What’s the difference between traveling with loved ones and traveling alone? A lot, especially when it comes to your health. A vacation is supposed to be at least partially relaxing. It’s a time to reflect, rejuvenate, and explore both your surroundings and yourself in a way that isn’t possible when you’re busy with the daily grind.
If you’re in the middle of planning your summer getaways, you might want to consider a solo journey. It comes with taking a few extra precautions, such as making sure to service your car before a road trip and giving a trusted friend your full itinerary. A little extra preparation beforehand can prime you for a journey like no other.
Still undecided? Here are a few ways vacationing alone is good for the heart and soul:
- You’ll be challenged to take on every bump along the way and be better for it. Do you always let your partner handle some aspects of traveling, like mapping out the rest areas or doing all of the research for where to stay? Do you depend on a friend to handle a flat tire? These are all normal and sometimes stressful part of traveling, but if you’re always relying on someone else for certain tasks, then you’re not fully in control of your vacation. Being able to map out for yourself the best route or learning how to change a tire are all skills that help you in other aspects of your life. Being self-sufficient takes practice, and almost everyone could hone this skill a little more. Let your next vacation be your reason to better yourself.
- There will be zero stress from your travel mates. Of course, solo travel can still be stressful, but have you found yourself fighting over little things with your spouse when you travel? Does one of your friends always run late, constantly putting you on edge? Or maybe you’re the one who runs late, and it always puts a kink in the mood. If you simply remove the travel stress caused by others, that can be a huge relief.
- It’ll be up to you to entertain yourself. If you can’t fathom the thought of dining alone, spending hours in the car alone, or otherwise enjoying your own company, it’s definitely time for a solo vacation. Learning how to be by yourself and actually enjoy it is more challenging for some compared to others, but everyone should know the ways they best enjoy time alone. Maybe it’s catching up with (or discovering) podcasts on a road trip, or getting back to actually reading books while on a train. If you’re a naturally social, extroverted person, this can be especially difficult but well worth the effort.
- You won’t feel peer pressured into drinking. If a lot of your vacations focus on drinking when you’d rather go to bed early or embark on a non-drinking activity, solo traveling might be for you. Maybe you want to get up early for a sunrise hike, but that’s tough to do when your friends want to go out late every night. There will be nobody to make you feel guilty, and you can design the kind of vacation you’ll really love.
- You don’t have to worry about “being on.” When you travel with friends, and sometimes even family, you might feel pressure to “perform” or make sure the vacation is Instagram-perfect. That’s something that should be worked on regardless, but a solo vacation is a perfect opportunity to avoid that sticky situation altogether. Do you want to spend the day at the beach doing absolutely nothing but dozing in a lounge chair? Prefer to go take a nap in the hotel in the middle of the day? Simply not feeling cheerful that first day of jet lag? When you’re traveling alone, there’s no need to put on a happy face for your travel mates.
- You can be your genuine self. Sometimes there’s pressure to make the most of every trip, from seeing every museum to exclusively eating at authentic local restaurants or fine dining. However, sometimes all you want is your staple comfort food or something basic from a supermarket. Being your true self will help ensure a vacation you’ll really love, and that’s what it’s all about.
- You can make time for exercise. This might still be tough when you’re on vacation, but if you’re committed to a healthy lifestyle, it can be a lot easier to make time for a workout when you travel alone. Not every travel mate is going to be up for hitting the hotel gym in the morning or starting the day with a run. It’s easy to get lulled into the temptation of skipping workouts and bingeing on breakfast buffets. However, if you stick to healthy habits when you’re alone, the same will be true when you’re on vacation by yourself.
As you map out your upcoming travel plans, ask yourself if a solo vacation might be in order. If you’ve never tried one, now is the perfect time to check it off your bucket list. You might find that you prefer this form of vacationing more than any other.