Travel is one of those things that can be done a various different comfort levels, and can encompass a seemingly endless set of parameters. A day trip to the zoo, a weekend trip to the beach, or at the opposite end of the spectrum, and yearlong hop around the world. Obviously, these each have different levels of commitment and fall into different comfort levels. Traveling in itself can be a daunting commitment, but doing it solo for many can add a whole new level of personal hurdles. That being said, there are many benefits to it. Two years ago I spent several weeks on the road, just me and my car traveling the American west. I’m not going to lie, there where moments where I felt lonely, and wanted to just quit and go home, but I learned a lot about myself and am glad I did it. Here are a few great reasons(8 to be exact!) why you might want to give solo travel a go.
1.) Travel Partners Suck! Maybe i’m being a bit harsh here, but sometimes it’s true. When you are in a foreign country, or really anywhere you have never been, it is nice to be able to do absolutely everything that you either planned, or catches your eye. More often than not, when you are traveling with someone else, there is bound to be some disagreement on where to go or what to see, which can be a good way to experience something you might not have otherwise, but sometimes being able to follow your own agenda uninterrupted allows you to have the best personal experience.
2.) Find yourself. There is no doubt that spending time with yourself is a great way to figure yourself out or learn more about what makes you happy, so why not spend this alone time in a new and exciting place?
3.) Make new friends. When you are traveling by yourself, you may find yourself more inclined to approach people and start a conversation. Also being solo makes you more approachable to others wanting to strike up a conversation with you. Who knows, maybe you will find a new friend for life.
4.) Less hassle at the airport. Let’s face it, unless you like suffering, they you probably hate the airport as much as the next guy so having to worry about not only yourself, but also making sure your travel partner makes it through security and boards the flight with you can be stressful. Traveling solo allows you to eliminate having to worry about others and focus on your own travel plans.
5.) Expand your comfort zone. When traveling alone, every stage of the trip is your responsibility. You are in charge of booking flights, planning itineraries, packing, and every other aspect of the trip. If there is something that in the past you haven’t had to do because a travel partner handled it, now it is your deal. In addition to just logistical comfort zones, you will be stepping outside of personal comfort zones as well. When you travel with others, there is always someone you know around to talk to and bounce ideas off of. When you go it alone, you have to either deal with ideas and such on your own, or seek out help from locals, which can be intimidating, especially in a foreign country.
6.) You control the spending. You want to experience a fancy dinner that represents the local food well, while your partner may want to keep cost low and just get fast food. In this situation, someone is going to end up spending more than they want to, or someones going to end up not getting the experience they want. When you are traveling solo, you are free to adjust your budget as you see fit, allowing you to maximize personal experience.
7.) If you want to have a lazy day, you can. Everyone needs a break once in a while, even those who seem to be perpetually on vacation, but everyone hits that wall at different times. You may be ready for a relaxing rest day, while your traveling partner is ready to go go go! Solo travel allows for you to build your own pace and rest when you need to, and adventure when you are ready.
8.) Build confidence. This ties directly in with the point on “expanding you comfort zone” I made earlier. As you plan your own trips, and watch them successfully play out, you will begin to feel more confident about your planning skills. I addition, as you begin to make more friends and feel more comfortable approaching strangers, you will become more social confident.
So there you have it! 8 reasons why traveling solo is awesome. If you haven’t tried a solo trip yet, you owe it to yourself to give it a go. It’s not for everyone, but you won’t know if it’s a fit until you try it.
Do you have any other tips for traveling solo? Share them in the comments, we’d love to hear your thoughts.