1. You don’t have to worry about someone else’s problems or attitudes. I can’t count how many times I’ve been on vacation and seen couples fighting. The stress of traveling together often puts a huge damper on the experience. I once broke up with my boyfriend on vacation after being together for 5 years because he’d ruin every single one we went on, even though our life at home was low drama.
2. It leaves you open to meeting new people. When you’re with someone else it’s too easy to be content talking with only them. You no longer become approachable in many cases. You learn much more by meeting locals and often find out about off the beaten track places to go that are much better than tourist traps. Meeting people from different places opens up opportunities for places to stay in the future. You may even become good friends and communicate regularly after you return home.
3. You learn to fend for yourself. You are the only one in charge of the situation. Whatever happens, you must deal with which helps you grow as a person and builds confidence.
4. You don’t have to plan for each day. It’s good to have a short list of things you want to do, but don’t feel the need to be ruled by a schedule. Often you’ll find that when you don’t plan, something great happens that wouldn’t have otherwise.
5. You start to overcome fear. You have a sort of safety net when you travel with someone else. You feel safer which only lends to the fact that you may be afraid of the unknown. Once you get out there by yourself, you’ll find that your fears are usually unwarranted which makes you a stronger person in the long run.
6. Solitude. Being alone helps you reflect on the day, the year, the future or whatever else you want to think about. You aren’t constantly in a conversation with someone else or feeling the need to fill the void with speech. Sitting on a beach at sunset is a lovely ending to the day and calms your mind.
7. Inspiration! You may be inspired to leave your old life behind after seeing new cultures and want to experience it first hand by living there. You become aware that being held down by possessions is the only thing keeping you from living abroad. You also learn that having only what you need and not what you want can be a wonderfully liberating option.
8. Cultural exchange. Learning about different cultures and ways of doing things differently makes you think outside of the box. When you live in one country most of your life, you think your way is the best way but that’s not always true. You may take away new thoughts and ideas and incorporate them into your own life. Pop into that restaurant that is crowded with locals and be inspired to make changes to your own diet when you get back home. Go to the local markets and buy something you’ve never tried before.
9. Learn a new language. If you are going to a foreign country, prepare ahead of time by learning some of the language. Practice with locals even if you’re not very good. People will respect you and try to help you more when they see you making an effort. You will be more like a traveler than a tourist.