While studying abroad in Rome, Italy, I quickly noticed just how inexpensive flights were to other nearby countries. There are so many different places that I want to see, and a fair amount of long weekends that I have to go see them! However, if you are trying to book your weekend trips with friends, it is not always as easy as it may seem. A lot of times you will not want to go to the same cities, or maybe you have already gone to the city that your friend wants to go to, etc. Basically, you may have to come down to the decision on whether to miss out on a country that you had your heart set on, or to just travel alone! (Yes.. that is an option.)
People seem to freak out at this concept, always emphasizing the “buddy system” and how “dangerous” it is to travel alone. Well, your a big girl/boy now, huh? You made it all the way to Europe alone, didn’t you? Don’t get me wrong, you still need to be a smart traveler (like don’t go walking out alone at night, but that should be obvious by now). Personally, every city I’ve been to in Europe so far actually felt safer than the city of my home University. It’s not so scary as everyone makes it out to be, just because it’s foreign and unfamiliar, doesn’t make it a life hazard.
When you are traveling alone, you have the opportunity to do just exactly what you want to do. To see what you want to see. To dine where you want to dine. To stop and smell the roses whenever you may feel like it. You run on your own schedule, and it’s incredible. You don’t need to sacrifice activities that you wanted to do just because it’s not what the majority of the group wanted! To be able to experience a totally new city with nothing but your own thoughts is a very unique and liberating experience. With no distractions it seems much easier to truly take it all in. And hey, it’s not as lonely as you may think! When I traveled to Vienna and Salzburg on my own, I stayed in youth hostels. Not only were they so much cheaper than Airbnb’s, (6 euro per night) but I also got to know so many other travelers of my age from all around the world! Some of them were other American students studying abroad. I met a few girls in Salzburg that had been spending their semester studying in Prague. That following weekend I went to Prague and they helped show me around the city! Don’t get me wrong, there are some places that are just more fun with friends, especially if you want to be hitting up the bars and clubs. Although there is really no experience than that of experiencing new places on your own. By the end of your trip, you will feel so independent, that you can take on whatever may come your way. You will feel like a well-versed world traveler!