For the majority of us, the thought of taking an exciting vacation typically includes company. We see ourselves going to a cabin in the woods with our man, or going to the beaches of Italy with our best friends, or planning a fun road trip with our family. But traveling alone? That’s not where our mind usually goes.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First off, we think of traveling as a chance to bond with our loved ones – it’s fun to imagine wandering the streets of Paris with our best friend by our side. We also think of it as a social experience – wouldn’t we want someone to go to dinner with? And lastly, it can be a bit nerve-wracking, especially as a young woman, to go anywhere unfamiliar on our own.
And while these are all valid reasons to travel in groups, we can’t deny that there are real benefits to taking a trip alone. So much so that every woman should consider traveling solo at least once. Here’s why.
You Have Total Freedom
Traveling is supposed to be fun for us. It’s meant to enrich our perspective, provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and help us make memories we’ll look back on for years to come. But when we’re traveling with others in tow, we can’t always adventure the way we want to.
Being on our own, however, means that we have total freedom to have whatever kind of trip we desire. We can stop at any coffee shop we think looks interesting, begin our day at whatever time of day we prefer, go back to our hotel for a midday nap if we like, or walk just a little bit further than we would if we were in a group. We’re able to explore at our own pace.
It Helps You Practice Decisiveness
Making decisions doesn’t come naturally to many of us. We might always find ourselves saying, “I’m good with anything,” when our boyfriend asks where we should go for dinner, or asking our friend what time she wants to meet up rather than landing on a time on our own, or constantly texting our mom to ask which outfit she likes better for a job interview.
Going on a solo vacation will make it so we have to be the decision-maker. It’s up to us if we go to a museum that day or just wander around without solid plans, or if we take ourselves out to a nice dinner, or swing by a local restaurant for some takeout. As we practice making decisions throughout our trip, we’ll come to trust our instincts, which can actually help train us to become better decision-makers in our day-to-day lives.
You’ll Learn To Love Being on Your Own
Most of us might say we’re perfectly fine being on our own, but have we really learned to enjoy our own company? Do we typically rely on other people to have a good time, feeling like any time spent by ourselves is less fulfilling?
Traveling on our own is a wonderful opportunity to learn how to love being on our own, to create an adventure for ourselves, and to find our own company energizing. While we’ll always need community and company that includes other people, it’s important that we learn how to exist happily by ourselves.
You’ll Save Money
One thing that keeps many of us away from traveling at all is how expensive it gets. From airfare to lodging to meals, it’s easy to rack up a bill when we’re traveling in a pack. And sometimes, it’s difficult to keep track of who paid for what and how much everyone’s spent.
With only ourselves to worry about, some of the financial burdens are taken off. We can get the cheapest flight if we don’t have to coordinate with anyone else’s schedule, find low-cost lodging for one, and be prudent about what we’re spending on meals without disappointing anyone. When we’re on our own, how much we end up spending is totally up to us.
You’ll Come Back Feeling Refreshed
Traveling can be incredibly stressful. We’re living out of suitcases, keeping track of a million little belongings, and trying to keep our travel companions' desires in mind. And on top of that, everyone might be a bit more on-edge, having had their creature comforts taken away. This can all lead to a vacation that ultimately isn’t all that restful.
But when we’re on our own, we’ll have a lot less weighing on our mind, making for a vacation that’s refreshing rather than draining. We won’t have to navigate someone’s bad mood, figure out a compromise so that no one feels jilted, or keep track of anything that’s not our own.
Before You Travel Alone, a Few Words of Advice
Have we convinced you to take a solo trip yet? Maybe you’ve already started looking at flights, imagining all the new places you could explore on your own, whether you’d hike the rocky mountains of Colorado, wander the winding streets of London, or relax on the gorgeous beaches of Greece.
Before you book your flight, however, it’s important to be wise when it comes to traveling alone as a woman. Here are a few ways you can make sure you stay safe throughout your adventure:
Pick a destination that’s safe for women, has low crime rates, and has friendly locals.
Make sure a few trusted people know where you’re going, and even what you’ll be doing each day.
Leave your location on so those back home can keep track of your whereabouts.
Have regular check-ins with friends and family.
Don’t bring anything valuable that you don’t absolutely need.
Have copies of important documents (passport, ID, etc.) saved to the cloud.
Keep your belongings hidden, even in your hotel room.
Use a crossbody anti-theft bag to avoid being targeted by pickpockets.
Don’t tell strangers that you’re traveling alone.
Use maps to get a lay of the land before going somewhere unfamiliar.
Be aware of your surroundings, and trust your gut if something or someone seems off.
Traveling alone requires some extra planning in order to stay safe, but the benefits are undeniable. If you’ve never gone on a solo adventure before, make this the year that you do so!
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