For many, travel is a life-changing experience that broadens your mind and expands your knowledge. It is an opportunity to face your fears, follow your dreams and ultimately find yourself. This is even more true when you embark on a journey own your own, without the safety net and companionship that a friend or partner provide. Here are 5 reasons why solo travel is great (and why you should not forget some of the issues that may come with it).
1. Solo travel encourages self confidence
The thought of travelling anywhere alone can be daunting for many people. Something as simple as going into a restaurant and asking a table for one can feel embarrassing. Imagine orientating yourself in a new city, talking to strangers in a foreign language, having the sole responsibility of making all the bookings and plans, and so on…travelling solo is not easy!
And that’s why many will choose to take a leap of faith and travel alone as a way to face their fears. Solo travel promotes self confidence as you become your own person and forge your way into a whole new destination.
The fact that there is no one else to contradict your decisions is another benefit. You are 100% in charge of your own destiny and of planning the journey based on your own preferences. Going to a destination can feel like one heck of a ride, but in the end, many feel more empowered than they had ever felt before.
2. It promotes problem solving and creative thinking
Whether it’s losing your luggage, missing your plane at the airport, or even somehow ended up getting lost on the way to your hotel, somehow all of it ends up being forgotten when you lay eyes on that place you had your heart set on from the very start. Being able to handle whatever issue arises along the way and know that “yes, you can make it out on your own” is the best reward.
Travel isn’t guaranteed to go 100% according to plan every time, but adversity brings forth resilience, creative thinking and problem solving skills that we never realised we had before. Having a backup plan such as good travel insurance can help you with any traveling mishaps. Don’t forget to have travel insurance protection like when you are on the road, or when you book your excursion. AA Insurance is one of the insurance companies that will work to cover any financial losses in the event that they occur on your journey.
3. It can lead to self discovery
Being alone with your thoughts can stimulate reflective growth and positive energy that encourages you to move forward with confidence. Taking time to be independent and doing things that inspire you or force you to rely on yourself can lead to discovering simple truths that grow into new beginnings. All my personal experiences of travelling solo for leisure and for work and living abroad on my own – like for example when I moved to Ubud, Bali – taught me a lot about myself.
Keep a journal, write morning pages, or simply keep a log of new experiences and things you are grateful for. Putting your thoughts and feelings to paper will help you commit them to memory.
4. It can be spontaneous and last minute
Travelling on your own allows you to be spontaneous and make / change plans on a whim. When you don’t have anyone else to consult before making a decision, you can proceed quicker. It also means you can make the most of cheap deals, like for example booking a last minute flight to a destination you hadn’t considered before simply because you got a good deal.
Last minute deals make up for the fact that travelling on your own is often more expensive than travelling in pairs or small groups. This is particularly true when you consider the costs of accommodation, as many hotels apply a single supplement, sharply increasing the cost of a holiday for a single traveller.
Remember: your first solo trip doesn’t have to be abroad. Start small by taking a day trip from your city, this way you learn step by step how to face the challenges of travelling on your own (and also reap the rewards).
If you live in London, these destinations are great for a solo trip: the perfect weekend in Cambridge, an outdoor trip in North Norfolk, visit Bath, escape to Cotswolds, a day out in Kent, walk in the Peak District national park or a weekend in York and Leeds.
5. It will help you meet new people
People travel all over the world for different reasons: to have fun, to relax, to escape the routine, to try new foods, to learn about history and art, to learn languages. There is so much to gain from travelling! More often than not, it’s the people we meet on the road that helps us forge the most memorable experiences. All the new people we meet make the adventure the most worthwhile. When travelling solo, you are naturally more likely to meet new people. This is the part of travel that will likely have the most impact on you afterwards and for years to come.
The issues with travelling solo
Traveling should always be a positive and enriching experience for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, or ethnicity. The reality is that younger women are often discouraged from travelling alone and instead are told to stick together in a group with a male partner or friend. Most people won’t hesitate to ask a woman: “aren’t you worried that something could happen to you? Why would you want to travel solo?” while hardly anyone would dare ask the same to a man. That’s sad and unfair. Travelling is something that should be enjoyed by anyone, whether they are men or women.
Another important factor to consider when planning a trip is safety and security. Check government websites for latest news and official advices on whether a particular city or region is safe at that particular time.
Read blogs, forums, engage with the travel blogging community on social media to find out the best places to travel to. Some countries are considered to be safer destinations than others, or are known to be more friendly and welcoming to foreign travellers.
At the end of the day, the advantages of travelling solo greatly outweigh the disadvantages. Being on the road on your own and facing the challenges that come with it is extremely rewarding. It’s a travel experience that will leave you feeling empowered and proud. You feel an immense sense of achievement!
Travel nowadays may appear less safe than ever before, because we are constantly pushed scary news on issues of safety, health and security. Protect yourself from any risks with good planning and a little common sense. Just a few smart steps that will make your solo trip be an unforgettable experience.
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.