As a child, I always thought traveling was such a chore. It seemed like it was a whole lot of waking up early and walking swiftly to take pictures that looked just like the ones I could have seen online.
I didn’t come to appreciate traveling until I grew up and started adventuring on my own, and I quickly learned that lots of other people had a similar experience. Searches for “solo travel” on Pinterest increased as much as 600 percent in the span of year and many hotel booking sites have seen sharp increases in customers traveling alone, according to an article on the Telegraph.
What’s interesting about the trend is that many solo travelers aren’t going alone because they failed to find a partner. Instead, they are actively seeking the solace because it offers an experience that’s different from traveling with a group.
Here’s why I solo travel.
Ease of travel
The rise in technology and the rise in solo travel go hand in hand. Things that used to be significant hurdles, I can now accomplish with the click of a button: booking hotels, finding transportation, navigating a new city, translating a foreign language, and keeping in contact with loved ones just in case I need some help … or in case I feel a little too alone.
In other words, traveling on your own has become more convenient in every way.
We’re at a point where it feels adventurous, but I still have the tools to give me peace of mind as I go on my way. I’m the lone decision-maker and I have to trust my own judgement, but it would only take a moment to order an Uber and head out somewhere else if I feel like changing my plans.
Here’s what I do
Before I start a trip, I use map applications to book my hotel and mark town sites to visit. While on the trip, I can use my phone to find transportation and to translate a conversation in order to find out what that mystery food was that I just ate. And, of course, after the trip is done I can put all those memories up on social media.
At this stage in the development of the internet, you can travel alone while remaining connected.
“Me” time, all the time
Vacations are short. You have to cram everyone’s wish list into that short time when you travel with a group. It sometimes leaves you feeling more exhausted and stressed out than it would have if you had never taken a vacation at all.
But how’s this sound for a change
When you travel alone, your vacation is whatever you want it to be. For me, that means waking up without an alarm in my hotel room and lazily getting ready while I decide what sounds nice to do on that day. I’ll have a list of things that I’d like to do. And I might do them, or I might just head out the door and explore the town. Or I might order room service, take a nap, and figure it out later.
For other solo travelers, it might mean waking up at the crack of dawn and hitting every site in town without being slowed down by lazy travelers like me. Or it might mean meeting up with a social group–just because you travelled there alone doesn’t mean you have to stay alone.
The point is that solo travel ensures you’ll have exactly the sort of getaway you need.
A deeper experience
The most important reason I travel alone is because I don’t want to travel across the world for some fancy pictures and a new keychain: I want an experience.
Traveling with family or with a group of friends is mostly about developing your connections with those people. If I travelled to France with my family, I wouldn’t experience France as much as I would experience my family in a French environment.
That is valuable, but solo travel is a different experience.
When you travel alone, you go in with no connections. As a result, you connect more with the culture you’ve travelled to. You do things and meet people that you never would have if you went with a group.
Traveling with a group, you develop your relationship with that group. Traveling alone, you develop yourself.
Why do I travel alone? I travel alone because that’s how I find freedom. Freedom to do what I want. Freedom to be who I want. Freedom to get lost and find my own way out again. A growing number of people are coming to the same revelation. Stop worrying about trying to find a travel buddy, and start booking tickets.