For plenty of people, the mere thought of traveling by themselves, alone, causes severe anxiety. They can barely travel to a town two hours away. Traveling to a different state, or different country? Nah. Too scary.
For other folks, traveling internationally isn’t such a big deal. They jet off to Bali, Greece, Italy, or Brazil, without so much as a backward glance. Their friends and relatives stay home and are secretly jealous. How can their loved one do such a thing? Do they have money? Stamina? A natural go-for-it attitude?
No, they’ve discovered the joy of traveling solo.
It can be done by anyone no matter skin color, gender, age, health, whatever. It just depends on whether you believe the benefits outweigh the cons.
Why Do People Enjoy Solo Travel?
Ever had the annoying experience of waiting for your friend at the store, who will be “done in just a minute!” Then that minute takes another 10, 20, 60, and so on?
Frustrating isn’t it? Especially when it’s a quadrillion degrees outside, you’re hot and sweaty and just want to go have a glass of lemonade and put your feet up already!
But when you travel solo?
You don’t have to deal with any of that. If you want to go sit in the shade with lemonade, you can. If you want to skip today’s walking tour and sit in the hotel room, you can. Sweet, sweet bliss!
2. Easier to budget.
Especially for university students or young couples looking for a honeymoon, world travel can be especially tough. You have some money in your bank account, and think you can take that trip to Aspen if you live on protein bars and shakes for breakfast during it. Every cent counted for, every dollar with a plan.
Boom. Blown to smithereens the moment you get convinced to try that tourist trap restaurant, or this tourist trap attraction, or buy items at this tourist trap shop; or “dude, come on, we’ve gotta go with business class airline flights, I mean, this is the vacation of a lifetime….”
One of the better parts about traveling solo is that there is so much less of that. Sure, if you want to visit that gimmicky restaurant by that Food Network “star” and spend zillions for a subpar experience, you absolutely can. Is Pizza Hut in Italy? Go for it. But when you travel solo, you won’t have other people’s opinions about your money and how it should be spent clouding your judgment.
3. Quicker Lines.
Going along with #2 above, you can often get better discounts by going alone and skipping a good chunk of the waiting time. Plenty of places have group rates that may, or may not, be discounted depending on the number of people in your party. Four-hour lines can be cut in half if you use single ticket holder lines. This goes double for popular attractions; meaning you can get to what you want faster.
4. Meeting amazing people.
Yes, there’s safety in numbers. Yes, there are places that, as someone traveling alone, you should never go into, lest you have a death wish. Yet, on the whole, people find solo travelers much easier to approach. Locals will often tell you the best places to eat or explore when they hear you’re traveling by yourself. The whole “milk of human kindness” will flow in abundance, and restores your inner faith in humanity.
5. Inner tenacity.
Yeah, figuring out what to do when the metro you were supposed to take is on strike is frustrating. So the language barrier when you want to find out where the toilets are is frustrating. When you travel with others, there’s that tendency to rely on them to help you out or be the leader of the group. Comforting, yes.
When you’re alone, you make do. You mime what you want, or use Google Translate to pull up the word. You hitch up your backpack and walk the 3 miles or 5 kilometers. And in doing so, you learn more about yourself. You become more resourceful, therefore more able to rely on yourself. A pretty good thing to put on your resume!
Money concerns aside, if you were given the opportunity to travel abroad, by yourself, would you? Most people would be unable to. They’d be too afraid to even try it. They’re too old, or too frail, or too female, or their parents never did such a thing, or what would Great Auntie Mabel think?
Ignore Great Auntie Mabel. This is your life. You have opportunities and hopes that she never even dreamed of when she was your age. Travel solo, just once, even if a weekend trip to New York, or Paris. You won’t regret it.
What benefits have you discovered by traveling solo? Leave a comment!