What are the advantages of traveling alone?
Solo travel is an increasingly talked about topic. How men and women are exploring the world on their own.
Many people dream of a solo adventure but an equal amount of people are scared to actually take the plunge.
Nevertheless, not having someone to go with is one of the most frequent reasons people have for not traveling as much as they’d like!
Speaking from experience, this should not be a reason to postpone your plans! There are so many solo travel benefits and traveling alone doesn’t make you a ‘loser’ or mean you ‘have no friends’.
In fact, it actually means you have the guts to go out there and do something incredible, regardless of what anybody else thinks. And that is a lot more inspiring than sitting at home on the couch!
Is Travelling Alone a Good Idea?
There’s no real definitive answer to this – it depends on who you are. If you hate having ‘me time’, always have people to travel with and can’t see the appeal of going solo, then it probably isn’t for you. However, in my opinion, the solo travel benefits vastly outweigh the downsides and, even if you do fall into this category, you might be pleasantly surprised!
A lot of people that go on their first solo trip end going on a life-changing journey of self-discovery. A pilgrimage to the soul, almost! Even though that sounds super deep and scary, realizing who you are is not something you should worry about. But it’s certainly one of the benefits of a solo trip.
So, if you’ve been considering traveling solo or had any doubts about how-to for the first time, then you’re in the right place. Here are some of the best benefits of solo travel that will change how you feel about traveling alone. They will also change you and your life!
The Benefits of Solo Travel
#1. Increased Confidence
There’s no denying that one of the main solo travel benefits is that it increases your confidence. Solo travel puts you out of your comfort zone. Whether this is your first solo trip or 5th, there will always be something new and something different to prepare for. But in the end, you are forced to rely on yourself.
Whilst locals and strangers can be perfectly helpful, at the end of the day, the only person you can truly rely upon is you. This will lift you up morally, make you stronger as a person and beat down any doubts you had about traveling solo.
All you need to remember is that you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it, and you will be totally fine.
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#2. Complete and Utter Freedom
One of the best things about a solo travel experience is the complete and utter freedom that comes with it.
- Have you ever been on a trip where nobody can decide what they want to do?
- Or where you really want to go somewhere but nobody else finds it interesting, so you get overruled?
- Or have you ever been trying to arrange a trip and people just won’t get back to you or are always busy?
It can be seriously frustrating!
Whereas, with solo travel, you are completely in control. You are the boss. Nobody can turn around to you and tell you that something is a bad idea or that they don’t feel like going. You get to decide where to go, when to go, how long for, where to stay – literally everything you can think of is in your hands. And I cannot tell you how good that feels!
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#3. You’ll Make Friends for Life
Is solo travel lonely? This is one of the things a lot of travelers wonder before their first solo trip and I can confidently say, not at all. In fact, solo travel can actually be more social than if you were to go with friends and family.
This is because being alone forces you to meet people. Whether this is through your accommodation, where you choose to eat, your daily activities or a group tour. You’ll be surprised how many solo travelers you’ll actually meet on your trip and trust me; you wouldn’t have met them if you’d been in a group.
I call this the ‘Mean Girls Effect’. Think about this for a second.
If you were on your own and had to approach a group of girls who are good friends, you’d feel quite apprehensive, right? Like the new girl in school. You might not even do it!
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But, if you’re alone and there’s just one other solo traveler, you’d be a lot more inclined to go and say hi.
If you travel in a group, you’ll probably see plenty of solo travelers. But you won’t really notice them or talk to them because you won’t be looking for company. When you travel solo, things are different and you can literally make friends for life.
#4. It’s Cheaper
This might come as a surprise because there are a lot of places that charge a single supplement for solo travelers. But solo travel is becoming so popular, that a lot of organizations are actually scrapping this completely, and there is more and more accommodation that caters for solo travelers.
In almost every country, you can find hostels and boutique hotels with dorm rooms. And whilst these used to be considered dirty, noisy places just for backpackers or younger travelers looking to go out and get drunk, the standards are seriously improving. Nowadays, a lot of these places can actually be communities for solo travelers, whether you’re staying for weeks or months whilst you save to travel the rest of the world.
Another solo travel benefit, and benefit of staying in a hostel, is that the majority of them have their own kitchens. If you cook all your own food you can seriously slash your food costs. The cost of a week’s worth of food shopping can easily be the same price as one meal in a restaurant. So, strangely enough, traveling alone can actually be one of the best ways to save money to travel more of the world!
#5. You’ll Challenge Your Anxieties
Anxiety is the most common form of mental illness and more or less everyone has suffered from some form of anxiety in their life. Things, like speaking to strangers or getting a flight by yourself, are things that people often wouldn’t even consider doing. Especially not in a foreign country. But when you travel solo, you have no choice.
You’ll need to eat by yourself, possibly get taxis alone, talk to locals, talk to other travelers, navigate an airport by yourself and all sorts of daunting things. However, the more you have to do these things, the less of a challenge they’ll seem. And once you’ve kicked all your anxieties to the curb, you’ll once again come out a much stronger and more confident person.
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#6. You’ll Face Your Fears
Similar to challenging your anxieties, another solo travel benefit is that you’ll have no choice but to face your fears. Everybody has their own irrational fears when it comes to traveling and it can be all too easy to leave the hard parts to someone else when you’re in a group.
For example, I absolutely hate doing directions. I love planning a trip, I love deciding where to go but when it comes to actually navigate a new country, I usually leave that to my fiancé! Unfortunately for me, if I’m traveling solo, then I won’t be able to rely on him to do that for me.
Solo travel has the ability to seriously put you out of your comfort zone and challenge your limits. But because you have no choice, no matter what the situation, you always end up coming out on top!
#7. You Might Fall in Love
If you’re worried about whether you’ll make any friends on a solo trip, you might actually go one step further and find your soulmate. So many people have fallen in love whilst traveling solo because it’s much easier to meet people than if you’re in a group.
A couple of my favorite bloggers (Tom and Anna from Adventures in You) actually met on their own solo travel adventures, became a couple and now travel the world together. So, you really never know! You might just hope to find a friend and end up with much more than that!
#8. You Get to Leave Everything Else Behind
Now, on the contrary, nobody likes unnecessary drama. Whether that’s work stress, relationship rubbish, or family troubles, one of the definite benefits of solo travel is you get to leave all of that behind.
It can be seriously nice to just switch off. Put your phone on silent, close social media and truly just stop and focus on yourself. There’s absolutely no crime in having a little bit of quality me time, and a solo travel experience can be just the thing you need to get your head straight.
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#9. There’s Nobody to Impress
This is another of my favorite parts of a solo trip is that, in the nicest possible way, nobody cares what you look like! Nobody knows you and nobody is particularly interested in you. And whilst this might feel like a negative thing, think about all the times you’ve slapped on a face full of make-up to impress the guy you like, or shaved your legs for a night out that you don’t really want to go on. How many times have you slipped into an uncomfortable pencil skirt and high heels for a boring day at the office full of pointless meetings and unreasonable managers?
Travel eliminates all of this. On a solo trip, you have absolutely nobody to impress and nobody expects anything of you. This is also why you can make some of the best friends traveling and meet your soulmate because at no point will you be putting on a false front. There’ll be no cheesy customer service voice, fake work pleasantness or putting up with irritable in-laws. You can be 100% yourself and that’s all that anyone who meets you will get.
#10. Choose Your Own Path
There is always something that will attract you to a particular destination. If you’ve dreamed of visiting Bali, is it to go on the famous Bali swing? How about Santorini? Perhaps you’ve dreamed of the bright blue rooftops and wandering the cobbled streets. However, what if you go as a group and whatever it is that you’ve dreamed of doing in your chosen destination, the rest of your party doesn’t want to do?
In that situation, you could either go off on your own or miss out. Either way, it can be very frustrating if there’s somewhere you really want to visit but nobody else does. That’s why traveling solo can be a wonderful choice because you quite literally choose your own path. You can go where you want when you want and you’re always the one who makes the decisions. So, no more arguing over which restaurant to eat at or people complaining because they just want to sit by the pool when you want to go out and explore!
#11. It’s Good for Your Well-Being
One of the major benefits of traveling in general but especially solo travel is that it allows you to connect with yourself. As I’ve mentioned, having some alone time isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s actually a good thing and allows you to reconnect with yourself.
People are always wondering how to enjoy traveling alone but it’s really easy. Just think about all the things you’ve wanted to do but haven’t had the chance. For example, if there’s a book you’ve wanted to read or something you’ve wanted to write or you’ve always dreamed of visiting something but nobody else has.
You can achieve a lot on a solo trip and you end up learning a lot about yourself. You discover what you like, what you don’t like, it gives you the chance to experiment with things that you otherwise wouldn’t. You end up operating at full capacity, saying yes to more opportunities and taking more chances, which can be life-changing.
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#12. You Can Truly Relax
There is a serious difference between relaxing with other people and relaxing on your own. When you’re with other people, even if you’re just chilling on the beach, you still have to make conversation and the choice to leave or where you go next is never really yours. Similar to home life, have you ever been sat on the sofa with your other half trying to decide on a film to watch or where to eat? Even though you’re relaxing, it can be seriously stressful when neither of you can decide, right?
Travelling is no different and the best thing about a solo travel experience is you have no-one else to stress you out. You can truly relax, nag-free! That alone can leave you way more peaceful inside that if you’d come on a group trip. It is the perfect way to refresh yourself!
#13. You’ll Have Incredible Memories that Are Truly Yours
I suppose in a sense this can be one of the pros and cons of solo travel. It can be really nice to experience something new with someone else.
However, I also seriously see the appeal in having memories that are entirely yours. Your partner or best friend or family doesn’t need to be present in every part of your life and creating some of your own memories can be one of the most refreshing things to do on a solo trip. You made those memories; you climbed to the top of the mountain, you scuba-dived the shipwreck, you saw the sunrise at the beautiful temple, and you did it alone. You didn’t need anyone to help you and that alone, can be a seriously empowering experience.
#14. You Will Develop New Skills
There will be a lot of things that you’ll have to do on a solo trip, that you wouldn’t otherwise have to. Going back to my phobia of doing my own directions, since having no choice on my first solo trip, I’ve grown in confidence and will now happily navigate to places on my own. This will be the exact same for you!
Once you’ve challenged your solo travel anxieties and faced your fears, you’ll come as a new person with new skills. Whether that’s the ability to do your own directions or the confidence to get around a foreign airport on your own or the independence to eat at a restaurant by yourself, you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment that you can do it. Travel can throw a lot of obstacles at you, but one of the benefits of solo travel is that you learn to tackle them head-on. And you develop a lot more trust in yourself for doing so.
#15. You’ll See More
As well as being able to choose which places you actually visit on your trip, another benefit of solo travel is that you actually end up seeing more of those places as well. When you’re with other people, you usually have a tick-list of things you want to see or a bunch of places you’re going to visit.
When you’re traveling solo, you can just as easily spend the day wandering a new city with no true direction at all. Doing this as a couple or a group is usually quite frustrating as people always want to be going somewhere or get irritated with just wandering around. But that can actually be the best way to see a new destination.
By just exploring with no real direction, you can go places you wouldn’t have otherwise gone and see things you wouldn’t have seen. You’ll get a much better understanding of the destination and the locals. You might even come across a beautiful building or excellent place to eat that you would have never known about.
Are there any other benefits of solo travel?
More About Guest Contributor
Wanderluster, freelance writer and author of The Ultimate Guide to Affordable Luxury Travel, Alice is an avid adventurer. Based in England, she gave up her soul-sucking career in IT sales to chase her dreams of traveling and writing stories. Now, she helps people save money and travel the world and has helped hundreds travel longer, cheaper and in style! Connect with her at Adventures of Alice.