The beginning of a new year always triggers change and eye-opening self-reflection. If you feel like your life is at a standstill, you feel lost, or you feel stuck in a rut, it’s obvious what you need. You need to plan an amazing, perspective-altering and therapeutic trip this year so that 2017 can be the year you become free, unstuck and changed.

You need a lavish, self-healing solo trip that shakes you out of the funk you’ve been trapped in, and makes you realize how amazing life is. You need to let loose, get out of your comfort zone and treat yourself to an unforgettable experience that changes your story. Here are 7 reasons why you shouldn’t feel guilty spending all your cash on a solo trip – especially if you’re feeling stuck in a rut:

1. Because you actually can afford to stay at that fancy hotel

Have you ever dreamed of treating yourself to a stay at a luxury hotel, but convinced yourself that you simply can’t afford to spend all that cash?

Chances are, the problem is that you just don’t realize that you can swing it. For example, did you forget about the air miles you’ve earned through your credit card rewards program? A recent rewards card study by Captial One found that nearly two-thirds of rewards cardholders aren’t actually knowledgeable about their credit card’s travel rewards.

I used to be guilty of this. I’ve let my air miles expire because I forgot I had them – all the while complaining that I couldn’t afford to travel. A friend of mine similarly didn’t use the miles she had earned, because she assumed that if she tried to use them, she’d get push-back in the form of complicated restrictions, and assumed it would be a hassle to redeem them. She was wrong.

Some credit cards, though, are geared towards travelers. Capital One’s Venture card, for example, lets you redeem your miles towards any flight, any airline and any hotel with no blackout dates and no foreign transaction fees.

2. Because temporarily living in a fantasy can help remind you of life’s beauty

When I was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel, it was as though I had left the real world, and had temporarily entered a fantasy world where my problems didn’t exist and my persona and decorum completely transformed (because all of my negativity simply vanished.)

At times during my stay, I had out-of-body experiences where I felt like a completely different person. It reminded me that the old, happy me was still in there somewhere. She was just hiding, that’s all. I hadn’t seen that carefree version of myself in so long, that it legitimately seemed like an out-of-body experience (in a good way). I had come out of hiding, and it felt amazing.

This was a very self-healing trip for me, because at the time, I was feeling stuck and unhappy and lost.

3. A solo trip can help you break free from the metaphorical prison you’ve been trapped in

Many of us choose to hide behind metaphorical prison bars throughout our day-to-day lives, despite being free agents. Whether it be due to anxiety, depression, insecurities, heartbreak or low self-worth, many of us are trapped in a metaphorical prison cell.

A solo trip pushes you out of that cell, out into the world, where suddenly your thoughts and feelings change, and you’re reminded of who the real you is.

4. A rebound vacation is so much better than a rebound relationship

If you experienced heartbreak in 2016, let 2017 be the year you finally get past it and move on. A rebound relationship won’t do this for you, because so many of the same feelings and insecurities will come up.

A rebound vacation, however, can work wonders when it comes to healing heartbreak. You’ll be so consumed with the beauty, stimuli and sensations around you during your trip that you’ll finally forget about whoever broke your heart.

5. A vacation can actually re-train your brain on how to date

There’s a reason why so many people attest to the fact that it’s easier to find love abroad. The carefree, in-the-moment, go-getter version of you that miraculously comes out during a holiday is the exact version of you that should be showcased when you’re dating.

That’s why getting away from your city and traveling can re-train your brain on how to date. This is what I like to call the holiday mindset, and I firmly believe that a permanent holiday mindset is the cure for dating stagnation.

6. An incredible memory that you gain on a trip will become your source of hope and freedom

Speaking of freeing yourself, the amazing memories that you keep with you after an incredible, transformative trip hold a lot of power. It’s these memories that change your life story, and you’ll have them to hold on to and look back on whenever you’re feeling imprisoned or stuck or depressed.

All it takes is one incredible memory of a time when you were recently inarguably happy to restore your faith in yourself, your hope for your future and your belief in your ability to be carefree.

7. At the end of the day, experiences are more important than things

The happiest people are those who spend their money on experiences rather than on things. You don’t need handbags or designer shoes – what you need is experiences and memories to shape who you are, help you become the best version of you and to restore your belief in life’s beauty. It’s experiences that spur personal growth and self-betterment, and that’s why they’re worth every single dollar spent.

Image: World of Wanderlust

Erica Gordon is the author of Aren’t You Glad You Read This? The Complete How-To Guide for Singles with a History of Failed Relationships Who Want their Next Relationship to Succeed, available for only $4.99 on Amazon and on iBooks here.

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