I often write about travels with my family or the day trips I take with my daughter around town. While this is fulfilling in its own right, there is something to be said for the different opportunities and experiences found while traveling on your own. Sometimes you just need to break free of the group and be an individual; be yourself. Whether you’re a parent or tend to always travel in a group, it’s time to take a look at what you have been missing. Here are five benefits of solo traveling.
When you are the only person listed on the itinerary, the usual roadblocks fall away. You get to decide where you’re going and what type of vacation will fill the days. Grab that insane $10 airfare for a city you’ve never been, or grab a map and hop in the car without anyone to question how soon you’ll get to wherever, what’s for dinner, or if the hotel has a pool with a water slide. Being a parent, I love the freedom of being able to pull over to the side of the road for whatever quirky attraction the catches my eye while on a solo road trip. Traveling on your own opens the door to almost infinite flexibility in destinations and scheduling.
Selecting a destination of your choosing is another pleasure of solo travel. You are free to visit places you normally wouldn’t with your spouse, kids, friends, etc. This past Spring I took a road trip through the South East and enjoyed strolling through several old forts, plantation ruins, and cemeteries that would have bored my wife. Another benefit of solo travel is being able to wander and change plans on a whim. If you fall in love with a town, stay another night and feel free to wander without worrying about sticking to a schedule.
Delight Your Taste Buds
Many parents know the bane of having a picky eater in the family and the havoc they can cause over the simple task of eating a meal. No adventure, nothing unfamiliar, nothing with flavor. Well, when you’re on your own it’s a whole new world. Stop by that roadside stand, follow your nose to an interesting food truck, or take a chance on an exotic cuisine you’ve never tried. Just be sure to pack the antacids for tomorrow morning. Without the kids in tow you’re also free to check out the interesting bars and lounges.
Indulge in Self-Discovery
Time is something that magically increases while traveling solo. While tending to the needs of others or being engaged in conversation with your best friend, you may find that there is not a lot of free time to sit back and think about things. Freedom to focus on the adventure, new experiences, or even some self-exploration and working out issues that have been weighing on your mind. Self-discovery can be a big part of vacationing on your own. In addition to freedom of thought, there is also the chance to find new activities you enjoy that may lead to future adventures.
Take a Chance
Finally, there is the opportunity to try new things that your fellow travelers would never consent to doing. Scuba diving, zip-lining, sky diving? Go for it! Whatever adventure that has crossed your mind may be an option. When you get home and your friends roll their eyes, at least you’ll know how much fun it was. What would you do on vacation if nobody was there to tell you how crazy or boring it was? For another great perspective on solo traveling, read this article by my friend Sage at Everyday Wanderer.
When you’ve had enough “me” time, here are Five Reasons to Travel with Kids.
I traveled to Finland alone when I was 20. I was going somewhere for a class but it was exciting.
I’ve done this on work trips before and it can sort of be like taking a vacation with yourself. I also once had a trip to be in a friend’s wedding and they were so busy moving that I was sort of on my own for most of the time. It was actually really relaxing to just hang out with myself!
I’ve never done this. I think my anxiety would take effect, but I think I need to add it to my bucket list.
I absolutely love to travel alone. I go to conferences at least once a year and it’s so fun to be able to eat wherever and have my own agenda. I always come home missing my family though!
The idea of traveling long is so darn appealing to me. I would really love to do it.
I’m traveled by plane by myself to visit my parents, but I’m never gone away by myself. I’m not sure how I’d enjoy it….may have to try it some day!
I have not traveled on my own yet, but this post has encouraged me to try to go alone sometime. Maybe I’ll pick a local place first then branch out from there.