A solo road trip is a special experience. It's an adventure.
Being totally spontaneous, turning or stopping where you want, staying longer or going further down the road on a whim, meeting more people because you’re alone and more approachable, and having that quiet time to think and process life: it's all part of a solo road trip.
Road trips have become very popular in the last year or two. But I know that some people still wonder whether hitting the road alone is a good idea.
For thoughts on why a solo road trip is not only doable but a great idea, read on.
To ask other solo travelers about their road trips and for road trip advice, join the Solo Traveler Insiders.
Can You Take a Solo Road Trip?
Some people consider a solo road trip to be among the more adventurous forms of solo travel. People tell me they're nervous about taking a road trip alone. But I suspect that just about anyone can do it because:
- You can road trip according to your comfort zone. You don't have to start road tripping in India or Italy or any other place where the traffic tends to be frenetic. Take a short trip close to home and get more ambitious as your confidence grows.
- You have time to plan and study before you go. As with just about everything in life, we worry most about the unknown. Eliminate this factor by planning your solo road trip in detail and getting familiar with your route. I like road atlases for planning and because they become souvenirs of my travels.
- You have all the navigation tools you need. Whether you prefer Google Maps, Waze, or paper maps, the tools are available for you to navigate safely. From Google Maps you can download your route onto your phone before you set out. This will save on data. But please, don't overlook having a map or atlas as well. It's helpful to get precise directions via your phone but run out of battery or lose access to your network and you'll be glad to have your paper map.
- You can stay in touch. Cell phone coverage and costs are way down compared to the past. Unless you are going to remote areas, it's easy to stay in touch with home for that sense of security.
- You can count on your vehicle. At least you should be able to count on your vehicle. Read: A Road Trip Alone: Top 10 Tips to Prepare. And if you don't think that you can count on your car, read How to Save on Car Rentals.
- You have backup when you travel with roadside assistance. If you have AAA or CAA you’ll be fine in North America. If you don’t, you can buy short or long-term roadside assistance from an insurance company, your car rental company, or stores like Costco. Keep in mind that some policies cover the driver, regardless of the car and others are tied to a specific vehicle.
Your Journey Will Be Fabulous
So now it's clear that you can take a solo road trip. The question is, why would you stretch yourself to do so? Here are my top five favorite reasons for taking a road trip alone.
- Freedom. Freedom. Freedom. Yes, you get my point. Being free to stop, turn and continue wherever and whenever you want is an amazing feeling. I also think it may be something quintessentially North American. I remember the time I first got a car that was reliable enough to travel outside the city. That's all I did for a weekend. I went. I went alone and it was exhilarating.
- Those incredible landscapes. There will be moments that will take your breath away. Some will be the moments for which you planned so carefully, but others will be surprises. When I was traveling from Sedona to the north side of the Grand Canyon, looking forward to its spectacular views, I traveled through the painted dessert. I hadn't anticipated it. I looked at the color and marveled at the mauves and pinks and the notion of a painted dessert percolated up into my consciousness. I checked later and confirmed that I had indeed traveled through that amazing, stunning landscape.
- Get into the nooks and crannies of the country. You can go places on a solo road trip that you just can't get to by any other means of transportation. You can visit waterfalls and national parks and small towns and anywhere else that there's a road.
- Getting there is fun. Unlike flying to a destination, taking a road trip truly makes the journey at least half the fun–if not more. From seeing those fantastic landscapes to catching up on your reading with an audio book to learning about a destination through its local radio station, you will enjoy your road trip.
- You'll feel strong and capable. And finally, while this may be a benefit of just about all solo travel, it needs to be said for the solo road trip as well. You will feel strong and capable after your trip and ready to go again.
Road Trip Inspiration
All that's left is for you to go and realize how incredibly capable you really are on a solo road trip.
- Here's a link to our many road trip posts.
- Here's a summary of some of our favorite solo road trips. 14 Great Solo Road Trips: All Solo Traveler Tested.
- Here's a little something you might want to take along with you: 50 Road Trip Songs: The Ultimate Solo Playlist.
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