Hitting the road by yourself can help you step out of your comfort zone and have a more meaningful experience.
Sure, travel companions can be lovely. They can provide interesting conversation and are there when you need a new profile photo in front of a national monument.
But there are some pretty compelling reasons to go it alone, too. Not only can travel buddies hold you back from what you truly want to do on a vacation, but hitting the road by yourself can help you step out of your comfort zone and have a more meaningful experience.
In case you need any more convincing, we rounded up 10 reasons why taking a solo trip is a must.
You choose where and when to travel
One of the best parts of traveling solo is that you plan an entire trip around your schedule. You don’t have worry about when other people can take vacation time. Want to save by traveling during the off-season? Prefer to spend a week in a destination that no one else has strong interest in? You get to call all the shots.
You can move through airports quickly
With long security lines, faulty ticket-printer machines, and gates that are a long schlep away, airports can cause a lot of stress. The great thing about traveling alone? You don’t have to wait for anyone while moving through them. Say goodbye to waiting on friends who have to unpack overweight luggage or walk at a snail’s pace. Who knows — taking a solo trip might just turn an airport trip from a drag into a dream.
You could get the upgrade you deserve
Flight upgrades are great — until you realize that your travel companion didn’t get bumped up, too. Now you’re stuck in the back of the plane next to two crying toddlers. That wouldn’t be the case when traveling solo. When you’re upgraded alone, you need not think about leaving anyone else behind, and can relax in the luxury of first class guilt-free.
Sleep in or turn in early — you get to choose
Most travelers are limited by time — three days here, five days there, a week if you’re lucky. So it’s understandable to want to see and do as much as possible each day. During a solo trip, you can wake up as early as you want and be first in line without dragging your friend who would rather stay in bed until noon. Or, if you’re the type who prefers to start their day late and retire early, that’s acceptable, too. The bright side about traveling alone is that you don’t have to worry about convincing someone else to alter their sleep schedule.
See and do whatever you want
Speaking of scheduling your own time, solo travelers can create an itinerary that suits them, and them alone. If historical sites aren’t your cup of tea, you can skip the museums and ancient attractions. If you crave adventure, opt for thrilling activities. Traveling alone means you can choose your to-dos based on your own interests, time and money.
Tours and hotels can easily accommodate you
If you’re not into booking trips in advance, then solo travel is for you. Group and bus tours are more likely to be able to squeeze in one more traveler than two. The same can be said of hotels, hostels and stand-by flights, as it’s always easier to accommodate a single person rather than a group.
You can plan your trip according to your wallet
Some might argue that it’s cheaper to travel with others, given that you can split hotels, meals and rental car costs. But that’s not always the case. When traveling alone, you’re able to stay where you want and book within your budget. And the same goes for someone who wants to splurge on a luxury hotel, but doesn’t have friends who are able to do the same.
You’ll enjoy a drama-free vacation
Traveling with someone who has similar interests as you can make for a successful vacation. However, when the group includes three or more people, there’s always a chance for drama, which could spoil a getaway. The only drama you’ll experience on a solo trip is while people-watching and witnessing the stress that ensues in other groups.
It’s easier to meet new people
There’s something about being alone on the road that makes it so much easier to meet and mingle with other people. Stop a local on the street and ask them to take your picture, then strike up a conversation. Or find a tour or class and make a new friend. Hostels are another great way to connect with other solo travelers. And if that doesn’t work, here are some more ways to meet people while abroad.
It’s healthy to be alone sometimes
Taking a solo trip can be good for your health. Research has shown that during times of solitude, people are able to be more creative, problem solve more efficiently and think more clearly. It can even help improve relationships with others. Too much alone time can be unhealthy, but we all need a break to refocus on ourselves from time to time. And what better way to get that “me time” than on a solo trip in a faraway destination?