INSIDER SECRET: Take your next trip solo. You’ll travel on your own terms, boost your self-confidence and maybe even learn a new language in the process.
Solo travel is on the rise, especially among millennials, baby boomers and females. But what is it about solo travel that’s so intriguing and why is the trend growing?
With the ease of low-cost flights and hotel booking apps, it’s easier than ever to travel on a whim, by yourself, without time spent planning a trip that meets the needs of family and friends. A weekend in Miami or fitness retreat in Mexico? Just a few taps and you’re booked. And if you’re using your bank of points and miles, it’s easy to save up for a flight for just one person, versus having enough for a companion or whole family.
It once seemed taboo to travel alone and people might have wondered why you’d want to, especially if you’re married or have children. But it’s 2019 and the stigma surrounding solo travel doesn’t really exist anymore. Traveling alone seems less scary nowadays — maybe because everyone else is doing it. And so can you. Regardless of your sex, marital status or age, here are all the reasons why your next trip should be a solo one.
Perhaps the best reason to travel alone is because you can do whatever you want, the way you want to do it. Don’t feel like stopping into that last temple because you’d prefer to nap instead? Go for it. Want to spend the entire day reading at the pool? Do it. How about popping into that cute boutique and then grabbing a coffee? You’ve got nowhere else to be.
It is a wonderful, indulgent feeling, especially for those who don’t often travel alone or parents who spend their days caring for their kids. Getting to do exactly as you please without taking anyone else’s needs into consideration is the ultimate luxury.
Solo travel teaches you things about yourself, and one of the first lessons is usually how to spend time alone. It’s normal to feel lonely or overwhelmed the first time you travel by yourself, but you’ll soon realize that the joy of being able to do whatever the heck you want will overpower the loneliness.
As an adult, it’s often hard to make friends. You aren’t necessarily with a lot of like-minded people anymore, when you were in school as a child/teen/young adult. But being able to talk to people from all walks of life is a skill you’ll bring home from your trip, and you may end up making a friend for life or finding a future travel buddy.
First-time solo travelers may feel more comfortable going on a trip or retreat with other solo travelers. You’ll be on your own, but not completely alone. You can choose to relax by yourself in your own space but be part of a group when you feel like it. Traveling with a group is especially nice when doing an activity or hobby — such as yoga or fitness — or an adventure — such as a safari or cycling trip.
If you want to travel solo and not have to pay a solo-traveler supplement, you’re in luck. Agencies such as Intrepid or U by Uniworld are starting to cater to solo travelers, waiving supplements or creating trips and cruises for those traveling without a plus-one. Some have even created group trips for solo female travelers who may have safety concerns about traveling to emerging countries.
Maybe you’re already self-confident, which is great. But navigating the souks of Marrakech without getting lost or completing that solo hike in Nepal — even successfully surviving the New York subway system on your own — can give you a burst of self-pride unlike any other, regardless of your current state of self-worth.
No one is going to fix your screwy airline reservation or find you a hotel. It’s up to you when you’re traveling on your own. It can be scary, but it will teach you how to be independent. This is a plus for college students or millennials traveling alone for the first time, or anyone dealing with divorce or loss.
Immersion alone in a foreign country means you’ll have to fend for yourself in a new language. This can be a great way to learn some vocabulary and phrases in a different language as well as more about a new culture and its customs and traditions. Coming home with new language skills may even help you get a job or meet new friends. At worst, it’s a skill that will allow you to connect with people around the world. And maybe watch some Netflix shows sans subtitles.
If you’re feeling tied down or overwhelmed with responsibilities, a solo getaway may be just the right medicine. Traveling alone offers the ultimate feeling of freedom, an escape from your daily routine. Even just a few days away can give you a rush of freedom. I love a solo weekend escape where I shut off my phone and bask in being uncontactable.
Sometimes when traveling alone you may need help with directions, a language, maybe even someone to take your photo. There are, indeed, a few bad eggs out there, but traveling alone will make you realize people are inherently good and willing to help you almost all of the time. Of course, you shouldn’t let your guard down entirely, but you may end up pleasantly surprised.
With no one to talk to or take care of, you’ll have the time to soak in the energy of a bustling European city square or the serenity of a misty mountaintop at sunrise. The world is an incredible place, filled with truly wondrous things, and traveling alone allows you to focus on them.
Arriving home to friends and family after a solo trip is a special feeling. You’ve had the escape you needed, you’ve probably grown as a person and you’ll appreciate your loved ones even more now that you’ve been a given a chance to miss them. And, they’ll revel in your newfound confidence, independence and serenity.
This story was originally written on Million Mile Secrets. For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.