There's nothing quite like the experience of traveling alone. There's something daunting yet liberating about setting foot in a place you've never been before, relying on yourself (and the goodness of strangers). And more and more these days, people are taking trips by themselves. Some 24% of people traveled alone on their most recent overseas vacation, up from 15% in 2013, according to Visa's Global Travel Intentions Study. The solo trip can take many forms—from a right of passage or bucket list imperative to a tracing of one's roots in search of growth and understanding. Of course, there are plenty of people who find the concept terrifying, but it might just be one of the best things you ever do. If you've never tried traveling solo, here are seven reasons why you should.
A trip for one is easier to plan.
Trying to coordinate a trip with multiple people (and their various work schedules and responsibilities) can be a challenge. But the stress of planning is all but erased when you only have to plan for yourself. It also means you don't have to plan so far out in advance. If you suddenly find yourself with some unexpected down time, finding a spare seat on a last-minute flight is much easier when you're only looking for one. You can even keep your options open by booking a one-way flight.
Save money (where you want).
One of the biggest stressors when traveling is money. Everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to spending, which can lead to drastic price differences for accommodation, transportation and food. When you're alone, you can make the call to walk and take public transportation to save money for the things you value—be it a massage at the spa, dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant or shopping for keepsakes to take home.
You can tick off your bucket list.
Have you been dying to hike Machu Picchu? Dreaming of sky diving over the Grand Canyon or simply spending the day wandering around Tokyo? If your partner or friends don't share your same enthusiasm or interests, that's fine. Don't sacrifice your dreams or travel goals—just don't bring them along. Plan a trip just for yourself to make an experience and memory that's richly personal and empowering.
You often get better service.
This is not a guarantee, but for some reason, service at hotels and restaurants seems better when you're alone. People tend to admire those brave single travelers, and it's been our case that when you make it known, you may just be treated to a sweet room upgrade, a courtesy cocktail or dessert "on the house." And these are typically dispensed with a few valuable, locals-only recommendations.
Enjoy the peace and quiet.
There's something about traveling by yourself that invites deep thoughts and introspection. After all, our day-to-day lives are busy and connected. A solo trip can be a powerful, contemplative and life-changing experience. Even if you're not the type of person who goes off the grid when traveling, being alone on the road will give you the opportunity to reflect on life and discover new interests.
You'll meet new people.
Somehow, when you're traveling alone, you interact with strangers differently than in your daily life at home. It forces you to be more outgoing and it makes you more approachable. Conversations with strangers come naturally because they stem from simple questions like "Where you headed?" or "Where are you from?" Keep in mind that being a solo traveler automatically makes you an interesting person with a story to tell anyone you meet, so capitalize on that.
You become a better traveler. Hell, a better person.
Navigating a new space makes you. By the end of of it, you'll definitely feel a sense of accomplishment. A successful solo vacation can inspire you to tackle even more things in life you've been afraid to try.
Volume 9 // 2017
When we started our 31 Days series, way back in 2009, it was an idea that began out of the natural tendency to see the new year as a restart of sorts. Each day, we put up a short tip or trick to help readers get a fresh start to the new year and step up their game. Then we did it again the next year and it's grown every year since, proving to be one of Valet.'s most popular series ever. This year, nearly a decade in, we've shifted the focus just a touch—narrowing in on skills and attributes we believe make you a better man. Little things that have a big, lasting impact on your life and the lives of those around you. Everyday this month, we'll introduce a topic or idea aimed at helping you look your best, feel great and be the civilized 21st century gentleman we all strive to be. Best of luck in 2017 and thanks for reading.