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by Lyle Daly | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on Aug. 18, 2019
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Sometimes traveling solo is exactly what you need.
Even though there are plenty of people who love to travel, it’s far less common to find people who love to travel solo. Most of us take our first trips with family, then start going on trips with friends as we get older, which leads to the idea that traveling is something that’s done with other people.
Solo travel, by comparison, may seem like a strange, foreign concept. Won’t you get lonely? Aren’t you going to look weird, traveling on your own?
It’s a shame that so many are apprehensive about going solo, because it can be one of the best and most exciting ways to travel. Here are some of the biggest reasons that you should consider giving solo travel a chance.
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On my first solo trip, I immediately loved the feeling of being in complete control. When you travel with other people, you’re probably going to make concessions regarding activities at some point.
It’s doubtful you and your travel partners will always want to do the same things, so you’ll need to compromise. And although that works to keep the peace, it’s no fun to spend parts of your vacation on what someone else wants to do.
On a solo trip, you never have to worry about this. It’s your opportunity to be as selfish as you want, because you have no one to answer to but yourself.
Some of my favorite things about traveling are getting to know locals and connecting with a new culture. It’s fun to chat with people you’d never meet in your everyday life. And although you can still do this on a group trip, it’s usually easier to do so when you’re on your own.
With others, you have a built-in interpersonal safety net. You already have people you know whom you can and probably will talk to. When it’s just you, there’s more incentive to put yourself out there.
Planning group travel can be a hassle, and the higher the number of people going, the harder it will be.
You can’t just book your flight, lodging, or activities on a whim. First, you need to check with everyone else to see if they’re on board. Then, you need to make sure there’s space for everyone. If you have four people but there are only three seats left on a flight, then you’re out of luck.
You eliminate those hurdles when you’re on your own. If it’s the middle of the night and you see airfare you can snatch up with your travel rewards, you can book your flight without waiting on anyone else.
If you’re trying to keep your travel costs down, you’ll have a much easier time when it’s just you. You can set a budget for yourself, and you won’t feel any peer pressure to overspend.
Now, that’s not to say it’s impossible to keep your credit card bill in check on a group trip, but it is more difficult. People often relax their budgets on vacation. If you’re the odd one out, you could find yourself overspending just because you don’t want to feel like you’re holding everyone else back.
This may seem silly, but honestly, working around other people’s sleep schedules on a vacation can be frustrating. Maybe they want to get up and get moving right away, but you’d prefer to stay out late and sleep in. Or, you might just want to sleep off that jet lag for 12 hours, guilt-free.
Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make all the difference. Being able to sleep when you want, without considering how it will affect any travel companions or whether you’ll get any disapproving glances from them, is one of those little things that can make a vacation that much better for you.
Life tends to be easy enough when you stay inside your comfort zone -- it is called a comfort zone, after all. Stepping outside your comfort zone is both a challenge and one of the best ways to grow as a person.
Solo travel is about as outside of your comfort zone as you can get. You’re going to a new place where you don’t know a soul. You’ll need to acclimate yourself and figure out how to get around. You’ll be making all the decisions, and if anything goes wrong, it’s up to you to fix it. If you want to learn how to be more self-reliant, solo travel is a step in the right direction.
Traveling with other people can be a great time, but don’t feel like you always have to do it that way. If you give solo travel a chance, you may find that you have the time of your life.
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