Whether your ideal vacation is an escape from the daily grind on a deserted beach or a journey of self-discovery on the hippie trail, traveling alone is something everyone should try at least once. So maybe bae can’t take time off work, your schedule doesn’t line up with your family’s or you and your BFF just can’t agree on a dream destination. Don’t let that keep you from exploring the world because there are so many reasons to travel solo.
You'll Get to Know Yourself
Diane von Furstenberg said that "the most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself." Nowhere does this become clearer than when you find yourself suddenly a stranger in a strange land.
Meeting the challenge of traveling by yourself can help you discover your strengths and needs. When you have to call all the shots yourself — and can't blame an unexpected outcome on anyone else — you learn to rely on yourself. You just may make yourself say, "Throw your hands up at me," Destiny's Child circa 2001-style.
No Travel Fights
The BFF dynamic doesn't always translate away from home and even the chillest person can turn into a monster in the TSA line. Mark Twain clearly got this when he said, "I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them." Of course, we like to believe that there's that perfect travel buddy out there for everyone. But if you haven't found that special someone who will let you borrow their underwear when your suitcase gets lost, consider using that as a launch pad to travel solo — you may just meet your sightseeing soulmate on the road.
You'll Save Money
Sure, when you travel alone you may miss out on discounts, like group rates or splitting a double hotel room with your traveling companion. But because there's been such a spike in solo sojourning in recent years, more and more hotels, tours and cruises are dropping the practice of charging single supplement fees and are now making accommodations for people traveling alone. Some online travel sites now even include search engine filters to help those traveling alone save money.
Operate on Me-Time
Traveling with a group can be like herding cats, but even traveling with just your best friend or significant other requires a lot of compromise. Sometimes it's totally worth it, but solo travelers also know that nothing makes the world feel so much like your oyster as being able to make your own itinerary. Go ahead, have gelato for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Turn around and walk back to take a closer look at the window display that caught your eye 10 blocks back. Nap in the afternoon, sleeping diagonally in the bed. Linger over the museum plaques as closely as you want or breeze straight through to the gift shop. Take as many do-overs as you need to frame that perfect sunset shot.
Connect With Locals
The opportunity for connecting with locals is one of the huge benefits of traveling by yourself. When you vacation with friends, it's so much easier to find comfort in numbers and only engage with each other in your native tongue. Taking the time to learn some key phrases in the local language, though, is so rewarding — a few little words go a long way to show that you're interested in someone else's culture and you never know when a simple greeting will end up in an invitation to join an authentic family dinner or score you a hand-drawn map to the locals-only beach. It's always important to stay safe, but embracing the fact that solo travelers tend to attract the curiosity of locals (and are much more approachable than a gaggling group of foreigners) can lead to lifelong connections.