One major “first” that I experienced while studying abroad is that I took my first truly solo trips. For one of these, I went to Amsterdam for a weekend, and for the other, I did my borderline-crazy 3-day country-hop of Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria. After these excursions, it’s safe to say that I’m a major proponent of solo travel. Today, I’m discussing some of the biggest benefits from travelling alone – hopefully they’ll make you want to hop on a plane by yourself and break out the selfie stick (yes, they’re annoying, but yes, they’re worth it).
1. You get to do exactly what you want to do
It’s a bit selfish-sounding, but being able to set your own itinerary and do everything at your pace is so fantastic. I’m a morning person, so I love the chance to get out early and start exploring, something my friends aren’t necessarily as equally fanatic about. I also have some really specific travel obsessions (really high up views, artisan coffee shops, and vegan restaurants) and traveling alone allows me to satisfy these desires to my heart’s content. You also get to do all of the planning yourself, and if you’re like me and are Type-A to the extreme, having all of your travel plans perfectly organized at the tip of your fingers gives you an adrenaline rush.
2. It’ll make you a more confident human being
Proving to yourself that yes, you’re able to navigate a relatively-unknown area, see some beautiful things, and eat in restaurants all by yourself is honestly a fantastic confidence boost and will really make you feel like a fantastically self-sufficient person. Those types of skills transfer over well into normal, everyday life, and can make you more of an independent, functioning adult when it comes to day-to-day tasks, like setting up your own doctor’s appointments and successfully driving to a new location without getting horribly lost. (If you don’t naturally struggle with at least one of those, I envy you.)
3. You see more of the city
Don’t get me wrong, traveling with other people is great, but I swear you see more of a city when you’re by yourself than when you’re with someone else. Without a constant conversation partner, you spend way more time looking around you and truly absorbing your surroundings. I noticed countless details and interesting architectural elements that I might not have caught had I been trying to carry on a conversation as well, or if I had been trying to corral a group of friends with me.
4. It’s fantastic “me” time
Regardless of whether you’re naturally an introvert or not, everyone can use a little time for themselves. You get some quality thinking time to refresh your mind, and you get the peacefulness that comes with pure aloneness. Even for someone like me, who thrives off of human interaction and can safely be considered an extrovert to some degree, three days of traveling solo was a perfect breath of fresh air. Depending on your personality, more or less time traveling alone may work for you, but that’s my sweet spot. When it was time for me to rejoin the world of my friends/acquaintances/classmates, I was a much more positive, relaxed, and sociable person because of that time apart from everyone.
On the note of solo travel, I’m actually hopping on a plane to Washington D.C. today, where I’ll be interning for the summer. I can’t wait to share all that I discover there with all of you!