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November 23, 2019
Ask anyone who's done it, and they will likely agree on one thing: there's something genuinely unique and liberating about traveling by yourself. If you've never done it before, it might not sound like the most appealing option. Sure, experiencing a new place with your favorite people is a stellar way to create memories and bond, but traveling alone for the first time pushes your adventurous spirit into new territory. It will actually be one of your more memorable trips because of it. So let's get on with it. Here are 5 reasons why you shouldn't miss out on this kind of trip:
Especially if you plan an open-ended itinerary, you can stay, go, change your mind, and change your mind again. Goes without saying that when you travel with someone else, you can't exactly make every decision on your own, but when you travel solo, you have no one to answer but yourself. It's quite refreshing.
When you travel in a group or with another person, it’s super easy to isolate yourself from everyone around you. After all, you’ve got all the company you need. Traveling alone means that you are more likely to strike up a conversation with a stranger (or they with you), tag along with another person’s activities or even make plans to meet up again later.
Have you ever caved in to an expensive restaurant that you can't actually afford, just because that's where someone else wanted to go? Or maybe you're willing to shell out a few extra bucks for a comfier hotel room, but your travel partner wants to skimp on accommodations? Say hello to the "My Vacation, My Budget, My Choices" plan and make money one less thing you have to worry about.
Having common interests with your friends or significant other is great, but there's inevitably something you want to do more than anyone else you know. Go see that one city lit up at midnight, take that hobby of yours to the next level, or experience the culture of that one obscure town you've dreamed about since you were little. You might not always have this chance, and what a bummer if you miss it?
This isn't some cliche Eat Pray Love advice. It is genuinely among the best one-on-one times you'll have, somewhere totally new, experiencing something entirely outside your everyday humdrum. How do you deal with hiccups along the road when you can't gripe to the person next to you? Maybe you're not as socially awkward as you think when you force yourself to meet new people? Perhaps you discover that you really do love being on your own for a while?
Still not convinced? Let's tackle some common concerns about solo travel...
It's not an uncommon feeling but not as awkward as you think once you get comfortable and stop feeling self-conscious. To ease your way in, try the following:
Whether you're plastering your trip over social media or just keeping a private collection of memories, you shouldn't miss out on getting some rad pics of your trip. Consider the following:
Traveling alone doesn't mean you have to stay alone the whole time. Be as social or as independent as you like. Sign up for a cooking class while you're in Brazil, take scuba diving lessons in Thailand, or join a surf camp in Sri Lanka. Chances are, you'll have fun while meeting new people along the way (including other solo travelers), and you may decide to spend more time with them, or perhaps enjoy a group activity as a small part of your trip.
That said, it doesn’t mean you will be immune to rough days or annoying situations that you will have to deal with on your own. But maybe, just maybe, that’s not a bad thing. Perhaps learning to be alone and figuring out how to enjoy your own company is a lesson you want to learn. It could also be a great way to escape the distractions of everyday life while you figure out if you really do want to quit your job, go back to school, or take that relationship plunge.
-Franzi Roth in Mongolia
-JJ Leaver road tripping across the US
-Diana Ivey in Petra, Jordan
-Sam Steinberger on the Inca Trail in Bolivia
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