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Take a trip outside your comfort zone

Summer is a time of thrill-seeking adventure, yet often we are discouraged from traveling alone. The various reasons include safety, expense, and the social stigma of being seen without a partner or close friends. This last reason in particular seems to keep even the most adventurous individual from taking exciting trips to new destinations. However, if there’s a place you truly want to explore that’s within your budget, then you should take the opportunity to explore on your own. You don’t have to wait on your significant other or friends to free up their schedules on a moment’s notice.

Concerning safety, keep in mind that no matter how many headlines or horror stories you read about being stranded in a foreign destination, you never know what the true atmosphere of the destination will be like. Research and review various hotels and hostels, be familiar with the crime rates of the prospective city. Exercise caution whether you plan on driving, taking the bus, or grabbing a cab. Form acquaintances with locals. Learn about the best and worst places to be in the city at various hours during the day. Not only will you make new friends during your exploration, but you will also be more likely to  avoid shady characters on seedy streets. Most importantly, keep in contact with friends and relatives back home, especially when wandering to parts unknown.

Feeling a sense of wanderlust, but lacking the funds to leave the country? Explore local options, such as taking a road trip down to a national park, beach, the mountains, or even a town or city you haven’t seen before. Be open-minded to staying in inexpensive but clean hotels or even consider calling up a friend to crash with. Pack snacks along with other essentials to avoid stopping at fast food joints or convenience stores on the way. Your money saved on living quarters and food will come in handy if you decide to attend a local play or festival or find an oddball shop worth exploring. In the future, keep a jar designated for “travel funds” so that you can plan a more extravagant trip the following year.

Traveling alone may seem daunting at first, but the experience can be liberating. Nothing speaks to the free spirit like making the decision to take off on an impromptu adventure. Wherever you decide to go, don’t let naysayers convince you that traveling unaccompanied is a lonely experience. Many individuals choose to travel solo for various reasons, like work or study abroad programs. While journeying alone might require stepping outside your comfort zone, the second option – waiting on someone to accompany you – takes away from moments that can be spent learning your way around a new place or discovering new things. Once you’ve conquered the fear of the unknown, you may find that traveling alone might just be the ideal way for you to broaden your own horizons.

By: Katie Olson | Editor-in-Chief

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