Every time you’re having dinner alone on a solo adventure and thinking it might be nice to have some company, know that there are at least a thousand fellow travelers who’d give anything to be in your shoes. Touring with your partner or a group of friends can be stressful and going at it alone may be the most underrated travel option on the planet.
Here are some of the best reasons for booking a single ticket and exploring the big wide world by yourself.
- Do Your Own Thing
Traveling with a companion is all about compromise. How to travel, where to go and what to see are all up for discussion, and you rarely get to have everything your own way. Traveling solo means you get to decide exactly what you want to do on any given day, based entirely on your own mood and preferences. Nobody will judge you if you spend the whole day at the zoo and ditch the world-famous museums.
- More Time for Guilty Pleasures
Vacations mean different things to different people. Some like to be constantly on the go, racing from one must-see destination to the next and sucking every glorious minute out of being somewhere new. For others, however, being away from home means sticking your nose in a book or sleeping in. When you’re on your own, you won’t feel guilty about ignoring your travel companions if you just want to spend the day reading or doing something other people would consider anti-social.
- Build Your Confidence
When you’re on a solo adventure, there’s nobody to bail you out if you hit a roadblock. Having to rely on your own judgment and problem-solving skills is a real confidence builder, and you’ll be amazed at how resourceful you’ll become if you only have yourself to depend on.
- Less Drama
How many of your travels have been ruined by other people’s problems? The lactose intolerant friend who just had to try the French cheese. The couple who decided to work through their problems on your group vacation. The sister who got so homesick you finally had to call the whole thing off. Being on your own means only having to deal with your own baggage (literally), and not everyone else’s as well.
- Connect with New People
People who travel with a partner or a group of friends often miss out on the pleasure of meeting locals and fellow adventurers. We all tend to stay pretty insular when we’re in familiar company and traveling alone forces you to branch out. You’re much more likely to strike up a conversation with someone at the hostel, or chat with the bar tender at a local watering hole, if you don’t have anyone else to talk to.
- Stick to a Budget
Solo travelers often complain that it’s more expensive to travel alone because you don’t have anyone to share accommodation expenses and the other costs that are cheaper for couples. On the other hand, it’s way easier to stick to your budget if you’re the only one controlling how the money gets spent. How many times have you overspent on food because your companions wanted to dine at a fancy restaurant? What about all those exorbitant admission fees to attractions you never wanted to visit in the first place? When it’s your trip, you get to decide the priorities and splurge on the stuff that matters to you.
- It’s Good for You
Perhaps the best reason to travel solo is that it’s good for your mental health. Some say that spending more time alone can actually stave off depression, and there’s no question that giving yourself space to just be alone with your thoughts is incredibly rewarding. If you head off on your own, you just might find a level of inner peace that you’ve never been able to hear over the noise of your everyday life.
So, grab your backpack, your travel sheet and a good book. The whole world is waiting, and there’s never been a better time to go it alone.