Have You Ever Traveled Solo?
Solo travel may seem like a scary idea at first, but it can bring incredible benefits that may make you reconsider. I’ve been on many trips by myself and have come to really enjoy it. I also enjoy traveling with my husband, friends, and my mom, but adding a solo trip into the mix has become something I genuinely enjoy. Whether it’s a one-night trip to a tiny cabin, or a week in Italy, I recommend you give solo travel a try! Read on for the ten biggest benefits of traveling alone.
1. Have Total Freedom
One of the best parts about traveling solo is having absolute freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, for as long as you want. Do you want to take a nap? Do it! If you feel like finding a cozy spot to sit down and order a glass of wine, go for it! You’re in the mood for a five-mile hike? Why not! Do you want to spend three hours at a museum and take your time? Nothing is stopping you. You don’t have to worry about what anyone else does or doesn’t want to do.
2. Develop Social Skills
When you’re traveling solo you may find yourself chatting with strangers more than if you had a friend with you. When you’re alone, you become more approachable, and you’re more likely to talk with someone new instead of sticking to just your group. You’ll also be able to listen to the conversations going on around you and observe your surroundings more easily. I’ve had some wonderful conversations getting to know those around me, and those conversations probably wouldn’t have happened if I was busy chatting with a friend. And although it may feel uncomfortable at first, try not to stare at your phone. Put it in your bag or pocket and strike up a conversation with someone new.
3. Connect with Nature
Spending time alone can make us feel more connected to nature. Specifically, I love hiking alone. Don’t get me wrong, as an extrovert I love hiking with friends! But it’s also really nice to go alone sometimes. I’m much more observant of my surroundings, like noticing cool mushrooms, or hearing the birds, or listening to the leaves crunch under my boots.
4. Disconnect from Technology (and People in General)
Disconnecting is so freeing, whether it’s from other people, work, the news, or social media. I enjoy going to rental homes that don’t have WiFi because it forces me to read a book, write in my journal, or work on a puzzle. We all spend so much time looking at screens, it’s important to rest our eyes and mind. Feel the pages of a magazine, work on that knitting project you put down months ago, or try painting.
5. Boost Your Creativity
I find that I have some of my most creative ideas when I spend a good chunk of time alone. When you can listen to your own thoughts, and not be in conversation with someone else, the mind can wander. I’ve had some of my best and most creative ideas while driving alone for hours, sipping coffee at a cafe alone, or sitting by a lake and thinking in solitude.
6. Meet Other Travelers
When you travel solo you’ll have more opportunities to meet other travelers. While traveling with other people is fun, there is less incentive to chat with those outside of your group and meet fellow travelers, who may be able to share helpful advice about what they’ve been learning about this new place you’re in. Whether you’re all staying at the same hostel sharing a room, or in the hotel lobby grabbing your morning coffee, it’s easy to meet other travelers when you’re alone and open to conversations with new people.
7. Decompress with Me Time
Whether you have six children or no children, work for yourself or work for a large corporation, everyone needs and deserves alone time. Humans aren’t meant to be “on” all the time. Enjoy activities that allow you to unwind, like sitting in a sauna, reading a good book, snowshoeing, taking a long bath, listening to music or getting a massage.
8. Get to Know the Locals
I always feel like I get a much better sense of who the locals are and what they like when I travel solo. One of the best ways to do this is to grab a drink at a brewery or cocktail lounge, or a coffee at a cafe and sit at the counter. I love chatting with bartenders and baristas to see how they ended up where they are. I also use that time to ask for recommendations on the best spots around town, like restaurants and hikes.
9. Be Spontaneous
Traveling solo allows you to be as spontaneous as you want. I tend to spend weeks (or months) planning out the details of a trip. I genuinely enjoy the research process and getting to know a town or city before I arrive. That being said, if I want to change my plans last minute or pop into a restaurant I walked by that caught my eye, or skip that museum I originally planned to visit, I can. It’s really freeing to be spontaneous and when you’re alone you can be as spontaneous as you’d like!
10. Build Confidence
Traveling solo can seem scary at first, but it forces you to meet new people, see new places, and have new experiences. When traveling alone, you’ll be making decisions and problem solving on your own. I used to be worried about get lost, or asking a local a dumb question. Now, after years of solo trips it doesn’t phase me at all and I look forward to it. I used to feel judged like I was getting looks from people wondering why nobody was with me especially at restaurants, but after awhile you’ll stop caring what a stranger is thinking and do whatever makes you feel happy and free.
Where I Stayed on This Solo Trip
The photos I’ve used in this blog post are from a recent solo trip I took to The Havens, a tiny cabin in Grantsburg, Wisconsin. While it does sleep four because of a small loft with a second bed, it’s the perfect place for a solo retreat. And if you’re wondering how I took so many photos of myself, it’s all with my drone or tripod, and sometimes I ask other people to take my photo if I’m on a hike.
Looking for more relaxing places to visit during solo trips? Check out my blog posts on the Cuyuna Cove tiny cabins in Crosby, the Live Klarhet geodomes in Lutsen, or the Big Rock Creek geodome and yurts in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin.