I have a lot of experience traveling alone. I’ve been doing it for three years, since I’m a college student who lives in a different state than where I go to school. It was definitely a little bit scary the first time I had to travel by myself when I went home for Thanksgiving break. Now that I’m a seasoned solo traveler, though, I’ve noticed that there are actually a lot of benefits to flying, driving, or taking the train by yourself.
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If you’re planning on flying by yourself for the first time or taking a road trip alone, you might be a little nervous. But never fear! Keep in mind these eleven benefits to traveling alone, and you won’t be so worried anymore.
1. It’s an Exercise in Independence
I see the first trip you take by yourself as one of those milestones in adulthood. Traveling alone is a true exercise in independence because you have to keep track of so many different things (mentally and physically). If you mess up, it’s all on you. If you succeed, you get to take all the credit for a great trip! No matter how it goes initially, you will figure out a way to make the experience good. You’ll certainly learn a lot.
2. You Don’t Have to Share Your Snacks
Enough said, right? You get to choose the travel snacks, so you can have all your favorite junk food and healthy options. And then, even better than that, you don’t have to share any of your food! No one is around to see you eat that entire bag of Skinny Pop. Or that box of Oreos. They’re all for you.
3. No One Else Can Make You Late
If you’re an incredibly punctual person, like I am, traveling alone is a great thing. You’ll always be on time—or even early—to your flight or train. You’re the kind of person who can budget time well, so you’ll be able to hit all the best snack and bathroom places.
If you are the kind of person who is perpetually late, this might actually work against you. No one will be there to keep you moving. This trip will certainly challenge you to be more on time. You might be worried about this, but in the end, you’ll probably pleasantly surprise yourself when you rise to the challenge.
4. Lots of Reading Time
In other words, you can be as introverted as you want to be. If you don’t want to talk to anyone, you don’t have to! Instead, you can read, listen to music, write, or do any other activity you love. There’s no pressure to be high-energy all the time.
5. You Can Make New Friends
On the flip side, you can also be as extroverted as you want to be. If you’re trying to navigate your way around a totally new place, you’ll have to sharpen your people skills. Make some new friends at restaurants you visit and the places you stay. These people can be invaluable resources while you learn more about the towns through which you’re traveling, as well as your final destination.
6. No Unwanted Detours
Everyone knows the trope of the embarrassing parents who want to take their kids to the world’s biggest rubber band ball while on a road trip. The kids really don’t want to, but their parents make them go anyway. While you might not travel with your parents anymore, chances are you do have friends who will have different interests than you do. You might find roadside attractions interesting, but if you don’t you have the choice to not stop at any.
In a similar vein, if you want to take a detour, you can! No one is stopping you from visiting quaint small towns and other unique attractions.
7. You’ll Learn About Yourself
One of the benefits of “me time”—which will you have plenty of when traveling alone—is that you learn a lot about yourself. What makes you tick? How do you handle uncertainty? If you miss a flight or run out of gas, how do you manage a crisis? By the end of the trip, you might have the answer to these questions and many more.
8. It’s a Huge Confidence Boost
While you learn more about yourself, you’ll also be learning how awesome you are! Right now, you might think that traveling alone is scary. And it certainly can be. But, when you have a successful trip all on your own, you’ll see that you can do it, and that will be a great source of pride.
9. You’ll Need to be Organized
This might seem like a drawback, especially if you’re naturally a disorganized person. The ability to be organized is a very important skill to have, though, and one that you can use in all aspects of your life. When you have to keep track of all your belongings, tickets, destinations, lodging accommodations, and activities, then organization will become a necessity. If you don’t have this skill at the beginning of the trip, after traveling alone you will certainly learn it.
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10. You Pick Your Own Destination
When you travel with other people, you might have to compromise on your final destination. Not if you’re traveling alone, though! You pick your own destination. That’s true whether you’re on a road trip with a general destination of “somewhere beautiful” or you want to fly on a plane to a specific city.
11. It’ll Push You Out of Your Comfort Zone
Ultimately, when traveling alone you’ll have experiences that push you out of your comfort zone. You’ll accomplish things you never thought were possible on your own—whether that’s as simple as eating a meal in a restaurant by yourself or driving across the country. Your comfort zone will expand to include so many more things, which will really help you grow as a person.
As you can see, there are many benefits to traveling alone. If you’ve ever traveled alone, we’d love to hear about your experience. Any tips? Lessons you learned? Share in the comments! And if you’re planning on traveling alone soon, be safe and have fun.
Resources: Fodor’s Travel