To the uninitiated, the notion of leaving the comforts of familiar places and good friends behind and booking a trip to a new destination – all alone – makes the stomach acids churn. Worst-case scenarios rush to mind: being stranded without a place to stay and in a land where you don’t speak the language. Icy winds blow. And it’s starting to rain. Surely, you’d perish if you were to attempt to undertake such an endeavor.
Once you try it, though, you just might be hooked. Let us make a case for leaving the comfortable and familiar behind for an adventure you’ll never forget.
You’ll gain a feeling of confidence and independence
You may be both confident and independent in your everyday life, but being reliant on nobody but yourself in an unfamiliar place is another matter entirely. It’s empowering. And when you return home, challenges won’t seem quite as difficult.
Dealing with uncomfortable situations and overcoming them
Obviously, not all problems are about finding a logical solution. Some are about expanding your comfort zone. Maybe shared bathrooms aren’t your bag. You’ll learn to make due. Or maybe it’s about protecting your newly expanded comfort zone, and you’ll learn to stand up for yourself and confidently tell an incessant talker to pound sand. The most common issue, though, is bound to be culinary...and you’re likely to come back home with a dramatically expanded palate.
Insight into your strength and weaknesses
You’ll never learn as much about what you’re made of as when you’re traveling alone. Not one to manage details like showing up on time or sticking to a budget? You’ll pay the price when you miss a train or run out of money in the final days of your trip. And you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself. (Not that you’d ever blame a travel mate. Cough, cough…) Of course, that works the other way too: maybe you’ll discover a formerly unknown talent for language acquisition or bargaining.
You get to decide what you want to do and when to do it
Travel alone, and you won’t have to be annoyed when your friend wants to spend a beautifully sunny day in a museum or bar, when all you want to do is get out and hike some mountain trails or spend the day exploring a new city on foot. And there will be nobody to make you feel guilty if you’re feeling cozy and just want to sleep late or spend a little time on your balcony gazing out over the city.
You’ll be more likely to get to know new people
When you’re with a friend, it’s easy to form a clique of two. On your own, though, you’ll have to be outgoing if you want to add a little conversation to your day. You’ll come to a much deeper appreciation of differing cultures when you’re more immersed in them.
You can change your plans
If you were traveling with your artsy friend, they’d be mad if you suggested ditching the Louvre for an all-day music festival. On your own, though, you get to do you. And, if you’re a person who generally holds tight to itineraries, discovering the joy of spontaneity can be downright liberating.
Subway maps that look more like a maze. Currency exchanges. Finding a place to launder the worn-too-many-days funk out of your clothing for a reasonable price. If you were traveling with a friend, you’d have a sounding board – someone to bounce ideas off of and gain – right or wrong – a sense of confidence. When you’re on your own, it’s all up to you, and your logistical abilities and confidence in your decisions are bound to grow.
Eat what you want
When you’re traveling together, it’s practical to stay in lock-step when planning meals. And that can be a problem if tastes or budgets differ.
Choose your own expense level
Again… it’s no fun when your travel mate is rolling in dough and you’re counting every penny. Whether it’s meals or making a decision about an expensive hotel or spa, you get to decide how to spend your hard-earned money.
Learn that the world isn’t as scary as you’d thought
Once you find your sea legs and have discovered that you can manage yourself out in the wide world, you’ll come to gain an appreciation for the inherent good in people – and you’ll learn that you’re so much more capable than you thought you could be. It’s a feeling that makes the whole world feel like it's your neighborhood.
Not all nights traveling solo have to be spent in hostels or tents
Traveling in the United States? If you’ll be in one of our 32 cities for a few day, booking a travel apartment by Stay Alfred costs about the same as a hotel would, and you get all the conveniences of home: in-unit laundry, a full kitchen where you can whip-up something tasty from a local market, and a large living area if you want to have somebody over.
Plus, we’re always located in walkable, downtown neighborhoods close to attractions – and a lot of our properties feature amenities like fitness centers and pools. We make a great home base for getting out and exploring – and a welcome respite if you’ve been getting out of your comfort zone by living out of your car for days on end.
We hope to host you soon!