Have you been dying to travel somewhere, but none of your friends have the free time or budget to go with you? There’s a simple solution to your problem … go alone!

You may be a little skeptical, thinking you wouldn’t know what to do with yourself, or nervous, wondering how you would overcome any issues that arise if you’re alone. Trust me, you’ll be okay… and will have a more enlightening experience than if you went with others.

I recently traveled to an incredible hotel tucked away in the jungle of Mexico called “Verana.” The accompanying photos are from that trip, proof that solo travel can be just as incredible as group trips. Below are some of the insights I gained, which will hopefully inspire you to set out on a solo journey of your own.

You can do whatever YOU want

So you want to wake up at 5 in the morning and hike a mountain in the dark to watch the sun rise from the top? Great! Do it. Want to sit by a pool and do absolutely nothing all day but drink margaritas and read? That’s fine too.

Vacations are supposed to be relaxing right? Trying to coordinate plans to appease everyone’s desires can be nothing short of stressful. As nice as it is to have someone to share these experiences with, when you are traveling alone there is no one holding you back from having them. You can plan — or not plan — as much as you want.

You’ll be more present

Experiences tend to impact me more when I am alone. Without the distraction of other people and conversation, I am naturally forced to be more present in the moment. When I was on this trip in Mexico, I was able to wake up early every morning, sip my coffee, meditate, and take the time to appreciate the beauty around me before I set off for the day.

All of my attention is on whatever is in front of me, whether that means sitting back and enjoying the sound of heavy raindrops hitting the thatched roof or appreciating the highly-considered, yet subtle details of the hotel’s interior design.

You can cater the trip to your budget

When traveling with a group of people, it’s rare that everyone’s finances are on the same level. When you are traveling alone, however, you can travel in a way that fits your budget.

The best part?  You don’t have to feel either resentful because others can’t afford the restaurant you want to try for dinner, or guilty for holding your friends back because you don’t want to pay the extravagant fee to go parasailing for an hour.

Avoiding the drama of trying split a bill five ways is just the icing on top.

You’ll learn about yourself

When you’re spending days on end with no one but your thoughts, you are bound to get better acquainted with yourself. This may seem daunting for all you extroverts out there … but trust me, self-discovery is a good thing.

When you’re traveling alone you will spend more time daydreaming, reading, writing, and contemplating what really makes you happy.

As an example, while on this trip I rediscovered how grounding it is for me to be in nature … something I lose sight of every now and then living in downtown Los Angeles. When I returned from this trip, I made a point to get out of the city and get lost in nature on a more regular basis.

You’ll gain confidence and become a better traveler

Say you’re driving down a bumpy dirt road, hit a huge pothole, and end up with a flat tire, no cell service, and not another car in sight.

When you’re with others, it’s easy to turn to your boyfriend and ask him to change the tire for you. But when you’re alone, you have to hike your skirt up, kneel in the dirt, and change that tire yourself.

As you drive off down that road, spare tire and all, you’ll be overwhelmed with a sense of confidence because you handled that situation all on your own. There are so many little situations that you will have to overcome when you are traveling alone — from figuring out how to communicate with a cab driver in a completely different language to being stuck in the middle of the jungle during a torrential downpour.

When you have no choice but to figure everything out for yourself, you will build confidence, gain wisdom, and become a better traveler. And, next time you get a flat tire with a group of friends, you can impress them by jumping out and saving the day.