For months, many of us spent much of our time at home. As a result, many are embarking on their first group vacations in more than a year. However, as fun as it looks, you may find that you’re more interested in taking a solo trip. Perhaps you enjoyed being able to go at your own pace during quarantine or have always been someone who craves alone time. You may be torn, though: You’d like a vacation, too.
Solo travel offers the best of both worlds. Even if you like alone time, going on vacation by yourself may seem daunting at first. However, there are many solo travel benefits. Let’s dig into them and discuss ways to get over mental blocks.
The many benefits of solo travel
Taking a trip by yourself can boost your mental health. Here are a few things experts and people who have traveled by themselves say a solo vacation can do for you.
It can build confidence
You may begin planning your trip and think, “I can’t do this.” You’ll be eating by yourself and exploring a new place without a “co-pilot.” You may feel self-conscious about participating in activities like dining in a restaurant without anyone else. However, overcoming our doubts and fears can be a confidence booster. Anecdotally, one solo vacationer said her trip made her more confident.
Vacations can reduce stress
Any vacation — even a short one — can lower stress, according to one 2018 study. However, a trip without anyone else can give you more opportunities to practice mindfulness, like meditation, which can reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. You also don’t have to stress about compromising on plans. If you want to lay out on the beach all day instead of trying to jam in every last tourist attraction, you can do so without bickering. That said, you may be stressed just thinking about traveling by yourself. The good news? Confronting your fears may reduce anxiety.
You’ll have opportunities for self-discovery
The ability to be more mindful will allow you to tune into yourself and reflect. You can think about what you really like and value during your travels and then develop ways to apply these discoveries upon your return. For example, maybe you don’t want a packed itinerary and enjoy being able to spend time exploring a few places. This realization may be a sign that you need to learn to set boundaries and say “no” when you’re feeling overwhelmed at home or work.
You may return with added creativity
Souvenirs can be sentimental reminders of our journeys, but not all of our vacation takeaways are tangible. Experts share that spending time alone can enhance creativity. It makes sense. Listening to yourself, rather than others can help you problem-solve in a way that benefits you. When you learn to look at things in a new way — from your own perspective without the noise (other people’s advice) — you think differently and can become more creative.
Getting over the mental blocks of traveling alone
Though there are many solo travel benefits, you may need to get over a few humps before reaching your final destination. Here’s how to do it.
- Fears of loneliness. Just because you are traveling by yourself doesn’t mean you have to be alone the whole time. Signing up for group tours will give you the opportunity to meet up with other travelers, some of whom may also be vacationing solo.
- Lack of confidence. Taking a solo journey can boost your confidence, but you may have to overcome some negative self-talk first. If you’ve clicked “book” on the flight, keep in mind this first step is a reason to be proud of yourself. In fact, it’s arguably the biggest leap of all. Try telling yourself: “If I did that, I can follow through with this trip.” You can also try a self-esteem meditation, like this one from Headspace.
- Feeling guilty. Self-care is not selfish. Focus on how taking time for yourself to hit refresh will benefit those around you. For example, if you’re less stressed, you may be less snippy with a friend or partner or more creative at work.
Solo travel can seem daunting, but it can ultimately be beneficial for your mental health. You may find you return from your trek with more self-awareness, confidence, and creativity and less stress. You might consider journaling about your experience so you can remember and reflect on what you thought about and learned. Taking the leap can be challenging, though. You may be afraid you’ll be lonely, lack confidence, or feel bad about taking a trip without a loved one. Try booking group tours to meet other travelers. You might also benefit from reminding yourself that you’re capable of vacationing solo and deserve the chance to refill your cup.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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