12 Benefits of Traveling Solo
People keep postponing their travel dreams because they’re afraid of setting off on their own. They believe that by having a companion, they’ll have someone to count on if things don’t go according to plan.
The problem is that they don’t travel unless they find a partner, which sometimes takes forever. However, most of the fears related to solo travel tend to be unfounded. In actuality, traveling alone usually turns out to be the best decision. Yes, there are some drawbacks to traveling solo, but the benefits outweigh them by a large margin.
1. It’s Easier to Make Friends
When you’re on a trip and stay in a hostel, the dynamics in the common room tend to be quite clear. Groups and couples usually sit together and spend most of the time talking to each other. This behavior can sometimes lead to the members refraining from mingling with other people as solo travelers think they’re a tight-knit club.
However, if you’re traveling alone, meeting other people becomes a lot easier. In fact, it can actually be quite difficult to be alone when you’re traveling on your own as other travelers are constantly inviting you to different activities.
2. You Have Complete Freedom
If you’ve ever dreamed about having total control of your life with no one to answer to, then solo travel might be the perfect option for you. You’ll be in charge of the planning, which countries and cities you’ll visit, the type of accommodation, and the activities you really like.
So, for instance, it’s totally okay if midway through your trip you fall in love with a paradisiac island in Thailand and choose to stay there for another three weeks. It could also be that you get into yoga and decide to do a course to learn more about it. There won’t be anyone stopping you from pursuing your dreams.
3. It Can Be a Confidence Boost
It goes without saying that no trip is perfect. You’ll likely face several challenges along the way. However, every time you overcome each of these obstacles, you realize you’re a lot more capable and stronger than you gave yourself credit for.
It’s also the ideal of opportunity for shy people to reinvent themselves and understand most barriers are inside their head. So, after missing flights and jumping out of airplanes, you’ll feel you can beat pretty much anything. Instead of looking back and thinking these problems were a negative part of your trip, you’ll probably regard them as empowering memories.
4. You May Improve Your Language and Communication Skills
Although nowadays you can get by with English nearly everywhere in the world, being able to speak the local language is a major plus. However, if a group has a designated speaker, he or she will talk — or try to talk — with locals while the rest wait.
When you’re traveling by yourself, there won’t be anyone to speak on your behalf, so it’ll be down to you to communicate properly. If you already speak the basics of the local language, you’ll have the chance to practice and hopefully reach an intermediate level. On top of that, you’ll be more comfortable talking to strangers when you need some extra information.
5. It’s Potentially Cheaper
It’s a lot easier to control your budget when you’re the only one spending the money. Couples, groups, and families don’t benefit from this. So, if you’d like to save money, you can choose cheap accommodation, eat mainly street food, and take the long bus journey instead of the expensive one-hour flight.
When you’re traveling with a group, you feel compelled to follow them when everyone else decides to go out drinking or to an expensive burger joint. You’ll probably spend more money than you expected. More often than not, you may end up paying for things you didn’t even consume.
6. Don’t Need to Compromise
Imagine traveling with someone who wants to visit all museums and temples, but you’d rather go to the beach and enjoy the sun? You’d probably need to compromise and spend half of the trip doing activities you hated. To solve this, you’d either need a different partner or no partner at all.
However, you can be as selfish as you want when you’re traveling alone. In fact, you can literally just do the things you’d like for the entirety of the trip. Even if you eventually join a group of travelers, there’s nothing stopping you from leaving if they choose activities you don’t feel like participating in.
7. It’s a Great Way to Know Yourself Better
Most people believe they know themselves well. Generally, they’re right. However, their perceptions are based on the experiences they had at home where they’re most comfortable. When they explore the world alone, everything turns upside down.
They’ll be faced with new cultures, foods, religions, and landscapes. They’ll also meet people with different worldviews and try stuff they’ve never done before. It’s not uncommon for people to change jobs, college majors, or even partners when they realize they’ve turned into a new person.
8. Create Your Own Schedule
You know those days you just want to stay in bed, binge-watch your favorite series, and not even get dressed? Well, you can do just that on your travels, though your roommates might think it’s weird to see you in pajamas around midday.
There’s no need to feel guilty if you’re not in the mood to do anything or if you simply changed your mind and decided to do something else. When you’re traveling with another person, you might have a rough plan of what to see during the day and you might stick to it just so you don’t let them down.
9. Looks Great on Your CV
The era when people thought traveling was a waste of time and money is long gone. Nowadays, when you have to explain that the gap in your CV was a round-the-world trip, your potential employers will see a person with attitude, courage, and problem-solving skills.
International travel will also sharpen your cross-cultural understanding and make you an excellent team player. You’re probably able to work well under pressure. Plus, if you happen to speak one or two extra languages, you might become a unique asset to a company.
10. You’ll Pay More Attention to the Destination
When you’re traveling with your partner or a group, you’re more likely to spend time focusing on them instead of the things happening around you. So while you may have a great conversation on a train journey, you’re probably missing the amazing landscape just outside the window.
This can be even more severe if there’s an argument or pointless drama going on. You won’t be able to fully enjoy your exotic meal or the beautiful Buddhist temple when you’re worried if someone is upset or not. On the other hand, solo travelers tend to be fully immersed in the environment, paying attention to the sounds, sights, and tastes.
11. Forces You to Be More Responsible
If you’re embarking on a long-term trip just before going to college, chances are that you’re still inexperienced with the drudges of everyday life. The drudges of paying bills, cooking your own food every day, laundry, and budgeting.
When you start traveling on your own, all those menial but necessary chores will still need to be done — and it’s going to be up to you to stand up to the task. It’s the perfect crash course for “real life”.
12. Learning to Enjoy Your Own Company
One of the best realizations about traveling solo is the fact that being alone doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely. You’ll quickly learn to enjoy your own company and be comfortable focusing on the present moment.
You’ll also understand that you don’t need to rely on others to accomplish the things you’d like for yourself — which is a powerful tool. So, instead of worrying about having dinner on your own, you may spend time people-watching, practicing the local language with the server, or just thoroughly enjoying your meal.