Travelling alone is one of the best things in life. For some, it can be life-changing. No doubt about it, solo travel gives you an incredible opportunity to learn and discover about yourself.
Traveling solo is the greatest school you can attend with the coolest teachers and classmates ever. These internships cannot be more real! You’ll care less about society but more about individual people. In addition, you can be sure it will boost your confidence.
“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.”
1. Planning on your own
You have to take care of all the transportation and accommodation on your own beforehand. Sometimes when you are travelling in a group, you don’t even realise who booked the bus tickets or who had researched on the hotels and places to see. When you are on your own, you have to cover everything.
That also means you can be more spontaneous and flexible. It can be a challenge to coordinate plans with others and if their agenda doesn’t match yours, you’ll have to do things that are not necessarily what you want.
This is a very big deal when you’re visiting a large city with lots of attractions but have a time crunch and forced to scrap a few places. Unless your travel partner has the same taste as you do, it is possible you’ll end up squabbling over your itinerary and ultimately reach a compromise which may leave both dissatisfied.
When you travel alone, you are not obligated to please anyone but yourself.
2. It’s easier to meet new people and make new friends
When you are travelling all alone and there is nobody to talk to, your thoughts and ideas are your best friends. You read books, you observe people and you see new things. By traveling solo, you’ll likely meet many more people along the way than if you were traveling with a friend.
It’s easier to make friends, both locals and fellow travellers alike. Suddenly, you are anonymous. The people here know nothing about your backstory and you feel like you can begin on a clean slate again. If you travel with your friends, you’re more likely to keep each other company and are less likely to notice these new friend-making opportunities.
All you need to start a conversation is a smile and a genuine desire to know the person. Talking to people from diverse backgrounds broadens your point of view.
3. You’ll be more independent
There is no one interfering in your plans. Where to go, how to go, when to go, where to live, what to eat. You are your own master, if things do not go to plan, you are responsible.
Because no one is around, you can behave the way you want. You can truly explore that wooden furniture shop, or eat that duck embryo without the niggling feeling whether your friends are enjoying themselves or not.
4. Spend time with yourself
This is the most important thing which happens to you. You get to learn more about yourself. What makes you uncomfortable, how long you can go without eating, how you communicate with the locals.
It allows you to chart your plans independently, you go to places that you like, eat when you want and do what you love. Sitting by the river for 3 whole hours listening to your favourite music and watching the world go by? Sure. Sketching people at a cafe for hours? No problem. Traveling solo gives you the freedom and flexibility to make plans that suit you.
5. Step out of your comfort zone and gain confidence
You gets a different perspective of life. Get to see the world with a different angle. You start believing in yourself. After a while of navigating around, you will look back at the end of the trip and realise, ‘Hey, that wasn’t so tough after all!”
Traveling solo will often push you out of your comfort zone. Be it talking to strangers, settling for food you don’t like or having to camp in the wild. You become bolder and more inclined to try new activities. The more you stay outside your comfort zone, the more it will expand.
6. Greater immersion in local culture
Being on your own brings with it the great opportunity of mixing with the locals. No travel site recommendations come as close to what local dwellers can suggest. There are always hidden treasures.
You can get more of the local culture if you travel alone. If you don’t have company, you are more likely to seek out company among the people you meet while travelling, for example at hostels. Likewise, others are more likely to approach you when you are on your own. You might be more attentive to the nuances of local life and even learning bits of the local language.
7. You’ll experience the loneliness
The greatest fear of people considering solo travel is possible loneliness, which is amplified on longer journeys. If you constantly need a friend or partner around, travelling alone can be tough. No one to share spectacular moments with. No one to share food with. No one to navigate the confusing subway with. The fear of being seen as a loner.
However, if you make the effort to mix around with fellow travellers or the locals, you will learn that while you may be alone sometimes, you are never lonely.
Especially for ladies, when travelling alone, one needs to be more vigilant. Deviants are more likely to target lone travellers than a group of travellers.
While petty criminals like small time pickpockets and frauds are usually not much of a threat if you take some basic precautions, violent crime is more difficult to avert or deal with. The important thing is to always be on your guard and be street smart in various situations. For example, it is clearly not a wise choice to drink heavily in a dodgy bar versus in your hostel’s meeting area.
9. It might be a little bit more expensive
This can work both in favour of and against the idea of travelling alone. A large group can come in handy for splitting expenses if everyone is willing to put up with a little inconvenience. For example, you can rent a single room for 5 people and divide the cost. Travelling alone means that all expenses are on you only.
Have you travelled alone? If not, would you embark on a solo trip soon?