Travel is good for the soul. It is even better when you do it alone. Try it at least once in your life; you just might be surprised by how much you enjoy it. To convince you of the many benefits of solo travel, here are 12 reasons that will hopefully have you rushing to book your next vacation alone.
- You don’t need to have a plan: It’s the best part of travelling alone. You can wing it! Sure it is nice to have an itinerary and an idea about the places you want to visit when you reach your destination, but life is unpredictable. You can change your mind and decide to stay in and relax in your hotel or you may suddenly decide to take a detour and do some hiking. Either way, you don’t need to consult anyone or be worried about affecting someone else’s plans. There’s no better fun than the unexpected. So wander away and find your adventure.
- Make new friends: When you travel as part of a couple or group, it is natural to stay in your comfort zone and stick to the people you know. However, when you travel alone, you’ll find that you tend to seek out strangers, have conversations and make new friends. You will be far more likely to start a conversation with a fellow solo traveller, or a local, when you’re on your own. As much as you enjoy the company of your friends, it is always nice to meet new people, especially those you wouldn’t normally meet in your everyday life back home.You can not only share restaurant and hotel/hostel tips with fellow travellers but, also, friends made on trips can last well beyond the vacation.
- Eat the food you want to eat: Are you a picky eater? Or the more adventurous kind? Are you a vegetarian whose friends all eat meat? Are meal times during group vacations stressful because you need to find a restaurant that caters to everyone’s dietary requirements? Well then, travelling solo is for you. When you feel hungry, you can just walk into a restaurant or pick something up from a street vendor. Your meal times don’t have to align with your partner’s. And you don’t have to feel guilty while you dig into that juicy steak or have three desserts.
- Travel romance: Ok, so one does not necessarily travel to find romance but what is more romantic than a holiday fling. And who knows? You might just find your soul mate on a Thai beach or a cruise along the River Nile. When traveling in a group, friends can make great wingmen. But, they can also cramp your style. You will feel guilty about abandoning your friend on encountering an exotic stranger. Flying solo, though, means you won’t face any such qualms. So live a little and open yourself to new experiences – you never know whom you might encounter.
- Lesson in independence: When you travel with others, there’s always someone else who can make the travel plans, help you find the way when you’re lost and step up when plans go awry. There is always someone else who has your back and that can be very comforting. But it also means that you may tend to get a little lazy about taking the front seat. Traveling solo is your chance to go at it alone. The buck stops with you, as it does many a time in life.A solo vacation can, therefore, be a great learning experience. Confront your fears, deal with stressful situations and enjoy the rewards throughout it all. There’s no greater high, knowing you did it all on your own!
- Find yourself: Now this may sound like new age mumbo jumbo, but most people are not in touch with their true selves. We live for others, for our parents, for our spouses, for society. Many people are so out of touch with themselves that they have no idea what they really want out of life. A solo vacation is the perfect time to drown out the noise and find out what really makes you tick. You don’t have to go all eat, pray, love (unless you want to),but taking the time out to be alone and travel can turn out to be priceless.
- Be whoever you want to be: A solo vacation away from the expectations of friends and family can be a great time to unwind. Just think about it, you can be whoever you want to be, no longer stifled by people’s expectations of you. It can be quite the liberating experience and you might just find you like yourself better without all the pretence.
- Have a no-compromise dream vacation: How many times have you made changes to your itinerary while planning a vacation to make sure everyone’s happy? Although fun, group vacations involve plenty of compromises. Traveling solo means doing whatever you want, visiting sites others may think are boring or going on a hiking trip that your less outdoorsy friends/partner may not find appealing. While company is great, sometimes you just need to indulge yourself.
If you are still not convinced, here are a few more reasons to travel solo that may have not occurred to you.
- You don’t have to share the shopping loot: For many, a large part of their vacation is shopping in local markets for clothes, trinkets and local delicacies. So if you find a vintage, one of a kind, South-western printed skirt on your trip, you don’t’ have to feel like a meanie for not telling your friend about it.
- If your plane crashes, your family and friends who chose not to accompany you on your vacation will be safe (Look on the bright side).
- No one will look at you funny and judge you when you eat too much at the buffet table or choose to stay in and watch TV instead of going to a museum (It takes all kinds!).
- Take some solace in knowing that when you come back from your solo vacation, no one will know about your cringe-worthy drunken episodes, no one will have seen you crying like a baby before you bungee jumped and no one has to know about what happened that one night in Vegas!
Visual courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/maelick/