5 Reasons to Travel Solo
I fell in love with traveling nearly ten years ago on my first trip to Paris. It was my first time in a different country. Eight years and thousands of airline miles later, I just got back from my 50th!
Now that I'm married (!) I travel mostly with my husband. But before we said "I Do," I took a lot of trips on my own. I had a long list of places I wanted to see while I was studying and living abroad, so on my weekends I booked train tickets, rode buses, and took Easy Jet all over Europe. I didn’t always have someone to travel with; but I didn't let that stop me. There were sights to see, museums to visit, cones of gelato to eat! I decided I would much rather go alone than not at all. After a few trips, I quickly realized that traveling solo had some serious perks, and I began to love it.
So whether you're dying to go to Machu Piccu but can't find someone to go with you, or you're thinking of taking a gap year, or you just need some you time - stop worrying, book the flight and go! Because I know from experience that solo travel is awesome, and here's why.
1 - You're the boss!
Planning a trip with other people can be a real challenge. Just to coordinate dates, budgets, and decide on a location together can be a lot of work and involve some compromise. When you travel alone, you and only you are in complete control of everything: the location, the schedule, the hotel, the budget, the restaurants, even what time to begin and end the day. Traveling with someone else means taking their desires into consideration and making comprises - and that affects your trip. When you’re alone you can do exactly what you want when you want. You’ll never be forced to wake up at 7am if you’d rather sleep in till 11, or disagree over what museum to visit, or whether to walk or take a taxi. Your meals for the day can consist of a nutella crepe and three ice cream cones and no one will judge you. Doing exactly what you want, how you want, when you want is a sure way to love every second of your trip, and never feel like you had to sacrifice something.
2 - You’ll read, write, and reflect.
How often do you bring a book on holiday and never touch it? Or have all intentions of keeping a travel journal but struggle to find time to make a single entry? Traveling alone gives you the time to read, write, and reflect with no one to distract you. One of my greatest fears when I started traveling alone was that I would get bored with no one to talk to, but I found immersing myself in a book and keeping a journal with me to write as I experienced things during the day was so fulfilling. With so much time to myself, I really focused on the place I was and soaked every minute of it in. Thanks to my solo trips, I have a stack of hand-written travel journals and photos that are everlasting memories.
3 - It will boost your Girl Power!
Traveling alone means doing everything for yourself. You have to do all the talking, negotiating, and planning. Without someone to share responsibilities and depend upon, you have to learn how to navigate the place you are, make decisions, and be bold. And once you do, it's incredibly rewarding and empowering! After one or two solo trips, my confidence had skyrocketed. I would get to a place, grab a map, and think "I got this!" I got over my fear of asking strangers for directions, dining solo, and found I became very friendly with hotel staff and locals. Now when I travel, I’m not afraid of, or intimidated by anything. When you look back on an incredible day spent abroad and realize you did it all yourself, you feel like Travel Spice. Especially if you were walking around all day in platform sneakers.
4 - You’ll maximize your time.
Being from a family of seven, I know from experience that the larger the group, the slower it moves. If you travel with others, someone will always be slowing you down. You have to wait to start your day until everyone is ready. You have to stop when someone needs a rest, or a drink, or needs to find a bathroom, or wants to go into a shop. While these stops are just 5 minutes here, 2 minutes there - they add up by the end of a trip. When you travel alone you go at your pace, however fast or slow that is. Being on your own is way more efficient; you’ll find you can accomplish so much in one day. You also feel no guilt about holding someone else up. If you want to go into absolutely every jewelry store in the village of Oia accumulating dainty gold bracelets, you won't have a bored husband trying to hurry you along, interfering with your arm candy goals. Think about it.
5 - You are your best travel companion.
Just because you get along with someone at home does not mean you will get along on vacation. Traveling with someone, particularly for the first time, you might encounter some real problems. Having a disagreement, clashing ideas, or becoming irritated with your travel companion for one reason or another is all too real. When you're on vacation with someone it is 24/7 time together. It's easy to get frustrated after a few days. I believe you don’t really know someone until you’ve traveled with them. So if you’re worried about picking a companion that you know would travel well with, then choose to take a trip with the person you know better than anyone - yourself.