Thinking of travelling solo? You’re making a great decision! Solo travel is becoming more popular with each passing year, perhaps because travel is now more accessible than ever, or perhaps because, in this tech-driven world, solo trips no longer isolate travellers by inhibiting them from connecting with friends and family back home.
Despite this, many are still intimidated by the idea of travelling alone, afraid they might become bored and lonely, or convinced they are incapable of handling themselves in unfamiliar situations. Whatever your reason for putting off solo travel, we’re confident we have an abundance of counter reasons why you should take the plunge and book your first solo trip today. Here are our top 5:
You’ll meet more people:
It might sound crazy, but it’s absolutely true! Every time I travel solo I stay in dorm rooms at hostels, take group day tours, and do everything I can to connect with other travellers, many of whom are also alone and searching for a friendly face to break the tedium of long, lonely days. Solo travellers, in my experience, put themselves out there a little more in order to make some like-minded friends who are eager to bond over their shared experience of independent travel. When I travel in pairs or groups, on the other hand, it’s much more common for me to turn inward, relying on my own party for conversation and making relatively few friends as a consequence. Solo travel, therefore, is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and meet other individuals who are going through the same experience as you are.
You can tailor your trip to fit you perfectly:
Even if you travel with a very close friend, partner, or family member, you’ll realise extremely quickly that you’re going to disagree about certain aspects of your trip. Sometimes these disagreements are helpful, strengthening bonds through the art of compromise and pushing you to experience something new that, against all expectation, turned out to be one of your most valued memories. Other times, however, they cause disputes that result in a bucket-list activity being pushed to the gutter to make room for something else. Even if you and your travel partner have arranged to participate in separate activities and meet up afterwards, there are always going to be moments in which compromise is necessary, and in which you need to travel according to someone else’s timeline. Although the art of compromise is an important and necessary one to learn, solo travel is a great way to plan the ultimate itinerary.
You love this park and want to spend a little longer there? No problem!
You’re not as hungry as you anticipated and think you’ll push lunch back another hour? Too easy!
That train ticket’s a little expensive, why not walk instead? Let me just check with myself … I say it’s okay!
You can spend some quality time with yourself:
As great as solo travel can be for meeting new people, it also presents a perfect opportunity to check in with yourself and quietly reflect on your own travels, whilst developing your newfound confidence and independence. Just taking a moment alone with your own thoughts can entirely change your perspective of a certain monument or event, an experience that can then solidify into a profound memory that is free from other’s biases and opinions. It’s always important to think about the purposes behind your travels and what you’re ultimately hoping to achieve, be it new friends, new language or cooking skills, or a greater sense of human diversity and culture, and solo travel is one of the best ways to put yourself in touch with your own goals and to find the focus to achieve them.
It’s easier to stay within budget:
Just as solo trips simplify itineraries, so they often ease the financial side of travel. After all, even if people share finances and earn similar amounts of money, no two travellers are going to have exactly the same opinion regarding basic travel expenses such as accommodation and food. This can again cause minor rifts to appear between travel partners, and can even result in one or more members of the group exceeding the budget they set for themselves. Because solo travel places you entirely in control of what you see and where you stay and eat, it’s the easiest way to stick to your budget and to avoid the unforeseen expenses that often put people off the idea of travel in the first place.
You’ll gain some practical life skills that will come in handy in the future:
No matter where or how you travel, adjusting to new cultures, new languages, and new people is always going to present a challenge that will ultimately help you with your confidence and communication skills. However, there’s nothing quite like being able to tell people that you and you alone designed your trip from the bottom up, kept yourself safe whilst navigating unfamiliar territory, and managed to stay within budget despite the allure of new activities and the confusion of foreign currencies. This realisation not only fosters a more profound sense of your own capabilities, but is the kind of thing that can look great on resumes. Self-managed travel shows independence, confidence, flexibility, adaptability, resilience, autonomy, responsibility, apt research and problem-solving skills, a willingness to learn new skills and to challenge yourself, and an interest in the global world. Of course group travel is also a great indication of many of these skills, but solo travel is the perfect way to prove to yourself that you’re capable of taking control of a large-scale project without retreating into the shadows of your partners.
Whatever’s holding you back, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and give solo travel a go. From lengthy trips abroad to weekend getaways, individual travel is an experience that brims with benefits and that must be tried at least once. Endorsed by innumerable travellers around the globe and offering a unique, unforgettable perspective of the world, we recommend grabbing your Scrubba wash bag, strapping on your pack, and taking the plunge. You won’t regret it!