only if you’re a tech addict like me, but it is handy for doing a spot of soul searching writing on your balcony, watching DVDs or playing games should you get bored. You can also download your digital photos when the memory gets full.

Condoms – I didn’t get laid when I went away but you may want to. I want you to come back relaxed, refreshed, or even tanned, but unless it’s what you intended, I doubt you want to come back pregnant!

Digital Camera – You’d be surprised how often you take pics of yourself! Take one each day of yourself and watch the change. I have a habit of taking pics of myself on the sun lounger a lot but be careful of angles. Cameras are handy for starting conversations with hot guys as well!

Clothes – I mean nice ones including a few bikinis so you can mix and match and make yourself feel sexy. Obviously if you go somewhere cold, leave the bikini’s behind! Bring a possible date outfit and one dressy one just in case you somehow end up going somewhere posh. You just never know!

I recommend that you:

Let a few people know where you are. Check in with someone whether it’s by text, phone or email each day.

Don’t go out at night without the address of the hotel and a taxi firm recommended by the hotel.

Bring enough money and a credit card so that you don’t get stranded.

Take each day as it comes.

Take a few walks as they’re great for clearing the head in a different environment.

Get a massage within the first couple of days to de-stress.

Cover your cleavage with sunblock – I got terribly burned! Have you ever seen a black person with baby pink cleavage?!

Be up for having a laugh with strangers at the hotel if you feel like being sociable.

Don’t get pissed out of your face (very drunk) in places outside of the hotel.
Don’t bonk your brains out with a holiday fling if you’re going to return home with your head wrecked.

Set the alarm on your mobile phone if you’re inclined to fall asleep in the sun. Remember, you’re on your own and you’ve only got yourself to rely on.

A week is good but a few days can work too. It all depends on what you think you can manage, afford and how much you need it.

NML is the editor of BaggageReclaim and has been to Antigua and the US a couple of times on her own (met up with friends) since November 2003, and is secretly plotting to have a sneaky holiday in the next couple of months.


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