Not only do solo vacations open doors to cultural knowledge and self-discovery, but separation from the normal comforts like friends, your job, and routine leads to a greater appreciation of your life when you return. There’s no better way to reset and unwind, even if it is a little scary! So make the most of this summer by booking a flight for one and leaving your routine behind. Your friends will be there when you get back.
1. You’ll experience true freedom.
Nights and weekends are the recess of adulthood and it’s easy to get sucked into routine. You unwind with your friends, family, and coworkers, but this cycle sort of blends together. When you travel alone, that routine ceases to exist and you experience what it’s like to be truly free. Being constantly surrounded by the comfort of familiarity makes us forget the little things, like where we came from and what we want. Traveling alone reminds us that we can still dream, and you can still do all those silly things you wanted to do when you were a kid.
2. You’ll make new (and international) friends.
The most ironic part about solo travel is that you are rarely alone. Why? Because there are thousands of crazies just like you doing the same thing and they are more than happy for your company. Social stigmas get thrown out the window abroad. A night out with a stranger can lead to a weekend excursion to Barcelona. A stranger you just met might give you their spare bus pass when you lose yours. You learn to rely on other people and you realize the world is full of good people.
3. You’ll save money.
Solo travel means you only have to worry about one person: you. That means instead of coordinating schedules you can be flexible with your flight times, buy those last-chance-one-seat tour offers, and take advantage of one-bed specials at hostels. You don’t have to worry about splitting checks or having to pay for a museum tour you have no interest in because your friend’s a huge Rembrandt fan and you don’t want to seem unsophisticated. You can plan realistic budgets based on what you want to do and stick to it. Free tip: sign up for “single supplement waived” Google alerts for some free adventures.
4. You’ll boost your resume.
Employers look for candidates who are well rounded, self-motivated, and flexible. Traveling alone provides the real world experience you need to show your personality in any interview. Not only does travel inspire creativity, but it also demands adaptability and problem solving. Solo traveling demands adaptability, problem solving, decision making, time management, and planning all with limited resources: buzzwords for any LinkedIn profile.
5. You’ll blend in with the locals.
Solo-travelers are less likely to be targeted, hustled, and ripped off than people who travel in groups. Groups of foreigners are prime targets for inflated prices and persistent hassling because there’s such a high chance of return. Travelling alone lets you blend in with the locals and keeps you at an arm’s reach from scams. A merchant is less likely to waste time on one individual because there’s less return. As a lone traveler you’ll develop relationships with merchants and vendors that you love. Stay long enough and you might even get their friends and family discount.
6. You’ll get the full force of culture shock.
Solo travel forces you out of your comfort zone into a completely unique situation. Not only is communication limited, but everything from the city streets to the food is unfamiliar. It’s overwhelming and terrifying and exhilarating all at once. The world suddenly feels big again, and you feel like a kid lost in an amusement park. It’s almost too much, but then you wake up one morning, alone in a new city with new language and culture, and realize it’s the best feeling in the world.
7. You’ll return home a new person.
Vacationing alone can be as exhausting or relaxing as you want it to be, but you’re the boss You can spend your days canyoneering and hiking mountains or wake up at noon and browse your favorite exhibits at the local museums. Regardless of your style, you’ll return feeling refreshed and renewed, totally at peace with the memories you made and the adventures you had. You’ll appreciate the things you missed and feel more thankful for the parts you normally overlook. You won’t regret it.
Photo credit: Getty Images