Hitting the open road, the radio turned up, junk food in the passenger seat, and no one to talk to! For some, the idea of a solo road trip is terrifying. But for me, I adore heading out on road trip on my own. Sometimes you just need to be alone.
I started my travels nearly a decade ago solo – and here I am – still solo and still loving it. I recently had a friend contact me about planning a trip with one of her friends to Ireland and she was lamenting about how hard it was to compromise when the two people had such different travel styles. “ It’s been an interesting exercise to jointly plan this trip. I can see how traveling solo has its benefits,” she commented to me.
I travel with people for about 50% of my travels; friends, family, nieces now tag along with me and I find it nice to have company, but once I’ve been on a trip with travel partners for a while, I feel the need to go out on my own. And for me there’s no better way to do that than a solo road trip. Me, some beef jerky, and the open road; it’s the ultimate feeling of freedom to me.
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Renting a Car
I have consistently found the best rental car prices on RentalCars.com (international and at home) and use them when I have to rent a car. They work with all of the major car companies; check out their prices and see what you think. They also offer free reservations and cancellations which I love as my plans often change!
On my recent Northern California Road Trip I had a lot of time to think! I thought about all of the reasons why I love to road trip solo. I decided to share them for those of you who are on the fence about solo drives.
Why Take a Solo Road Trip?
10. You only have to wash the driver side windshield at the gas station.
Yes – I’m just that lazy.
9. You don’t have to compromise on what music you listen to.
I love listening to podcasts when I’m on a solo road trip, but if I want to listen to Johnny Cash, Bjork, or my mix of gospel songs – I can. And my favorite thing to listen to is my Spotify travel playlist!
8. You don’t have to share your beef jerky with anyone.
My favorite road trip snack is jerky – I have no idea why. I never eat it outside of a road trip for some reason. Maybe it’s my primal, solo instincts coming out. My friend Sarah gave me a little ‘solo travel care bag’ for my recent trip complete with jerky, some energy bars (for hangry moments), and some Hollister eye candy. He was the perfect companion – silent. And a close second it a pack of Twizzlers and a can of diet coke…pure heaven and it’s all mine!
7. You can ask for directions any time you want to.
There’s no shame in asking for directions ladies – and when you are on a solo road trip – you can stop and ask as often as you want! And if you stop at a gas station to ask for directions, you can also buy yourself some more jerky. No one is judging.
6. You don’t have to worry about someone getting motion sick.
The route I drove on my Northern California road trip was a motion sickness nightmare; Highway 1 in Northern California is full of twists, dips, and vomit-inducing turns. If I had a passenger with me, odds are they would’ve have been sick. Hell, if I had been the passenger I probably would have been sick. But when you are solo, the roads can be as roller coaster as ever but you won’t get sick because you are in control!
5. You can sing as loudly and badly as you want in the car by yourself.
There is an incredible freedom to sing at the top of your lungs. And it happens to be one of my tricks for staying awake if I get tired while driving solo! And I’m a terrible singer. No one needs to be subjected to my singing or lack of knowledge of lyrics…except for myself.
4. You can stop as many times as you want to take photos.
This is one of those that I probably overuse on my solo road trips. On Easter morning on my recent road trip I got up early to get a start on a long driving day and found that every 5 minutes I kept pulling over along the side of the road, or turning around and backtracking. I was going nowhere fast…but it didn’t matter as I was happy and that was all that mattered. And I got some stellar photos!
3. No back seat drivers!
I can be a Sunday driver, I can cut people off, I can speed, I can be lost, I can be throwing out f bombs at the awful drivers next to me…it doesn’t matter – there is no one to judge me or tell me what to do. The only thing in my back seat is more jerky.
2. You get your Jucy Camper Van bed all to yourself!
My Jucy Van slept 4 people, but since I was only one…I had he whole comfy bed to myself. I put up my window shades and snuggled under my comforter. The nights I slept in the van I slept better than any fancy hotel or house. I completely passed out and didn’t even wake up when other campers around me woke up and started moving around.
1. You feel empowered when you travel solo.
As you travel solo being totally responsible for yourself, it’s inevitable that you will discover just how capable you are.
There are few things in life that make you feel more empowered than blazing a trail all by yourself. It’s not always easy or always fun, but when you get through it – you feel on top of the world.
Figuring out how to use a new vehicle, sometimes driving on the other side of the road, new road rules in different countries, navigating by yourself in a foreign place…all of this is pretty damn hard. You feel amazing when you survive it all…and you will survive it – trust me. Each day on the trip I felt more and more confident.
One of the main reasons I travel solo is to know that I can. It’s a little test for me to remind myself that I’m capable on my own in any situation. Whenever I complete another solo road trip, I feel invincible!
Solo Road Trip Gear
And if you are going on a solo road trip, don’t forget to bring these items to make life easier on the road!
Bring jerky...duh. Mighty Organic and Epic are my favorite brands
We aren’t getting any younger – bring a seat cushion for a little road trip pampering!
Do not forget the Compression Socks! Whenever you sit for a long time, you need to protect yourself from contracting blood clots from sitting and compression socks are one of the best ways to do that – including getting up and walking every 2 hours. I should know – I narrowly escaped death when I contracted blood clots on a long haul flight.
A thermos for hot or cold drinks is great. It’s re-useable and better for the environment!
Bring a phone holder for your rental car and use your phone for GPS instead of renting a GPS device! I love this phone holder, as it’s small and easy to bring with me! Or better yet – get a phone holder AND a phone charger in one!
Don’t forget an emergency road kit just in case you run into trouble.
Finally – consider taking this lithium battery jump starter kit – if you are really all alone or don’t want to ask a creepy person for help, you can at least jump start your car yourself.
Check out my complete Road Trip Gear List on my Amazon Store
Want to take it a Step Further? Go Solo
Check out these great tips by my fellow solo traveler Viki Hill on how she does a whole summer of solo car camping and how she stays safe!