Going to a foreign country for the first time can be a little intimidating. But going alone can be downright frightening!Whether you're planning to teach abroad in Thailand, au pair in the Netherlands, teach English in Italy, or take advantage of GeoVisions' other great programs, you might be spending some time touring around by yourself. And it could end up being the best time you've ever had!
Here are five reasons why you may want to buy only one ticket, when traveling abroad.
1. You can be selfish, and not feel guilty about it
While you may want to go to a Spanish post-impressionist art museum, your friend would rather watch a bull fight. You may like a sit-down, five course meal of locally sourced Italian food for dinner. But your friend wants to get crepes and gelato from a street vendor. You may want to get rent a car and drive through the French countryside, but your friend is obsessed with trains and his Eurail pass. See the dilemma? Traveling alone solves all these problems. You get to do exactly what you want, when you want.
2. You're forced to talk to locals and learn more about their culture
If you travel abroad with friends or family, you're going to do things with them -- talk with them in your language, eat with them, argue with them, etc. -- just like you do every other day of your life. But when you go alone, you're more apt to strike up a conversation with a fascinating Laplander on the train to Oslo, discover a long-lost cousin over some pints at an Irish pub, or bond over your new-found love of FC Bayern Munchen over beer and pretzels at an authentic bier garten.
3. You can save money
In the U.S., all the hotel chains sell you a room for two -- whether you need one or not. But when you travel abroad in Europe, you'll find hotels offer single rooms at reduced prices. So if you don't need the expensive honeymoon suite overlooking the Eiffel Tower, don't pay for it. Get a single room overlooking a traditional French neighborhood instead, and spend your money on souvenirs for your friends and family.
4. It will give you new-found confidence
If you've never traveled far away from home, the prospect of flying over an ocean all by yourself can be frightening. But learning how to navigate the train from Heathrow into London, figuring out how to ask "where is the restroom?" in Thai, or driving with no speed limit on the Autobahn will make the other challenges in your life seem small by comparison. To mangle a line from a Frank Sinatra song, "if you can make it there (traveling abroad -- not New York!) you can make it anywhere."
5. It will make you a more interesting person
When you get home, everyone will want to hear about your adventures traveling abroad alone. And you're the only one who can tell the stories. So if you want to embellish your "close call" with a great white shark while surfing in Australia, the size of the beer you drank at Oktoberfest, or the length of the hike you took in the Swiss Alps, go for it! No one will ever know the difference. And also- you have a great excuse for taking those hundreds of selfies!
So what are your favorite things to do when traveling abroad alone? Comment below.