I don’t always travel by myself, but when I do, I revel in the untainted freedom of it. There is a certain beauty to exploring a new city on your own. It’s not that I don’t love traveling with my friends or with my boyfriend, but there is a special place in my heart for travelling alone. One could argue that seeing a new destination is best when you have someone to share it with, but I feel like sometimes I appreciate it more when I discover new places on my own. It’s so gratifying to successfully navigate an unfamiliar destination without relying on anyone but yourself. I’ve done it well and I’ve done it not so successfully, but there is no doubt that I will keep travelling solo as long as it’s an option. Below are my favorite perks of solo travel:
- Being in Control of Your Own Schedule: Your time is 100% your own and you can fill it with whatever you want. There is no need to compromise what you want to accomplish because it’s your trip. If you want to lay on the beach all day and read trashy romance novels, you can do that. If you want to eat at the same restaurant for breakfast lunch and dinner, you can do that too. Your trip, your decisions, whatever makes you happy is what you can and should do.
- Meeting Amazing People: It’s always easier to meet new people when you’re by yourself than with a group; maybe because you seem more approachable or maybe because you’re more open to your surroundings when you are alone. Whenever I travel alone, I meet the kindest people who are always ready and willing to help with directions, give restaurant suggestions or chat for a while about the city we’re in, or anything at all.
- Never Being Bored: I think my biggest pet peeve about telling people I’ll be traveling alone is when they ask, “Won’t you be bored? What are you even going to do there?” The answer to this annoying question: I’m going to discover a place that is completely new to me, I’m going to try exciting new foods, I’m going to get a feel for the culture and the people. I will be so busy enjoying these new experiences that I won’t even think about boredom. How could anyone be bored on vacation, alone or otherwise?
- Gaining Confidence: When I took a solo road trip to Asheville, NC, I was testing a lot of personal limits. I’m not a super comfortable driver, but I made it there without incident AND once there, I drove up and down mountains. MOUNTAINS. This was a very large step outside my comfort zone, however it is kind of necessary to force yourself out of your comfort zone when you travel alone. There won’t be anyone else there to do the uncomfortable things for you. You have to count on yourself for the whole trip, but then again, that’s how you find out what you’re made of.
- Never Waiting Around: How many times have you tried to plan a trip, but couldn’t find anyone with the time or funds to go with you? If you travel alone, you only have your own schedule and budgeting to worry about. This makes choosing when and where you’re going a whole lot simpler. There’s also the plus of not having to compromise where you want to go with your would have been travel companions.
- Learning a thing or two: Traveling alone is a wonderfully eye opening experience. You’ll learn to be comfortable on your own, and that’s a solid life skill. You will also learn how to consistently budget, the value of a back-up plan, how many pairs of shoes is too many pairs to pack, and, not to mention, how amazingly helpful Google Maps is. If nothing else, you will come back with the knowledge that this is something you can do. You can travel alone, enjoy a new place and enjoy yourself in the process.
Traveling solo is really an amazing and invaluable experience that everyone should try, more than once if possible. Yes, it may change you, but only in the best of ways.
Have you travelled solo before? Where did you go? What did you like best about traveling alone?