I love traveling solo – it’s fun, empowering, and I’ve had great experiences so far. But I get many people asking me why I like it so much, and if there are any things that I don’t like about it. So, here’s my Top 10 list of why I love traveling soo – and three things that I don’t.
1. I get to do what I want!
This is a pretty obvious reason. When I travel solo, I get to see what I want, when I want. There’s no, “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” back-and-forth all day. If I want to go into a store, I go. If I’m crazing pizza, I don’t have to worry about if someone is craving tacos.
It’s healthy to be a bit selfish and put yourself first sometimes, and if I’m going to spend money on a trip, I want to make sure that it’s (mostly) spent the way I want to. I’m more into history and culture than a lot of my friends – I wouldn’t drag them to museums, and then I’d be disappointed we didn’t go. I’ve never been to Vegas before – but I’ve been invited. Still, I’ve never gone because I would want to see shows, not just party, so I wouldn’t want to go somewhere that I wouldn’t be able to have a trip that I would actually enjoy. Traveling solo means that I get to have the trip I want guilt-free.
2. I don’t have to wait around.
My friends are great, but some spend half their day getting ready to go out. I am not about that life. I am the friend who sets an alarm even on vacation so I have time to work out and enjoy my coffee before venturing out for the day, so if I did that just to spend the next four hours waiting for my friend to get ready, I’d spend the whole trip annoyed. I’m not always the most punctual of people, but I’m usually within 5-10 minutes of on time. If I can’t rely on some of my friends to make it to a brunch reservation within the hour we had reserved, I’m not sure that traveling will be a fun and no-stress experience.
3. I can be more flexible and adaptable.
On my recent trip to Greece, I decided that I didn’t want to do the horseback riding tour I’d booked anymore because it would change the type of trip I was having. So, I canceled it. I like having the freedom to change my plans. If I realize I want more time at one place or less at another, I can. It’s easier to be flexible when you’re on your own, and I’ve found that flexibility is a must in travel.
4. It’s easier – and more comfortable – to plan
I get it; everyone has different budgets and comfort levels. I don’t spend much money on ‘things.’ I cook and drink primarily at home. I prioritize saving money for travel to afford the type of vacations that I like to take. I’d rather splurge on a hotel than one night out. But, of course, not everyone is like that, and that’s okay! But I have learned that it’s difficult to overcome when attempting to plan travel with friends.
I will never be okay with staying at a hostel – I did that in college, and it was enough. I don’t need a luxury resort, but I like to feel safe, comfortable, and know that where I’m staying provides at least a bit more than the bare minimum. But it can be hard to find a compromise with friends who are okay with hostels and only the basics, and I’ve found that things rarely get planned when there are such differences in comfort levels and budgets.
5. I get to meet new people and make friends.
I’m a very social and outgoing person. I love meeting new people, and I’ve been able to meet some great people by traveling solo. Not having a friend or someone there as a “buffer” forces me to put myself out there. I’ve had so many fun conversations with people because if I wanted to talk to someone, I had to be brave! Getting to know the people is a great way to get to know the culture of where you are. I’ve had so many people strike up conversations with me once they see I’m alone (and not in a creepy way). Talking to strangers and making friends in new cities is a great way to build confidence, and I’ve found it’s easier to do so when you’re traveling alone.
6. I feel confident and empowered.
It’s a great feeling to do something outside your comfort zone, and I always feel empowered AF during and after a trip. Especially when people I meet constantly tell me how cool and brave it is to travel solo and how impressed they are, it’s a nice little confidence boost. I like knowing that I’m confident enough – and secure enough – to do something special for myself. I believe in accepting and loving yourself first and foremost. To me, solo travel is the ultimate way to ‘date’ and love myself.
7. I don’t miss out.
Especially when traveling internationally, if you’re going somewhere, you want to make sure you make the most out of it. Traveling with others, or especially a big group, you can easily run the risk of not getting to see everything you wanted due to lack of time. Or, you do, but your friends didn’t, which also sucks. Also, if an opportunity comes up that you’re dying to do, but it overlaps with other plans, that’s never fun. For the record, I’m a big believer in compromise. When traveling with family or no-stress friends, I’m happy to check out things that might not have been #1 on my list. Still, it’s nice to give yourself opportunities where you’re only doing what you want.