editorial

Why You Should be Traveling Solo in your 20s

Don’t be nervous – just go.

Not that this is a new sentiment, but traveling can be really hard. Airports are stressful, planning is tedious, and (my perpetual problem) it’s hard to nail down a group trip when everyone has their own life, their own bills to pay, their own preferences. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost gone on that mystic girls’ getaway that apparently exists for people that are not me, but our plans fell through due to scheduling.

There’s a simple solution. Don’t wait for other people to solidify your plans. Go without them. Even if you’re scared.

I went by myself to Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire for business, and I was terrified. I mean, I didn’t even know at that point how to determine whether to check a bag or not at the airport! There are so many elements of traveling that, if we can be honest with ourselves, can be pretty daunting. But there are really important reasons why you need to move past the fear and pull the trigger on going somewhere alone.

It's a skill you should master
First of all, you should master the skill of traveling (without your parents to usher you to the right gate or look for a good flight deal). Because it really is a skill, and one that you have to learn. You’ll thank yourself later in life when you have to cross the country for a wedding and can focus your nervous energy on seeing your high school boyfriend rather than planning out your itinerary.

Decide for yourself how you feel about a place or an activity
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, there’s really nothing better than experiencing an amazing destination without any distractions. When you go somewhere alone you have a very special chance to unplug, disconnect from your routine, and really take a hard look at the world around you. If you’re lucky it’ll be something you’ve never seen before, and you’ll have the chance to make up your own mind about what you’re experiencing for the first time. In an age where we have social media and constant news cycles telling us how to feel about things, it's important to cut yourself off from certain common predispositions and decide that you like or dislike something new - even small things like hiking or oysters.

Go forth - be free!
There’s also an element of freedom to staying somewhere alone. You’re on no one’s time but your own—so go ahead and have lunch at 2 o’clock after spending the whole morning on the beach. Bounce from attraction to attraction without feeling obligated to stick around a tourist trap you’re not interested in. When you cut the fluff from your trip, you can customize your experience in a way that may not have been possible with a group.

Worried about doing the fun stuff without a travel buddy?
I wouldn’t blame you—but consider having an adventure by yourself (I went ziplining alone! It was terrifying! And amazing!). I think you’ll find that groups of people like to adopt stragglers into their clan for the day, like a really fun pair of moms that I befriended on my day at Gunstock Resort.

You're not completely on your own
And all of this doesn’t have to be hard. There are many people who are naturally comfortable hopping from one hostel or Airbnb to the next, but if you’re like me you probably need someone to help you get going. Companies like Natural Retreats are an incredible resource, who help you find a great vacation rental home that fits your budget and even have onsite teams who will be there for you if you experience any issues during your stay—whether it’s a guiding you through a natural disaster that strikes during your trip or simply helping you figure out travel insurance or book an excursion. My personal favorite part of traveling with Natural Retreats? They offer plenty of amazing rentals in places like Lake Tahoe where you can snag a very budget-friendly condo right near the ski resort. Not to mention the Xplore Team is exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable, which makes planning your trip that much less intimidating.

So now that you’re out of excuses, where are you going to go?

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