Founder of Luxe Recess, Robin Hutson, offers her best advice on traveling solo – whether for business or pleasure – and making the most of it.
Tell us about Luxe Recess and the inspiration behind it: Luxe Recess is a luxury travel magazine for parents who identify more with the idea of using vacation time to share with their children the things that are important to them: art, culture, good food, design, nature, and above all…great hotels. I feel there is an underserved market of families that are ignored by travel media who seek authentic and shared experiences that aren’t as commercial and stimulating as water park hotels. There’s a time and place for amusement park vacations, of course, but family travel has the opportunity to be as influential as education in shaping children. It should be an investment planned with the same thoughtfulness as education.
Why do you believe traveling is a valuable experience? I think for all types of travel, leaving one’s immediate bubble and routine brings the chance for greater awareness and human connection.
What are the benefits of taking solo-trips, even if you’re in a relationship? Solo travel is wonderful and can be far more life-changing than travel with our friends and family. When we travel as a group, we move with buffers around us. You experience a new place far more intensely when you arrive alone and feast on the new place with a far deeper appetite. I think the greatest gift of solo travel is to use the time to achieve a greater presence with fewer distractions, to reach a deeper meditative state than when we are home surrounded by our responsibilities.
How should you prepare for a solo-trip? I think its about mental preparation of letting go of all of the things on our to-do list and accepting what doesn’t have to be done, what doesn’t need to get packed.
Any suggestions on the perfect location for a solo-getaway? If you want to engage in conversation with strangers, staying at business hotels instead of more leisure properties will ensure there are other solo travelers to chat with in the restaurants and bars. There’s nothing like finding popular cafes and bars to make new friends and talk local politics and history, but that may not be within the comfort zone of every solo female traveler.
I’ve many met people on airplanes, sharing taxis, drying nails at the spa that I am still in touch with, so it pays to be an extrovert. If I want to be alone, I head to a museum with a loaded playlist.
How can we make the most of a solo business trip? I’m a mom of young children, so every solo business trip is a leisure vacation in disguise. I have flown over a million miles, and I learned long ago to use the plane as an unplugged moment, even before airplane WiFi. I stare out the window and put the million monkeys in my head to sleep for a long, overdue nap.
What are your must-have essentials when you’re traveling alone? I am a beauty product junkie, and I love to grab every product sample in my stash to try at the hotel. One of my favorite brands, Kahina Giving Beauty offers very natural products that support communities of Moroccan women. Their pure Argan oil gets me through the winter and air travel without flaking. They sell these comprehensive sample bags of their facial and body line, and I am still working through them.
I also insist on comfortable walking shoes to wander for hours on foot. I have worn through my Ripetto ballet flats I bought last time I was in Paris, and I am eager to try a new type.