The idea of travelling solo strikes fear into the hearts and minds of many. This is understandable, especially if you haven’t travelled much before, but it’s important to remember there are plenty of positives to going it alone.
Freedom, flexibility, and the chance to conquer whatever’s been holding you back are just some of the benefits — take the plunge and you’ll soon discover how independent and resourceful you can really be. The first time I did it was in Montreal, and you can find out why I think it is the perfect place for travelling solo here.
But for now, here are five reasons why travelling solo is so rewarding…
1. It’s a chance to overcome your fears
With no one else to rely on, you’ll quickly learn what you’re capable of, especially when faced with (possibly unexpected) challenges.
Whether it’s putting a few words of a foreign language to use at the train station or finding your way back to your accommodation after a long day, the opportunities to feel the fear and do it anyway are always waiting.
You may also use your trip as a chance to conquer an adventure activity you’ve always wanted to try — canyon swinging, anyone?
Naturally, safety will be your number-one priority, and fortunately there are plenty of guides to staying safe on the road online, as outlined by 1Cover. It’s worth quizzing other travellers about their time in your destination, too, in case they have any useful insights and tips on what to avoid.
2. Solo travel gets you out of your comfort zone
Most of us aren’t used to spending so much time alone, so that in itself may well be the first challenge for many first-time solo travellers.
As your trip progresses, you’ll find that things that used to bother you, such as flying pr eating alone, no longer cause quite so much trepidation. You’ll learn to rely on yourself, enjoy your own company and go into unfamiliar situations with newfound confidence.
3. Meet people when travelling alone
People are more approachable when they’re on their own than when they’re in groups, so chances are you’ll find it easier to strike up a conversation with someone.
Hostels are a great place to meet fellow travellers and get advice from others who are in the same situation as you, or you could try sitting at the bar in a restaurant, instead of at a table. In fact, bar staff are often some of the best people to ask for recommendations in the area.
It’s also easier to talk to locals when you’re by yourself. They’re often delighted to have an opportunity to share their insights and give you an idea of what life is really like in their town or city.
Remember: travelling by yourself doesn’t always mean being alone. Unexpected encounters often form some of the best memories of a trip.
4. You don’t need to compromise
Travelling alone means you can focus solely on what you want to do and experience. You don’t need to worry about pleasing any travel companions and can organise the trip however you see fit.
You also have complete control over the budget, which means you can do what’s best for you in a financial sense as well. (Not sure how to save money on the road? Nomadic Matt’s guide has some handy advice.)
5. Solo travel lets you be spontaneous
Last-minute excursion with fellow travellers staying in your hostel? No problem. Want to move onto the next city a day earlier? Feel free.
There’s no need to plan your time rigidly (unless you want to!) so enjoy the flexibility solo travel allows.
Whether you immediately start planning your next solo adventure or decide to call it quits and see the world with companions, the personal growth you’ll see from travelling alone makes the experience well worth it. It’s something everyone should try at least once, so what are you waiting for?