If travelling solo is something you’ve been thinking of, why not plan your first trip in 2019. Make it your challenge for the year! To help you decide whether it’s right for you, here are 10 reasons why you should travel solo.
No doubt about it, solo travel means you’re completely dependent on yourself. There’s no one close with you to ask for advice or to reassure you of a decision you need to make. However, on the plus side you become more self-aware so every decision you do make is of greater importance to you. Travelling solo is a nice challenge – being somewhere unknown, navigating and seeking out places to go and things to see and do. You have to be clear on all the logistics of your trip and think about what to do if something doesn’t go to plan. It likely won’t if you do enough research beforehand, but you’ll be in complete control of everything. You’re free to explore until your heart’s content!
2. Discover new interests
Solo travel opens you up to more experiences and new interests. You’ll have more time to try new things that you may not have thought of doing, or hadn’t the time to do. During my first few solo trips, I began to realise how much more I enjoyed architecture.
I think it’s because I had time to really take in my surroundings, staring in awe at the likes of St Peter’s Basilica or Duomo in Florence. I’m sure once you start travelling solo, you’ll develop an interest further or maybe find a new one along the way!
3. Absorb more of your surroundings
When you’re alone, you naturally take in more of what’s going on around you and absorb more of your surroundings. This is one of the best things about solo travel. You can spend as much or as little time as you want in one place, taking it all in, without feeling rushed. There’s also less distractions as you’re not having conversations with friends or family, trying to keep anyone entertained or look after anyone else. Your mind will be more focused on your plans so you’ll have a better idea of what you want to get out of your trip.
4. Meet other solo travellers… and the locals
I’d say one of the cool things about being a solo traveller is that you tend to make more friends with other people travelling alone or mix with some of the locals.
“Doesn’t this defeat the object of travelling solo?”
No, it really doesn’t. You can opt to be on your own the majority of the time, but meet up with other when you want to. Doing so opens you up to other cultures, ideas and the opportunity to share experiences. You’re likely to have the same end goal and inspire each other with travel stories. You can choose to go out for meals, drinks or even on trips. If that’s a little daunting, you can choose to chat for a while and then part ways. It’s entirely up to you. I’ve met and made friends with quite a few people while travelling solo and I’m still in touch with some of them even now. Honestly, I doubt I would’ve met them at all if it wasn’t for the fact I was travelling on my own.
5. Get out of your comfort zone
Solo travel allows you to completely get out of your comfort zone. Even if you’ve been doing it for a while, there’s always something new to experience. You can try new things you’d never have done if you were with friends or aim to do something that tends to makes you feel uncomfortable like going alone to galleries, museums or on tours. For me it was hard to eat in a restaurant (one with a more formal setting) on my own. Since travelling solo I’ve attempted it quite a few times. It wasn’t easy at first, but now I’m a more comfortable doing so and don’t hesitate as much when it comes to dining out alone.
6. Your holiday, your way
Well, this one speaks for itself – you’re traveling alone so it’s your holiday your way! You can either plan in advance or do something last minute. There’s no one to check or consult with on where and when. You can spend all day in bed, in a museum, art gallery or lounge at the beach. Perhaps you want to climb a mountain or shop ‘til you drop. It’s entirely up to you and that’s the best part! Without the need to plan around anyone else, solo travel allows you to choose where, when and how you want to do anything and everything!
7. Learn a new language
Okay, so you may not be able to learn a language in its entirety and be completely fluent before you go – unless your trip is months and months away – but why not use the opportunity to learn a little bit of the lingo? Learning a few key words and phrases here and there will really help you out. Not only that, but a lot of people really do appreciate when you attempt even a few words in their native tongue. Seriously, it will make all the difference in helping you navigate your chosen destination and make you feel less alone and more at home!
8. Conquer any fears
Use your time alone to do things you wouldn’t necessarily do back home. Have you always wanted to learn how to swim, but don’t want your friends to know or perhaps you fancy trying out scuba diving? You could incorporate a few lessons when you’re travelling solo and work around a schedule that suits you. If you’re afraid of heights, why not use a solo travel trip to help you conquer that fear – walk across the Chain Bridge in Budapest or climb up a hill to an ancient ruin in Santorini. Whatever it may be, solo travel is the perfect time to attempt something away from prying eyes or friends niggling you about what you’re up to!
9. Time to unwind and catch up
I’m sure you can agree there are times in your day-to-day life when you barely get a chance to think let alone to do something laid back as you’re always on-the-go. Solo travel is a great way to take a bit of time out from everyday life. You can relax and unwind and be as lazy as you want. Chill with a book, draw a masterpiece or as I sometimes do, start writing a blog post! It may sound selfish, but everyone deserves a little time to unwind…alone.
10. A sense of achievement
Even if it’s your first time travelling solo or your second, third or sixth, you’ll always feel a sense of achievement when your trip comes to an end. It’s a great feeling knowing that you’ve done something without the help of others. If you enjoyed travelling solo, you’ll definitely want to do it again!
So, what do you have to lose except yourself in a new place and with a new set of experiences! It’s time to travel solo!