The Pros and Cons of Traveling Alone

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City Hall in Philadelphia, PA

I just got back from a solo trip to Philadelphia. It was a much needed break from living in a dorm and sharing a room with two other girls. Why Philadelphia? It’s close to New York City, where I go to school, and there’s enough to explore in a weekend. Here are some pros and cons about traveling by yourself:

Con: It is 100% your responsibility to get yourself to your plane/train/bus. 

I had never been to a train station by myself before, and trust me it seemed as if I had never been to one at all. I texted my roommate, Regan, upon arrival at Penn Station,”What do I do?” Thankfully someone over the loudspeaker announced my train and I found my spot in the obviously long line.

Con: You’ll sit next to someone you don’t know.

On my train from New York City to Philadelphia, I sat next to a man-child who scarfed down Taco Bell and a Powerade. On my return train, I sat next to an uptight woman who couldn’t be bothered.

Pro: You can eat whenever and whatever you want.

Except on the one occasion where I met someone for lunch, I didn’t have to wait for anyone to join me for meals or ask anyone if he or she was hungry yet. I also never had to split the bill at a restaurant with anyone, which is heaven.

Pro: You get a bed (bigger than a twin xl) all to yourself.

I can’t express how nice it was waking up and stretching without hitting a desk or a wall or falling out of bed.

Con: You really can’t eat at a restaurant without looking alone.

I avoided eating at restaurants completely, which was difficult, because I love making reservations, but I could never bring myself to make a reservation for one person. My first day, I ate lunch at 30th Street Station, got a smoothie for a snack, and then ordered a vegan pizza on Postmates. My second day, I had an apple for breakfast, ate at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s cafe for lunch, got Starbucks later, and got Chinese take out for dinner. My third day, I got coffee for breakfast, met a friend for lunch, and then got dinner at the train station.

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Not one vegan stand. Tsk tsk.

Pro: You can visit sites for as long or as little as you want.

I spent hours at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, because it is such a big museum and I wanted to see as much as I could. I spent a good 10 minutes at the One Liberty Observation Deck; I got my Instagram and got out. I was at the Liberty Bell for 30 minutes; the line took up 25 of the 30 minutes and I actually looked at the bell for a generous 5 minutes.

Highlight: Watching people take pictures in front of the liberty bell.

Con: There’s no one to take a photo of you.

There was no way I was asking a random person to take a picture of just me, so I took pictures of what was around me, which gave my Instagram feed a break from my face.

A rare selfie in Barneys

Pro: You can be up late without worrying about disturbing a roommate.

I stayed up until 1am with all of the lights on and I didn’t have to use headphones to watch snapchats or Netflix. I was guilt free.

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