Whether you’ve pondered setting out on your own for a while now or this is a fresh, new idea courtesy of all the time at home 2020 has gifted you, taking a solo trip is an experience unlike any other. Feeling anonymous in an unknown place may sound at first scary or lonely, but beyond these initial reactions is a whole world waiting for you!
Here are 5 reasons to go for it and take a trip solo.
1. You don’t have to travel with someone
If the thought of traveling solo has crossed your mind and been dismissed for any number of reasons, but namely for the whole “solo” part, let’s tackle this issue right away — You don’t have to travel with someone. All the activities and happenings that you would be moving through with a friend, significant other, group, or family, you are totally capable of doing all of those things on your own. Yes! Self-empowerment! If going it alone makes you a little nervous, that’s totally okay! Dedicate a little extra prep time to boost your confidence and research your destination and activities. The more well-informed you are the more you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the journey. And, after the first solo trip, you may even decide you prefer it!
2. You can have and do whatever you like
Have you ever wanted to go somewhere so you throw out this genius idea for this great adventure to your friends or family only to be met with something along the lines of ‘Those dates don’t work for me. Can we look at next year?’ or ‘Sounds fantastic! But, can we stay here instead?’ or, the enthusiastic but vague promise of ‘OMG Yes! Let’s do it!’ (with absolutely no follow up)? Guess what?! A great benefit of taking a solo trip is all the coordinating, questions, excuses and waiting for confirmation disappear. You are a solo traveler! You are free to go where you want, when you want, stay where you want, do what you want, eat what you want. You get it.
3. You’ll get wonderfully lost
Another benefit of solo travel? You’ll get lost. Don’t panic though. Some of your greatest travel moments are likely to occur when something goes not quite as planned. In fact, perhaps you spend a day without a plan at all and just wander aimlessly. You’re likely to discover corners of your destination that aren’t included in your guidebook – dine with the locals at a corner food stall, stop and watch an afternoon soccer game, pick up a cool art piece at a funky art gallery. Get lost and get found again, all on your own. If you ever find yourself lost and it’s not on purpose, use your resources. You can use your phone or a map, but also the locals. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, more often than not people are friendly and willing to help you! You’ll walk away with a one-of-a-kind travel tale and newfound solo traveling confidence and navigation skills.
4. You’ll make new friends
When you aren’t always engaged with your own travel posse, you’re more likely to look outward for conversation and connection. Meeting others while striking out on your own can be one of the most intimidating parts of taking a solo trip. Fear not. It might look something like this: You take a stroll one evening and walk past an open-air bar. The live music and happening atmosphere call to you and you decide to toast to your solo adventure with a drink. You might feel a little awkward being alone in this environment, but you enjoy the music and slowly begin dancing and singing along. Then, another solo traveler approaches asking where “you all” are from, assuming you’re just part of a larger group! You explain you’re also traveling solo and just like that you’ve made a new friend, all because you embraced that awkward, alone feeling and pushed yourself to have the drink and enjoy the music! This is a true story. How you make new travel friends might not look like this. It could be chatting with others on the rooftop of your guesthouse, during a walking tour, or even on public transport. The point is you will definitely make new friends and even though you are taking the trip solo, take comfort in knowing you won’t be completely solo the whole time.
5. You’ll have ‘you time’
Similarly to turning outward for new friends and connections, you’ll also be afforded the time to turn inward. When you’re on your own, you’re on your own schedule. You don’t have to be ready at 11:00 for brunch or to tag along on the tour of the museum that you aren’t particularly interested in. You can schedule your days to best serve your travel goals. This may include a quiet moment to read a book over a cup of coffee. Or it may look like jotting down your thoughts in your travel journal each evening after dinner. It could mean strolling the local park or along a beach and practicing being in the present. No matter what this time may look like for you, having control over the speed of your trip and the ability to take a quiet, reflective moment for yourself is a great benefit of solo travel.
This list of reasons to take a solo trip ends at 5 but your list doesn’t have to! Traveling solo provides a different lens through which you’ll travel. You might try it and love it or you might try it and learn that you don’t! Regardless, it’s something you deserve to experience at least once. Reap the benefits of traveling solo – growth, introspection, confidence, new friends, and crazy travel stories.