The Unexpected Perks of Solo Travel

Hitting the road alone comes with perks that traveling in a group can't match

A solo traveler walks down a busy street wearing a backpack

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We’re celebrating the joy of solo travel. Let us inspire your next adventure with features about why 2021 is the ultimate year for a solo trip and how traveling alone can actually come with amazing perks. Then, read personal features from writers who have traversed the globe alone, from hiking the Appalachian Trail, to riding rollercoasters, and finding themselves while discovering new places. Whether you’ve taken a solo trip or you’re considering it, learn why a trip for one should be on your bucket list.

For many travelers, the idea of setting out on a journey completely alone is simply unthinkable. After all, one of the best parts of travel is getting to share all those amazing experiences with friends and family. But by limiting yourself to only traveling with others, you may also be missing out on the opportunity to experience some truly remarkable destinations and activities simply because you can't find anyone else who wants to visit those places too.

Sure, solo travel can feel intimidating and even a tad daunting at first. Without any companions, you'll wonder who you will chat with along the way. You might worry about feeling lonely or getting lost, or you might find yourself stressing out over having to make all the plans and decisions yourself. Worst of all, you wonder if you'll be able to enjoy yourself when you don't have anyone around to keep you company.

If you happen to be an incredibly social person who really doesn't like to spend time alone, there is a good chance that solo travel might not be for you. On the other hand, if you're someone who enjoys getting out of your comfort zone from time to time and relishes a good adventure, then chances are you'll appreciate the opportunities that solo travel can bring. You'll also discover that some surprisingly great benefits come from hitting the road on your own. Benefits that might leave you abandoning group travel altogether.

These are some of the biggest advantages that come from solo travel.

Set Your Own Itinerary and Schedule

There is no denying that traveling with close friends and family can be a rich and rewarding experience. It is also hard to deny that it can also be extremely frustrating and maddening at times. We've probably all experienced moments where it seems next to impossible to get everyone to a consensus on what to do or where to go next. As a result, we often find ourselves discussing the pros and cons of any decision, wasting precious time in the process.

When traveling by yourself, you won't have to deal with those kinds of issues at all. You'll be on your schedule and pace, allowing you to spend as much or little time in one place as you like before moving on to the next destination. A destination that you chose all on your own.

And yes, planning your travel itinerary completely by yourself can indeed feel like a monumental task. But it gets a lot easier when you realize that everything you put on that schedule is something you want to do. Better still, once you embark on the trip, you won't have to argue with anyone about what you're doing next, nor will you have anyone feeling shortchanged if you decide to skip a few things either.

That's the kind of freedom and control that comes with traveling solo.

Choose Your Own Budget (and Stick to It)

When traveling as part of a group, it can often be challenging to stick to your travel budget. If your traveling companions decide to stay in an upscale hotel or add activities to the itinerary, it can dramatically impact the amount of cash you have leftover for the rest of the trip. You may also find yourself spending money on expensive dinners, drinks, trips to the spa, and other items you hadn't intended. Before you know it, you can find yourself three days into a ten-day trip and watching your pennies closely.

When you travel alone, you'll get to set your travel budget and stick to it. If you'd rather stay in a hostel than a fancy resort, you can do it. If you would rather skip the Michelin-starred restaurant in favor of a local diner instead, that is your prerogative too. By traveling alone, you'll often find a trip that had the potential to be pricey can be surprisingly affordable simply because you can spend your money the way that you want. This allows you to spend your hard-earned money on the most important things while saving on the expenses that aren't.

That said, solo travel doesn't have to also be budget travel. You can also elect to pamper yourself by staying in fine hotels, eating at those fancy restaurants, and getting the full spa treatment. . The point is, you get to decide how you spend your money, without anyone else influencing your decisions or forcing you to spend more—or less—than you had intended.

Less Waiting

As a solo traveler, we've already established that you'll avoid a lot of frustration simply because you won't have to wait around for others. But there is also a good chance that you'll find yourself with shorter wait times in other areas too. Most notably in restaurants where a party of one can be seated in a timely fashion, while a large group has no choice but to wait for the right table to open up.

That's not the only example of how you might be able to cut down on your wait time either. For instance, many theme parks and ski resorts offer lines for singles that move along at a faster pace than the ones filled with extended families. The same can be said for other attractions and activities where seating might be limited, such as whitewater rafting, jeep tours, and boat excursions. When looking to maximize space, there is almost always room for one more.

As a solo traveler, you're likely to find yourself whisking in and out of restaurants, bars, shops, and other establishments at a much more rapid pace than you would when traveling with others. Don't think of your usual companions as slowing you down, however. Just accept that you'll be much faster and more efficient on your own.

You'll Travel Lighter

Solo travel allows you to travel lighter—and we're not just referring to the weight of your suitcase. The lightness that comes from solo travel extends beyond the physical, reaching into your mind and soul too.

There is an undeniable sense of freedom that comes with embarking on an adventure completely by yourself. It is a lightness that can be difficult to define but can certainly be felt. It provides a sense of liberation that stems from knowing that you can go anywhere and do anything that you choose, completely untethered from the responsibilities that are a natural part of traveling with someone else.

That said, there is a good chance that you may actually find yourself traveling lighter in a more tangible sense too. Because you'll be carrying your own bags everywhere you go, it makes sense to reduce the size and weight of your luggage. This allows you to move faster and more nimbly, which comes in very handy when hopping off planes, trains, and buses without someone there to lend a hand. And once you embrace the philosophy of lightweight travel, it brings a sense of liberation that is uniquely its own.

You'll Have All of the 'Me Time' You Could Ask For

Traveling solo allows you to focus on yourself. Back home, we're often busy with work, family, maintaining friendships, and other important things that are a part of life. That doesn't always leave much time for ourselves, leading to feeling dissatisfied, frustrated, and exhausted at times.

When you travel alone, you'll have plenty of time to focus on yourself. It is the perfect time to reconnect with your passions, feed your curiosity about the world, and do things you've always wanted to try. It is also a great opportunity to get reacquainted with yourself. You might even learn a few things about yourself along the way.

All of that personal time and attention can be extremely rejuvenating, send you home more relaxed and rested than you ever expected. After all, it isn't all that often that you get to focus just on yourself and the things that you want. That kind of "me time" can be highly beneficial to your emotional well-being.

It may also leave you counting down the weeks until your next solo adventure.