Traveling alone is a one-of-a-kind experience. Ask anyone who has done a solo trip and they’ll tell you. You can feel like you’re on top of the world one minute, and the next can remind you that you’re a tiny speck swallowed up in it all. But that’s part of the draw, right?
That tug-of-war between adventure and risk that you don’t quite feel on a family vacation, honeymoon, or a weekend getaway with friends is catching on. According to the 2015 Visa Global Travel Intentions Study, one in five travelers took their most recent leisure trip on their own.
There are endless advantages to traveling without anyone else in tow. You canchoose your destination without having to consult or compromise. You set the budget, the dates, and the itinerary—and that’s all before you even arrive. While there, you have the luxury of pursuing anything that catches your eye, be it a piece of art, a side trail, your future spouse, or a nap. If it’s what you want, it’s not a waste of your time.
The complete freedom of solo travel can sometimes seem intimidating, though, especially if you don’t consider yourself the spontaneous type. There are two reactions that come with knowing your entire excursion is up to you: peace and anxiety. If you’re feeling more of the latter, we’re here to help.
So book your ticket, find somewhere comfortable to stay, and read up on the smartest solo travel hacks before you go, because you’re officially out of excuses. Regardless of where you’re headed, we’ve thought of 26 ways to maximize your me-time abroad. From dining out and shopping to touring and exploring, these suggestions may not all be for you, but that’s kind of the point of solo travel: to figure out what is.