Traveling solo for the first time was a scary and changing experience for me. You just explore parts of you that you did not even know existed. This is something that will deeply change you in ways that you can’t imagine. We are lucky to live in era where one can easily cross the borders and travel to the other side of the planet. Unfortunately, one of the biggest obstacles besides money is to find people who are available at the same time as you are to travel together. And you might hence postpone or cancel your plans to go to that destination you’ve been dreaming about. So I wanted to give you 7 reasons why you should consider traveling solo.
1. To take time for yourself
Indeed, traveling solo will allow you to finally take time for yourself. You probably have a busy life and try to find a balance between your job, friends and family. Why don’t you think about yourself for once? Take a couple of days off and give yourself a break from your daily hectic life. According to your personality and what you are expecting from this travel, you could choose to go to the sun, the mountain or even the forest why not! I personally enjoy having a mix between lazy days on a hammock or at the beach and trekking in the nature or biking for instance. That is why i love going to places that offer a variety of landscapes and activities.
If you are someone who needs peace right now, going on a meditation retreat could be a good idea. You will be with other people in the same situation, find ways to deal with stress and will be guided through it by a mentor who is going to assist you during your stay. I let you do your research. That is on my list too because I believe one sometimes needs to extract himself from the world to come back stronger and wiser.
2. To do what you want how you want
I am sure you can recall on one or two family/friends trips where some of you did not want to do the same activities as the other ones. Then, it was really hard to find something that suited everybody without creating an argument. Well, the good thing about traveling solo is that the only person you need to satisfy is you. So you will have all the freedom to choose your trip according to your own interests. Maybe you always wanted to try a yoga class or rock climbing. Now is the time to do what thrills you without fearing to disappoint anyone. This trip is about YOU and you only. After having experienced this kind of freedom, once you come back home, you’ll be more assertive on what you like or dislike.
3. To build self confidence
If this is something you have always been struggling with, trust me traveling solo is going to help tremendously. It is often in situation where you don’t have any other choice and can’t hide anymore that you’ll discover who you truly are. You will, of course, have to be alert and decide everything on yourself without the possibility to rely on someone else to build your itinerary for example. I understand that this is going to be a huge step for you but if your willingness to grow is stronger than your prejudice, then you will not regret having taken this leap of faith.
4. To get a new perspective on life
You might just need some fresh air and a new atmosphere to move to the next step in your life. Traveling solo will give you the necessary time to put things into perspective. I recommend you to bring a journal or notebook with you to write down all the new ideas that you will have. Choose a destination that inspires you, the one that have been secretly dreaming about. Also, seeing how other people live and deal with their problems is an eye-opening experience. You will then realize that everything is not that bad after all and that you already have so many things in your current life to be thankful for.
5. To practice another language
Something I love about traveling is being able to practice my English and learn local words. So many emotions are displayed throughout the language. I therefore learn some vocabulary before going to a foreign country also to be able to order food or ask my way if needed. I always find locals who are delighted to help out and teach you some words. Being curious about the language will help you bond more easily with people. If you have been thinking about taking a French, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish class etc. there is no better way to improve in a short amount of time than traveling to those countries and learn directly from there.
6. To meet other solo travelers
The beauty about traveling solo is that you are never really alone unless you are really seeking for some alone time. Nowadays, they are so many communities from solo female travelers, to backpackers, to French/English/American/whatever nationality of travelers or expats. So if you do a little bit of research in advance, you will be able to discuss and eventually arrange meetings with those people once you are there. Or, if you are more spontaneous, just book a hostel or a tour of the city because you will always end up in a group of individuals sharing the same interests. You’ll never know the kind of bonds and friendships that will arise from these coincidental encounters.
Therefore, it is completely okay to buy your ticket on your own and then meet people once you’ve reached your destination. It will be even easier if you are naturally someone social. You’ll see that people who are out of their comfort zone are much more open-minded and talkative than usual. Indeed, there are so many ways for you to get social: in the train, at the airport, on the street, at a restaurant terrace, in your hotel, on a social media group and so on. So book it and think later!
7. To overcome your fears
This is also linked to building your self confidence. You are maybe afraid of not being smart, good enough to do such a thing. You are scared of not being able to mingle and truly enjoy this experience. Traveling solo enables you to face your fears and doubts. As said, you are not the first solo traveler and will not be the last. You also don’t have to start by going 1,000 Miles away. You could first travel in your own country which I am sure has beautiful and underrated places to discover.
A great way to overcome your fears is to come prepared. Your first solo trip should not be improvised. Take the weeks or months you need to do your homework on the “dos and don’ts” of the destination you are going to. Buy a pocket dictionary to have the helpful daily words, make sure your sim card works abroad so that your family will still be able to reach you, prepare an itinerary and leave some flexibility out, learn about the areas that you should avoid and the ones that are more touristic.
In the end traveling (solo or not) is addictive. Once you get a taste of it, you will never be the same. I wish you a great trip, be safe but most importantly enjoy!