Were you to start a conversation about solo travel in your friendship group, you are likely to hear two distinct types of opinions. Some people will say it’s the best thing you can ever do for yourself, while others will think it’s unsafe, slightly crazy, and definitely not something you should be doing.
Let’s explore why you should say yes to solo travel this year and how to unleash that intrepid explorer inside you:
You Get to Call All the Shots
In a group, there is always some compromise to be made. Either you have to wait for someone to wake up and get ready, you miss out on eating a favorite dessert because the group wants to move on, etc. No such concessions need to be paid when you are traveling solo.
This means that you can see and experience everything you want to without worrying about being late, messing up someone else’s plans, or disrupting the group itinerary. Even when you travel in pairs, you still need to take the other person’s wishes into account. Not so on your own.
You Will Learn More About Yourself
Traveling alone will also teach you a lot about yourself. You will learn how you deal with all kinds of situations, how you handle stress, and how patient you really are.
When you know there is someone close by you can rely on, you tend to make slightly different choices. When you are all on your own, you will get the true measure of yourself as a person, as well as your strengths and qualities. Agatha Christie speaks about it marvelously in her Autobiography, where she is surprised to discover she is actually more capable than she ever imagined.
You Will Become More Confident
Solo travel is also a great way to boost your confidence levels. Since you have to tackle every issue that arises on your own and speak to strangers all the time, perhaps in a foreign language, all these new experiences will quickly teach you to trust yourself more.
This boost in confidence translates very well to everyday life, and you’ll discover you feel better about yourself when you come home as well. This is especially noticeable if you are usually a bit on the shy side or if you are an introvert. Traveling alone can make you overcome your usual qualms and get better at talking to people.
You Will Get Better at Handling All Kinds of Situations
Solo travel teaches you to be more organized and manage your time better. You will also learn how to plan itineraries, order the best food, and take care of your needs in ways you never get to learn at home.
You will also get better at talking to strangers, meeting people, and judging situations based on limited information. For example, you may get better at determining when a grocer is trying to overcharge you.
You will also learn how to handle money better and how to get yourself moving. You’ll learn what motivates you, how you respond to stress, and what you need to feel good on a daily basis.
You Get to Live Your Dreams
When traveling alone, you get to literally live your dreams. You can go where you have always wanted to go, explore new cultures, eat new food, and learn all about the things that interest you most.
If you’ve always wanted to go somewhere, but you’ve never found a travel companion, you can go there on your own. You can work from abroad, find your dream job, and meet your dream person: as long as you keep yourself open to new opportunities and experiences.
How to Make Solo Travel a Great Experience
Speaking of opportunities and experiences, here is how to make your solo travel journey the best it can be:
1. Always stay safe
Choose destinations that are solo travel-friendly. Don’t go somewhere inherently dangerous. Let friends and family know where you are on any given day, so they can find you easily in case you should get injured or ill. Practice basic travel safety at all times.
2. Find the best deals
Since you have no one to split the costs of travel with, make sure to find the best and most affordable deals. Finding cheap flights out of your local airport is usually fairly easy if you book your stay well in advance. Look for discounts offered by local tour guides, and figure out how you can save on sightseeing and your meals.
3. Make a list
Write down everything you want to see and do while you are there. You don’t have to tick everything off your list, but it will be a great starting point for your travels. Make a rough plan in your head every day and figure out what you want to see and where you want to eat in the area. Social media is a great way to find great local spots.
4. Say yes to the unexpected
While your list should be there to help you get started, don’t be afraid to stray off the beaten path (as long as it’s safe!). You’ll spot locations and places you are curious about when you are actually on location. The same goes for meeting people: don’t be afraid to talk to fellow travelers and locals, as long as you stay safe and don’t share too much upfront.
5. Take a break
Don’t forget to rest and get enough sleep on your travels. Stay inside for an afternoon and just chill with a good book or nap to recharge your batteries. Make sure you eat well, too. You want to have plenty of energy to get around and see everything you want to.
Solo travel is a great way to experience the world and get to know more about who you are and what you want out of life. Choose a destination that is safe for solo travel, especially if you are a woman, and enjoy the joys of getting to know a new place and culture.