6 Reasons You Should Travel Solo
Traveling is unarguably one of the best experiences you can have. It’s one of the few times you detach from your day-to-day life and engulf yourself in a new environment and new culture. The rewards are often unmatched and if done right, you’ll return back to normalcy with memories you’ll never forget. For most of my life I assumed these takeaways were better done with others. Growing up, I went on family vacations, like many others, and as I got older short getaways with friends and significant others took precedence. Up until my mid-20’s, I had never gone to a movie alone, or even shopped solo, let alone taken a vacation by myself.
My desire to travel solo changed as I got older. I moved away from home and as most of my friends and I embarked on adulthood, it became difficult for us to stay in touch, and connect with each other. My yearning for trips back home were replaced with wanting to explore new sights. Unfortunately, as I was establishing a new life in a new city, meeting people proved to be challenging. But, there were a ton of cities/countries on my bucket list and I refused to let not having a travel partner stop my wanderlust.
I’m proud to say it was the best decision I could’ve ever made. Here’s what I learned from traveling solo, and why everyone should try it.
You Can Create Your Own Agenda
As much as I love being around and engaging with friends and family, I love being able to do my own thing. I pretty much operate as if it’s me against the world and suffer from ‘only-child-syndrome,’ although I’m not an only child. So as you can imagine, traveling solo was the best gift I could give myself. Three years ago during my first solo trip to New Orleans, I had no agenda, which meant that I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I had no one to consult, and no one to persuade me to do something or go somewhere I didn’t want to go. From booking the travel arrangements to laying out my daily itinerary, it was all up to me, which was extremely empowering.
You’ll Spend Less Money
How many times have you gone out with friends on a budget, and ended up spending more than you planned? If you’re like me, it’s quite often. It’s common to spend more money when you’re with others. At dinner, if friends order another round of drinks, you compelled to do the same. If we’re all sharing plates, the more the merrier, right? Not when you travel alone. Yes, you spend more than you would on a normal non-traveling day, but if you if you were traveling with friends, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll spend more. When I traveled solo, I only bought what I needed and had no pressure to get the extra cocktail, or souvenir. Money saved!
You Meet People Easier
The old saying rings true here - meeting people in groups is never easy. In fact, it can be intimidating at times. For my 30th birthday, I traveled to Italy solo and met more people in seven days than I would have in a month in LA. This is partially due to my willingness and interest in meeting new people, but I was also more approachable by being solo, which led to more chance encounters. I was also single at the time, which as you can imagine worked in my favor.
You Learn To Rely On Your Own Instincts
Don’t get me wrong, anyone - man or woman - should exercise caution while traveling alone. The world is such a scary place now. But, I believe that when you only have yourself to rely on, you experience growth. As beautiful and culture-filled as New Orleans is, there were a few times where I had to make decisions to ensure my safety and well-being. Normally I would lean on a friend for support or help in making a decision, but when traveling alone, all you have is yourself. I considered this practice for facing major decisions in life. You can never go wrong relying on your gut instinct.
You’ll Feel More Confident
Up until my 30th birthday, I had never been to Europe. So, the fact that I was able to plan a trip across the country gave me a major confidence boost. Of course, I had initial fears. How would I get from one city to the next without fluently speaking the native language? How could I best protect my personal belongings and assets? What if something went wrong? I’m happy to say, I survived! Nothing terrible happened, and even the minor snafus and mishaps were fixable. There’s no greater reward than being able to create a memorable experience for yourself. Now I have proof that I can do it, and motivation to make it happen again.
You’ll Have a Completely Different Experience
I know this goes without saying, but overall, traveling with others is completely different than traveling solo. Neither one is better than the other, but traveling alone does have its own perks. I found that I was more in tune and connected with myself after traveling alone. It helped me step outside of my comfort zone and think about what I truly wanted out of all of my experiences in life. At the end of the day, we can only depend on ourselves and learning more about your wants and desires is the best way to deepen your relationship with self.