Whilst I’m by no means a regular solo traveller, I have done a bit of it in my time. My first big overseas trip at 20 included 3 months of solo travel around Europe before settling in to study in Amsterdam, and I’ve done plenty more of it over the years. I think there are some real benefits of solo travel, so I thought I’d share my favourites today. I’d love to hear your thoughts too!
Get out of your comfort zone
A lot of people avoid travelling solo because the idea of it makes them uncomfortable, but that’s also one of the key benefits of solo travel. Travel in general can get you out of your comfort zone, but solo travel amps that to another level. It might challenge you, and in particular challenge your patience and resilience, but in the long run that’s an excellent thing.
Choose your own adventure
One of my favourite things about exploring places on my own is that I have complete control over my adventures. If I want to spend all day wandering through a neighbourhood, or five hours at the same museum I can do just that. You don’t have to factor in anyone else’s to-do list, which means you can be completely selfish, in the best kind of way!
This also extends of course to the destinations you visit. You can choose which places to visit, how long to spend in them, and what forms of transport to use between locations to suit just your own needs.
Go at your own pace
I’m very much a morning person, so I like to get up and start exploring pretty early when I’m on holidays. That doesn’t suit everyone, but when I’m travelling solo I get to pick the pace and timing of my days. That also means that if I want to spend a few hours sitting in a park with a picnic and a book I can do that too!
Control your budget
Whilst some things might be more expensive when travelling solo because you can’t split bills, you also have control over your own budget. That reduces the risk of different expectations around accommodation, and also means you won’t be paying for activities you’re only doing because other people want to. Your food bill is also in your hands – be that trips to markets or meals at fancy restaurants.
Learn to rely on yourself
One of the biggest benefits of solo travel I have experienced is learning to rely on myself, and trust myself to figure things out. There’s always decisions to be made and sometimes issues to be resolved when travelling in new places, and when you’re on your own, well, you’re on your own to figure them out! Being able to solve problems, make endless decisions and deal with any challenges that arise gives your confidence a boost and is a life skill that will be useful when you’re back home as well.
Enjoy your own company
Unless you can learn to enjoy your own company then you probably won’t enjoy solo travel! You certainly get a lot of ‘me time’ so leaning in to that and finding the positives are excellent side effects of solo travel. Learning not to rely on other people for your entertainment is such a good skill to develop, and bringing that home with you is also a great idea.
Get to know yourself better
One of the other key benefits of solo travel is getting to know yourself better. When there’s no one else around to influence your decision making you can really dig deeper in to what it is you enjoy and what is important to you. It could be as simple as discovering that whilst you love history you’re less enthused by museums and prefer exploring historical towns. Or maybe you’ll discover you have a knack for picking up languages or making friends with locals. Not to mention discovering just how resilient and strong you can be when you need to be.