6 Reasons Why You Should Travel Alone at Least Once

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If you are reading this article, the odds are that you like to travel. Most everyone looks forward with great excitement to their next family vacation or girlfriends’ getaway. No doubt you enjoy discovering new places with friends, or revisiting the familiar haunts of summer holidays past. But if you’ve never experienced the thrill of of a solo sojourn, you are missing out on a life-changing travel adventure. Here’s why we like it so much:

1. It “un-complicates” the timing.

Anytime you plan a trip with anyone else, there are always complex logistical considerations to take into account before you can even decide when to go. Coordinating budgets and time off from school and work for any group of people can be daunting. If your  spouse can’t get time off when flights are affordable or your set of friends can’t afford to go anywhere right now, that trip to Tokyo you’ve been dreaming of may not happen. However, if you are willing to go on your own, the only schedule and budget you have to worry about is your own. As long as you can arrange for your share of childcare or home responsibilities to be covered in your absence (assuming you have these) you can set off on your adventure when it’s convenient for you. To make things fair, you can return the favor for your significant other, if you have one.

2. You can become more self-reliant.

When you vacation with others, you most likely share travel responsibilities with your companions. Perhaps you typically drive while your friend navigates. Maybe you always rely on someone else to look up the must-try restaurants in the area. When it’s just you, though, you obviously can’t do that anymore. You have to rely on yourself to figure out where to go and how to get there. If you get lost, you must decide whether or not to stop and ask directions. You have to hail the taxis or figure out the local public transport. Whatever you usually delegate is now your job, along with all the things you normally handle. You have to learn to rely on yourself or else risk spending your entire holiday too scared to leave your hotel room. Who wants to do that? As with any skill, self-reliance gets better with practice. Traveling solo is a crash course immersion in self-reliance, and you will likely notice an increase in this ability even after you return home. Becoming more self-reliant can also increase your self-confidence as you begin to learn that there isn’t much you can’t do on your own, even in another country where you don’t speak the language.

3. Learn about yourself.

Since you will be relying on yourself, traveling alone is also a great way to learn about yourself. With no one else to please, you may discover that you really enjoy a type of activity you would not have done with others around. For example, you may discover that you like to just wander a city and leisurely take in the scenery, whereas you usually would have spent your time frantically museum-hopping if you were traveling with your family. A spur-of-the-moment sample of local street food can lead to a lifelong love affair with Nutella crepes, that your regular travel companions never would have wanted to try. Also, when you don’t have anyone to talk to while experiencing all these new things, you will spend a lot more time listening to your inner voice. This voice, should you choose to listen intently, can teach you a lot about the way you think, the way you see the world, and what you really want out of life.

4. You can meet new people, if you want to.

Almost everyone craves human contact, and at some point on your one-person vacation you will probably feel an irresistible urge to talk to someone. Take a local walking tour, like those offered in London by London City Walks, and you are almost certain to meet like-minded solo travelers just as eager as you are to chat or enthuse about the local architecture. You might start a new friendship, or you may just enjoy a few minutes’ conversation with someone new. Your new acquaintances may also know about other things to do in town that might interest you.

Of course, you can still meet people when you aren’t traveling alone, but you may be less likely to talk to a stranger since you have your own built-in conversation partner. Day tours, organized excursions, and special museum exhibitions are great places to find other like-minded lone travelers. And, if you don’t feel like making small talk and just want to take in the sights, that’s your decision, too.

5. See what you want to see, when you want to see it.

It’s only fair that you make compromises when you travel with others. It’s their vacation, too, after all. So you end up spending a day shopping in luxury stores when you’d rather go to the beach, all because you got to choose the activities yesterday. If you’re traveling with your family, you can’t just go do your own thing every day. And if you’re with friends, it would be rude to refuse to do things together when it’s not your turn to choose the activity. When you travel alone, you get to decide what to do. Don’t care much about that military museum your husband would insist on visiting? Don’t waste your time with it.  Have you always wanted to sketch from a painting in a museum? Here’s your chance to grab paper and pencils and channel your inner artist. Spend all day hiking or windsurfing if you like. It’s acceptable to be selfish about your time on a solo vacation because there is no one else to consider. You also don’t have to worry about anyone else’s dining preferences when you travel alone. Skip a meal if you’re not hungry or try that exotic cuisine that your best friend won’t ever try with you. This is your chance to do things your way and feel zero guilt about it.

When you travel alone, you get to decide what to do. Don’t care much about that military museum your husband would insist on visiting? Don’t waste your time with it.  Have you always wanted to sketch from a painting in a museum? Here’s your chance to grab paper and pencils and channel your inner artist. Spend all day hiking or windsurfing if you like. It’s acceptable to be selfish about your time on a solo vacation because there is no one else to consider. You also don’t have to worry about anyone else’s dining preferences when you travel alone. Skip a meal if you’re not hungry or try that exotic cuisine that your best friend won’t ever try with you. This is your chance to do things your way and feel zero guilt about it.

6. You will create your own special memories.

Yes, you create memories on any vacation. But the memories from your solo adventures will be yours alone. You will be able to reminisce with fondness about the all the experiences you had on your trip. You’ll want to tell everyone about the fun you had, but it’s nice to own such a special memory that you don’t share with anyone, like a special secret that only you know. These remembrances will become part of a richer inner life, making you more well-rounded and maybe more interesting, since you may have learned about places and things that your inner circle is unacquainted with. And even if you someday return to the scene of your solo adventure with friends or family, there will always be a piece of that place that is yours alone. I guarantee that will make you smile. And I can also guarantee that you’ll always be looking for the next opportunity to escape somewhere (just for a little while) alone.

7 Comments

  • The Wandering Writer January 16, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Nice!!

    Reply
  • embracingthecliche January 16, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    I’ve just added this to my “30 to do before 30” list, so this was really interesting to read! 😊

    Reply
    • Kamie Berry January 16, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it. My next post (coming soon) will be about good locations to visit for your first solo trip abroad. Maybe you’ll find it helpful.

      Reply
      • embracingthecliche January 17, 2017 at 7:37 pm

        That sounds really interesting – looking forward to reading it!

        Reply
  • aletterfromlou January 16, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    Totally agree! Solo travel is life changing and the best way to do it!

    Reply
  • rgsuk January 17, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Thank you! This post really motivates me for my solo adventures 🙂

    Reply
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    […] Need inspiration for your dreams? Check out our article about traveling abroad on your own. […]

    Reply

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