Why is traveling solo so wonderful? Let us count the ways: no one rushing you through a museum you paid $25 to enter, no one slowing you down on your way to catch the one train leaving town today—we can go on. In fact, we will. Here, the 15 fabulous things you must do when you hit the road alone.
1. Check your bag(s). No one wants to be that person who checked a bag when everyone else managed to just bring a carry-on. But then again…no one’s waiting for you.
2. Sleep in. At least one day, don’t even set an alarm. After all, there’s no need to wake up at the crack of dawn to join Dad on his quest to beat the museum crowds.
3. Or go to bed early one night. Don’t feel pressured to go out on the town just because you’re there. Bonus: Waking up early means you can fit in a lot more activities.
4. Cook a meal with local ingredients. Yes, you’ve made paella a few times at home, but have you made it with ingredients from an actual Spanish market? So. Much. Better.
5. Take a workout class. It’s tough to stick to a fitness schedule when you’re traveling with friends. Try a class that isn’t offered at home. You might even leave with a few new pals.
6. Ask the locals for their favorite spots. Hit up your new fitness buds for the places that won’t be listed in any old travel book.
7. Visit the most popular restaurants without a reservation. Bold, we know. But a party of one usually means a seat at the bar sans the two-hour wait.
8. Go on a last-minute day trip. You weren’t planning on popping over to that adorable town 45 minutes away, but come on—it’s only 45 minutes away.
9. Stop in at the local expat pub. And find out what the patrons loved so much about the city that made them make the move here.
10. Take your sweet time at museums. Splurge on the audio tour, read all the descriptions and even loop back around—no one’s nudging you to hurry up.
11. Don’t just window-shop; try on everything. Boyfriend impatiently checking his phone while sitting in the store’s one chair? Non-existent. Take your time—slip on those designer jeans.
12. Pretend you’re a local. Skip the Louvre (you’ll never get close to the Mona Lisa, anyway) and instead wander into a local café for coffee, a croissant and some serious people-watching.
13. Or embrace the tourist in you with full force. We’re talking fanny pack, camera hanging from your neck and actually having questions when the tour guide asks “any questions?”
14. Eat everything. Seriously, everything. Keep an open mind for strange new cuisine—even the super-smelly surströmming.
15. Do absolutely nothing. Relax (you’re on vacation, after all) in a park with a good book and enjoy the feeling of knowing there’s no place you need to be today. Except maybe that bakery you passed on your way here.