Guest Post by Rachel O’Conner
There’s traveling—and then there’s traveling alone. Every person, and especially every woman, should experience a solo journey at least once in their life. There are freedoms, challenges, and surprises that simply don’t occur when you’re with friends and family. You don’t have familiar people to lean on, so you have to puzzle-solve yourself. If you’re really up for the challenge, try a solo trip abroad, perhaps in a country where you’re not familiar with the culture or language.
Growth can occur with any vacation. However, when you do it on your own, you help to speed up the process. You’re certain to return an evolved and changed person, although it might take you a while to process and revel in the positive changes you’ve helped create in yourself.
Here are what I consider the best things about solo journeys, and why I recommend them for every person:
8 Things Solo Traveling Taught Me
1.) You don’t have to compromise. If you’ve traveled with other people, you know it’s all about compromise. This is especially true if you’re all sharing one car. This might mean going somewhere you’d rather not, giving up a destination you’d really like to see, or having to leave a museum earlier than you’d like because someone else is burnt out. Solo traveling means you get to plan—or ditch—it all. Maybe you thought you’d love a certain tourist destination, but it turns out you’d rather lounge on the beach all day. That’s totally fine when you’re on your own.
2.) You can indulge in guilty pleasures. Maybe your dream vacation is a full day of going to gelato shops in Italy. No matter how comfortable you are with other people, you put on a bit of a façade with others. You can’t totally indulge in all facets of your life-like you might when you’re alone. However, if you go on a solo trip, there are no masks you feel you have to put on.
3.) You can save money. Have you ever noticed that when you’re out with friends, you tend to spend more? Even in situations where there are group discounts, you might overspend. There’s a social pressure to fit in and spend, but when you’re alone, you can be as frugal as you want to be. You can go on a road trip in your good used car without feeling like you need to get a rental to please your picky friends. For the budget-minded, a solo trip is the perfect way to get to your dream vacations without overspending.
4.) You, and only you, set any alarms. Maybe you’re a night owl, but the friends you usually travel with love to get up for sunrise bike rides. Or perhaps you’re the early bird and are tired of waiting for your sleeping-in travel buddies to actually get up and start the day. When you vacation solo, you choose the alarm times (or whether to set them at all). You’re in total control of your getaway, and that means you can enjoy it more.
5.) You won’t be judged. Do you have a penchant for big tourist traps or really goofy roadside attractions that none of your friends or family enjoy? This might mean you miss out on vacation favorites when you travel with others. However, when you’re solo, you won’t be judged and can see, do, and explore whatever you’d like.
6.) You’ll meet locals and fellow travelers. It’s kind of tough to mingle with the locals and fellow travelers when you’re in a group. However, solo travelers are magnets for making friends with others. There’s no better way to really get to know a new place than by connecting with locals who know all the ins and outs. You might even make lifelong friends, especially if you choose to stay in a hostel where many solo travelers tend to gather.
7.) You can work on your foreign languages. If you’re traveling to a country where the predominant language isn’t your native tongue, it’s a great way to advance your own language skills. Sure, you could try to do the same if you travel with friends who are also interested, but you’ll definitely slip back into the language that’s most comfortable. If you really want to challenge yourself and develop your language skills, nothing compares to traveling on your own.
8.) You’ll be an inspiration. A lot of people, and women, in particular seem to shy away from solo travel. It can be a scary thought, but most people who try it quickly fall in love with it. Maybe you’re not aiming to be an inspiration to anyone in particular, but rest assured that your courage and adventurous spirit will spark motivation in someone.
As you plan your next getaway, consider doing it on your own. If it’s your first time, it will definitely be a trip to remember.
Author bio: Rachel is a freelance content writer located in San Diego, California. Over the course of her career, she has written a variety of health, budget-friendly travel, and fitness articles. In her free time, she enjoys running along the beach with her two puppies and practicing yoga.