I often hear people say that they would love to travel but that they don’t have anyone to join them. Maybe you don’t have a partner. Maybe your friends can’t take leave at the same time as you. Maybe you just want to do something nobody else is currently in the mood for. Seriously guys – don’t let this keep you from exploring this world and doing your thing! Sure, it’s fun to share cool experiences with others. But there are a few pretty good reasons to go on a little solo adventure every now and again. If you always thought traveling by yourself wasn’t for you – read on!
You should also read on if you love traveling by yourself just to nod your approval all the way through the article 😀
1. You can do whatever you want
Obviously when traveling by yourself your plans are the only ones that matter. The more people you are traveling with the more different plans and agendas will flow into your itinerary and you’ll most likely have to compromise at some point. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and some people really chime in with each other as travel partners. But traveling by yourself is the only way you can experience complete and total freedom when it comes to planning your trip. Sit in a hot tub somewhere in a spa in the mountains for an entire foggy autumn afternoon? Yep. Fall asleep in the grass in front of the Kafka museum in Prague and wake up two hours later? Why not? Get your ear pierced spontaneously at a mall in Chicago? Hell, yeah.
2. No conflicts
Studies suggest that a large number of couples break up right after a holiday. And I totally get why. Spending 24 hours a day with someone else holds a lot of potential for conflicts. Even people who live in the same place back home usually don’t spend 24/7 together there. Same goes for close friends or family members: no matter how much we like someone we don’t seem to be made for living on top of each other the entire time. Your plans may clash at some point (see no. 1), you might simply need a couple of hours of quiet or your expectations might be very different. Traveling by yourself you’ll avoid this problem altogether and you’ll be happy to see your loved ones again back home.
3. More in-depth experiences
Sharing memorable moments with a travel partner can surely enhance our travel experience. But sometimes another person can also distract us from what’s going on around us. We can get so caught up in talking to that person we already know about things and people we already know that we miss out on some of the new impressions. Sometimes we only hear that street musician playing in the distance because we are not constantly talking to somebody. Sometimes we only discover that cute little restaurant because our friend who doesn’t like seafood / Greek food / tapas isn’t with us. You will automatically take in more new experiences when you can focus on them completely.
4. Traveling alone doesn’t mean being alone
When people think of traveling by themselves they often fear they’ll start feeling lonely. If spending the entire time by yourself is what you’re after you can totally do that. But there are always great ways to meet other people if you feel like it. I love going on tours to interesting places around my destination and there are always other travelers who are keen on meeting someone new. I have made many friends this way and was invited to places I would’ve never visited. And if you don’t feel like socializing anymore you can just go back to your hotel / airbnb / a quiet park and spend 5 hours reading a book. It’s completely up to you.
5. You’ll get to know yourself better
When you’re able to do whatever you want you’ll quickly discover what it actually is that you want. And you’ll probably not just realize that you love museums but hate boat cruises or that you prefer a cozy apartment over a noisy dorm. Traveling by yourself can actually teach you a lot about your own personality: do you prefer being by yourself or amongst people? What makes you happy and what excites you? What’s your own pace for doing things? Do you prefer quiet or crowded places? Incorporating these insights into your everyday life can enhance your long-term well-being.
6. You’ll overcome your fears
Now maybe you are simply scared of traveling by yourself. You’re afraid of running into unexpected problems with nobody there to help you. Let me tell you this: you can handle it! When I woke up one morning on the other side of the world with a super painful kidney inflammation and no knowledge about the healthcare system in this foreign country I started crying because my mum wasn’t there. Then I stopped crying, googled a medical center close by and dragged myself there via public transport. I filled out the paperwork for my travel insurance and was prescribed antibiotics. I went to the closest pharmacy to get them just to have my credit card denied there. And yet I lived to tell the tale. Now I might have scared you even more but what I’m trying to say is this: overcoming problems will help you grow as a person. If you’ve handled situations like this you’ll know that you can handle anything. Facing your own fears while traveling by yourself will help you grow into a strong and independent individual.
If you’d like to start traveling solo here are a few tips to get you started:
- Choose a destination you’re excited about and that feels safe. A country where you speak the language or where English is very common will be a good choice.
- Be sure to do your research before booking and talk to people who have already been there. This will minimize the chance of experiencing nasty surprises at your destination.
- Book your accommodation in advance as well as maybe some activities for the first couple of days. You’ll arrive more relaxed as you know these things are already taken care of.
- Get your info about public transportation, car rentals, ATMs etc. in advance. Take advantage of the fact that today we can pretty much find out everything about our destination from our comfort zone at home.
- Find out if you have or can get mobile internet abroad so you don’t have to rely on WiFi. Being able to quickly google something will make you feel a lot more relaxed in unexpected situations.
- Most importantly: have fun. Don’t worry too much and simply enjoy your freedom!
What are your tips for traveling by yourself?