It’s summertime, and we’re all in vacation mode looking for travel deals, last minute getaways, or just amazing places that make for jealous worthy Instagram posts. We all want to escape those workplace doldrums, but, sometimes, planning a summer vacation with someone seems like more stress than it’s worth.
That trip to the beach would be a great idea, but coordinating with your friends to take a four-day weekend, renting a car to get everyone to the beach, and even just booking an overpriced hotel that everyone can agree on seems like so much work. A long email chain and weeks later, you might never get your summer vacation.
If you haven’t solidified your travels plans yet, considering traveling by yourself this summer. As any travel memoir will teach you, traveling solo is still quite challenging, but it offers you lots of freedom that you can’t get when you travel with another person or with a group. Yes, traveling alone can provide ample time for self-reflection and self-discovery (à la Under the Tuscan Sun, Eat Pray Love, or Wild), but it can also help you save money and help you get the most out of your vacation budget.
So before you join in on yet another group trip to the lake house this summer, consider these 5 reasons for why you should try traveling solo.
You Pick the Restaurants when traveling solo
A huge part of travel expenses is food, and if you travel alone, you’ll always be in control of where and what you’re going to be eating. It can kill your budget if you travel with someone who insists on fine dining or whose food allergies limit your restaurant choices. When you’re traveling alone, you can also eat whenever you feel like eating, and this can sometimes save you money.
If you’ve set a daily food budget that doesn’t allow for a fancy wine restaurant and its $50 entrée meals, try going for a late lunch and order off the lunch menu. If you feel like splurging today on wine and a good meal, then tomorrow you can just survive on granola bars and still have stuck to your budget.
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You’ll Have More Choices For Cheaper/Alternative Accommodations.
When you travel alone, you take up way less space, so finding a place to stay is a lot easier if you’re using Airbnb, CouchSurfing, or looking for hostel accommodations. Even though splitting room costs can save money when you travel in big groups, you actually get a better deal on alternative accommodations since they always have space for just one person.
You get more options because more places can accommodate 1 person rather than 5 or 6 if you’re in a big group. If you don’t mind sleeping on couches, you can literally stay places for free with CouchSurfing and not have to worry about anyone else traveling with you being uncomfortable or unhappy with cramped quarters.
You’ll Make More Local Friends And Learn About Local Deals.
You can’t spend the whole trip talking to yourself, so you’re naturally going to be inclined to make friends with other travelers or locals you encounter during your trip. Through your conversations, you’ll learn which places are touristy (extremely overpriced) and which places are for locals (better deals). Local insider knowledge can save you a ton of money and help you avoid being overcharged for any services or items you pay for during your trip.
You Don’t Have To Compromise Your Budget.
Keeping to a budget requires careful consideration of where and how you spend your money. You choose to spend $80 on your dinner tonight, but tomorrow you’ll skip that morning latte, bring a packed lunch, and make dinner to compensate. When you travel alone, you make these same decisions. You have the complete freedom to decide what items, meals, accommodations, or activities you are willing to avoid so that you can stick to your budget or allot the money for something else.
It’s always important to be considerate of others’ budgets and financial limitations, but when you travel alone, it’s really just about you. You are solely managing the travel expenses for the trip, so if your feet hurt and you really don’t want to go to the famous (and expensive) museum everyone wants to go to, then you don’t have to. Use the money you’d use on admission to get a foot massage. No one is there to judge you or complain, because you’re calling the shots.
You’ll Be Better at Networking And Have Amazing Stories To Tell.
You’re talking to lots of strangers when you travel alone, so you have the great opportunity to practice your interpersonal speaking skills. Being able to relate to anyone you speak with and make her or him feel comfortable is key to good communication, and that is essential for any successful career. Plus, all the travel stories that you’ll have when you return from a solo vacation make you even more able to connect with people of all backgrounds.
As much as you plan your travel itinerary, you have the freedom to change it whenever you please since you’re traveling alone, so there’s a higher likelihood of spontaneous changes to your plans and unplanned encounters with different people. These experiences make for interesting stories. Whether it’s a crazy story about the hippie traveler you met at the hostel or the elderly couple who gave you a ride when you missed the public bus, the stories you tell about your solo vacation not only enrich your own life and make you more interesting, but also give you compelling substance to use for future conversations in any social setting.