Despite the fact that it’s been almost a decade since I travelled alone, I still have fond memories of that time. Admittedly, my solo travel days were limited since most of the time I ended up meeting people, but there’s something about solo travel that can energize the soul.
To be honest, I never travelled alone for more than a few days. Like many others, I had an unfounded fear of doing things solo. Looking back now, some of my best travel moments came when I was by myself. If you’ve ever thought about travelling solo, but haven’t managed to go through with it yet, here are some reasons why you should just do it now.
When you travel alone, that means you can do whatever you want. The only person you need to hold accountable is yourself. You don’t need to worry about keeping your travel companions happy or stopping whenever someone needs a break. You’re on your own pace, free to see what you want to see.
I’m a bit of an architecture nut, so when I was travelling solo in London, I searched out unique buildings that no sane tourist would ever be interested in. It didn’t matter that these buildings were out of the way, this was a personal interest of mine, so I took the time to explore.
Not everyone has the same interests, so when you’re travelling solo you can plan whatever itinerary you want while making changes on the fly.
You’re in control of your budget
This ties in total flexibility, but when you’re travelling solo, I find budgets are less of an issue since you’re controlling how much you’ll be spending. Sure, you may end up spending more on accommodations since you have no one to share expenses with, but you might spend less. As a solo traveller, I didn’t mind staying in hostels which brought my costs down.
When it come to food and attractions, it was easy for me to manage my expenses since I was the one deciding what I would eat and see. I remember spending more than usual on food one day in Paris, but I balanced out my spending by simply exploring the free things to do in the city.
Solo travel doesn’t mean you should spend whatever you want (although you can). You should always have a vacation budget and make an effort to maximize your credit card rewards to offset your vacation costs.
You’ll meet new people
I think the biggest fear people have about solo travel is being lonely. Now, if you’re making a round-the-world trip, you’ll definitely feel lonely and homesick eventually. But, there are a ton of great people out there who you can meet.
During my hostel days, it took about three seconds to come across someone interesting; all I did was headto the common room or bar. These people loved to travel as much as I did, so it didn’t take long to make new friends who quite often became a travel companion.
These days, it’s even easier to connect with locals who live in the city you’re visiting by going online. Head to Facebook or Reddit and look for the local communities to see if people want to meet up or have any recommendations of things to see off the beaten path.
You’ll learn more about yourself
Travelling solo was sort of an eye-opener for me on a personal level. When I was on the road, I was forced to go outside my comfort zone since I was by myself. I had to talk to people, figure out directions, and even decipher menus. It may sound weird, but these small things can make the difference when you’re alone. I had to do things that I wasn’t familiar with which made me more comfortable in my daily life moving forward.
Travelling alone also allowed me to observe the things around me. I didn’t have a travel companion to talk to, and at the time, being buried in your phone wasn’t a thing. I simply looked at everything around me at a slower pace and took it all in. This gave me a new appreciation of what travel is about. I’m no longer interested in seeing every attraction possible; I’m more interested in immersing myself in the culture.
You get to reinvent yourself
When you’re in a new place, no one knows who you are back home. You can become the complete opposite of what you consider the norm. Are you shy and quiet back home? Go ahead and talk to everyone and make new friends on the road. Do you find that you’re too serious at times? Let loose while you’re on your trip, no one will care.
When we’re at home, we tend to be on a fixed schedule or a routine, but that all changes when we travel. We can do whatever we want and change things up on the fly. We have the freedom to try new things without worrying about anyone judging us. Hopefully, some of that newfound confidence carries home with you.
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