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Many people think about solo, but they’re often too scared to put it into action. There may be some things that are scary and off-putting about it, especially if you’re extroverted. But have you ever thought about the benefits of travelling alone?
When people start the discussion about solo travel they often split into two groups:
- Those who love exploring the world on their own
- Those who find it too scary to do so
However, it’s like anything. If you do enough research and you can see the advantages, why wouldn’t you do it? Not only are their health benefits like causing you less stress and being able to relax when and where you want. You’ll also notice the growth and life experience you can gain from it too.
As a person who has spent more time travelling solo than with others, there are certainly some things I’ve learned along the way. That’s what I want to share with you. I want to show you the positive reasons you should take the plunge into the world of solo travel.
You step out of your comfort zone
Your comfort zone is the place you feel safe and comfortable. So when you’re travelling alone you step out of that zone and challenge yourself which is one of the greatest benefits. When you stay in comfort and never step out of it, you don’t give yourself the chance to grow as a person.
That’s why taking risks and doing things that might normally make you anxious is actually a good thing. You’re giving yourself an opportunity to learn, grow and be the best you can be. If you didn’t travel on your own you might never experience the things that you realise you now love. Would you really try a skydive when you’re in a normal everyday routine at home?
We talk about this more in Gap year advantages: 12 reasons why you should go
You become more independent
Solo travel is something independent people do. When you are alone in an unfamiliar place, you don’t have anyone else to rely on. This means that as you move through your travel journey you have to find solutions and solve problems by yourself. This naturally shows you how capable you actually are.
If you never take the risk to try travelling alone you’ll never reap the benefits of this newfound confidence. When you realise your independence you understand how many other things you could do that you’ve probably been too nervous to try.
Being independent during a travel journey means you are not afraid to experience new things regardless of being alone and can still make the most out of your trip.
Easier to meet other travellers
Let’s say you’re in your hostel and you want to be social. When you’re travelling alone you can only be sociable when you put in the effort to meet new people. This means you have no choice but to put yourself out there, which can be daunting.
When you travel with other people it can often keep you in this little bubble where you’re less likely to want or need to meet anyone else. So when you don’t have others to keep you company you’ll probably want to go looking for some.
Plus, if you’re travelling in a group it can be a lot more intimidating to new individuals when an entire group comes over to them, as opposed to just saying hi as one person.
Easier to meet locals
One of the best things about travelling is meeting the locals in your travel destinations. I’ve had a local family invite me for dinner in Cambodia, as well as being shown the best places to party in the USA. Locals generally love showing visitors around and would love to show you the best places to visit in their hometown.
If you happen to be travelling in a large group it can be much harder to meet locals in the same capacity as other travellers. When you can have a one-on-one conversation with someone it’s a lot easier to build a connection compared to speaking amongst a large group.
Experience total freedom
When travelling alone, one of the biggest benefits is not having to make sacrifices or compromises with anyone. This means that your itinerary is exactly that, your itinerary. There will be no one dismissing the things you want to see and do, and you can do it all at your own pace.
When you’re a solo traveller you get to experience your own version of freedom. If you want to sleep in all day one day, you can. If you decide you’d like to hike for 15 hours in time for sunrise, there’s nobody to stop you. When you get over the initial fear of taking on this journey alone you’ll start to notice just how freeing it really is.
It’s not often you get to do everything your way without taking others’ travel plans into consideration. You should make the most of it.
You don’t have to feel guilty about resting
Travelling for a long time or on a packed itinerary can be exhausting. This is because you are likely to be doing things non-stop trying to make the most of your trip. When you travel by yourself you can unapologetically take rests whenever you like and don’t need to feel guilty about it.
When you’re on a trip with another person, this can cause issues if one person wants to rest while the other doesn’t. It can cause tension if you’re not on the same wavelength and really comes down to whether two people are compatible as travel companions. When you’re going on trips solo you don’t need to worry about this one bit.
You create a better relationship with yourself
When you only have yourself as company you can really learn about your likes and dislikes. When you really take the time to give yourself some TLC and self-love, you can build a much better relationship with yourself.
Whether you take this time alone to find a new hobby, visit some places you’d never previously considered or just become more open-minded, you can do so while travelling alone.
You’ll get better at speaking a foreign language
When you are in a destination with a different language and you have nobody to rely on to communicate for you, you have no choice but to try it yourself. Even if you are only on a short trip, you can easily pick up more phrases when travelling solo vs travelling with others.
This is because you will be less busy talking to your hypothetical travel partner and instead able to hear the locals talking around you. Even if it just starts off with short words and phrases, you will be able to pick up a lot more while on your own than you could when in a group.
This is especially useful if you are trying to learn the language in question and is actually one of the quickest ways to learn a language fluently. Just dive right in, and if you need extra help, try a language app like DuoLingo.
You’ll appreciate your loved ones more
It’s true what they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. This doesn’t just mean romantic relationships. When you are travelling on your own you will notice and miss who isn’t with you. Although you’ll miss people more when you’re away for a long period of time, you can miss people even on a short trip too.
Being away from family or friends allows you to notice their absence but it will also give you a bigger appreciation for them. When you reconnect at the end of your trip or via video calls and texts, you’ll have more to speak to them about since you’re each not there to experience what the other is doing.
These conversations, even about basic activities you wouldn’t give much thought to, can actually strengthen your connection as you catch up and can help lessen homesickness.
You’ll be more aware of your surroundings
As we spoke about safety in our post about the cons of solo travel, you’ll be more aware of your surroundings as a solo traveller due to needing to keep yourself safe but this benefits you in other ways too! When you are hyper-aware of your surroundings not only are you able to protect yourself in unfamiliar surroundings but you will also notice and remember a lot more about the things you see on your trip.
When you’re alone you will naturally spot things in your environment that you might not notice when with others. This is because you are less distracted by talking to friends so are able to fully immerse yourself in the local environment. This allows you to notice the beauty in a lot more things than you’d probably expect.
You do things you normally wouldn’t
We already briefly spoke about it above, but when you’re in an everyday routine at home, humans tend to do lots of ordinary things. When you get out of that routine it’s much easier to go against the grain and do completely different activities. This could be anything from trying local cuisine to attempting some adventure sports.
When you’re already outside of your comfort zone by going on an adventure alone, you’re also in the mind frame of doing something different. If you’re brave enough to explore the other side of the world then why would you not be brave enough to try a bungee jump or white river rafting for example? Don’t just dip your toes in, dive in head first!
Can be cost-effective in some ways
Although we’ve spoken about how accommodation can be more expensive for solo travellers, in my disadvantages of solo travel post, it can actually be cost-effective in other ways. If you’re planning on travelling for a long time like on a working holiday visa or an amazing gap year, then it’s often cheaper to travel as one person.
This is because you will be paying for just one set of everything as opposed to two or more of everything. Plus, when travelling alone, your wallet benefits more because you can stick to your own desired budget much easier than trying to keep up with someone with a completely different budget in mind.
You become more open-minded
When you travel on your own you naturally become more open-minded. This is because you’re not travelling with others who may accidentally influence you. When you hang out with friends, it’s normal to mirror those you associate with. This means you may be accidentally closed-minded if any of your friends are.
When you begin travelling alone you start to ignore other people’s influences since they’re not around and you see the world completely through your own eyes. Travelling alone gives you an opportunity to really see the world and create your own opinions without any outside influence.
Final thoughts on the benefits of travelling alone
If this extensive list hasn’t convinced you why you should travel alone, maybe this list of inspiring, solo travel quotes will.
As you’ve just learned, there are plenty of advantages to exploring the world as a solo traveller & I highly recommend that everybody tries it at least once in their life.
Are there any other benefits you can think of?