“Travel solo,” they say. “It will be fun,” they say. Well, this is one time you should listen to them. When you travel by yourself, it frees you like nothing else. You learn to rely on yourself both physically and mentally. Solo travel also gives you ample “me time” and space to think, ponder, and be self-reliant. It can push you to your limits only, to show you that those limits are made up and not really for you. There are many reasons to travel solo, but these are my favorite top 10.
1. Budget the way you want
One great aspect of solo travel is you get to choose how much or how little money you spend on the trip. Whether that means sandwiches at rest stops or fancy local flavor, the choice is all yours when you choose to travel alone.
I have to deal with this problem more than I like. Family and friends often say, “I want to go on one of your trips with you!” But “one of my trips” isn’t really what they bargained for. I’m more of a sandwiches-at-rest-stops and stopovers at the KOA kind of gal.
2. All the activities are things you want to do
One of the main reasons to travel solo is that every single activity you do is something you have chosen and wanted to do. There’s no going to a boring old art museum to appease your travel partner. OK, I like boring old art museums. In my case, it would be something like go-cart racing. But you can see how something like those two things wouldn’t mesh.
When you travel by yourself, the entire trip is planned by and for you. So everything is tailored to your wants and needs.
3. You get to call ALL of the shots
Along those same lines, getting to make all the decisions is another of the main reasons to travel solo. If you get tired and want a power nap, no worries. You can just pull over and take one without asking anyone else if it’s OK.
Another example is, say you’ve budgeted for sandwiches at rest stops, but those sandwiches are getting really old, you can splurge and not worry about messing up anyone else’s budget.
Also, the travel style is the way you like to travel. Do you like to go, go, go? Or do you prefer a nice slow relaxing vacation? Either way, when you travel solo you get to decide the pace.
4. Change your plans on a dime
Spontaneity is always a great reason to travel solo. Say you’ve planned to summit a certain challenging peak. But after you arrive at your destination, you just feel like the hike is not worth it. There is no other person who was relying on those plans to disappoint.
Another time when traveling solo aids spontaneity is if you are just not feeling it at your destination and you want to pick up and go somewhere else.
5. You take in more details of the destination
Another reason to travel solo is that minus the distraction of a travel companion, you take in the scenery, atmosphere, and vibe of the destination more. By traveling alone, you are more focused on what you came to see. You pay more attention to the details instead of visiting with your travel partner.
6. No one to take the brunt of your moods and vice versa
I don’t know about you, but when I travel I tend to be more tired and cranky than at home. I know, I know vacations are a time to relax. But when I travel, I like to go as hard as I can and see as much as I can. And that kind of trip can cause a little crankiness and tension between travel partners.
Also, those little annoyances a loved one does can be magnified when traveling. You are around your travel partner 24/7, and there’s not much time apart on a trip.
7. You learn to rely on yourself, build confidence and problem-solving skills
Another one of the main reasons to travel solo at least one time is that teaches you learned to rely on yourself. Whether that is changing a flat tire, or learning to be comfortable with your own company, solo travel really teaches you to be self-sufficient. This in turn builds confidence.
Also when you have no one to bounce ideas off of, you have to learn better problem-solving skills. This also makes you a more independent person and builds confidence.
8. You get to know yourself
All that time alone while traveling solo, gives you time to think and get to know yourself better. When you learn to rely on yourself for company, you start to discover things you may not have known before. You tend to push your limits more when you are solo.
When you travel solo, you are not worried about another person’s thoughts or feelings. This gives you time to really know how something makes you feel without the influences of another person.
9. It gives you time to slow down and self reflect, ultimate “me time”
Who doesn’t like a little “me time”? Traveling solo is the ultimate “me time.” As stated in other sections, you get to make all the decisions as well as rely on yourself and get to know yourself.
Take in an audiobook or five like I did on my last three-day drive across the country. Sing your favorite songs the loudest you can and dance with the steering wheel. It’s OK, the only ones watching are people you will never see again.
10. The experience is all yours
One of my favorite reason to travel solo is the experience is all yours. It is something that is unique to you and your personality. Let the Jones keep up with you. You can own your experiences, be proud of them, and share the memory. But at that moment, that experience belongs all to you.
Ten reasons to travel solo
To be honest, I did not one day just decide to drive across the country solo. As my friend group dwindled, I knew that if I wanted to travel, I’d probably have to go alone. My first solo trip consisted of driving across the country alone to visit my aunt and uncle in South Dakota. On my second solo road trip, I drove to Colorado to meet up with friends. Then the next summer I drove to Wyoming to meet up with friends but spent most of the week hiking and camping in Colorado alone. By that time I was hooked on solo travel, and now prefer it to travel with others.
But family and friends see me enjoying myself and want to come along, so now I have to carve out space for solo travel. I do enjoy their company, but I really love a good long solo road trip.