These days I do most of my travel with my husband but I am so grateful for my solo travel experiences and solo travel is something I definitely want to continue to do occasionally in future. I think everyone should travel solo at least once and here’s why:
You can be selfish
Everyone whose ever argued with a travelling companion over how best to spend your precious vacation time will understand the appeal here. When you’re alone you don’t have to devote any time to things that don’t interest you or feel guilty for making your fellow travellers indulge your niche interests. Zak and I have pretty similar interests for the most part and are pretty willing to do things or go places for the other but there are some places where one of us could wile away several hours that the other couldn’t care less about. When you travel solo, you’re the only one you need to answer to or consider. If you’re feeling burnt out and just need to take a long sleep, you can!
It can help you blend in
One thing I noticed on my solo travels, was that many people mistook me for a local – even French people in France – and would ask for directions. Of course, when I began answering them in heavily accented French laced with grammatical errors, they realised their mistake. The feeling of being mistaken for a local and having your answers understood, though, is unbeatable. Also, aside from on the one occasion I had to carry a souvenir shop bag, I never felt worried about pickpockets. Wandering around by yourself not speaking in English to anyone prevents you from being an obvious target.
It will grow your confidence
Solo travel helped my confidence so much. Navigating situations outside your comfort zone or that could end badly with success will empower you and teach you that you can do things you never thought you could. At home or with a partner or friend, you might find yourself asking them for help. When you’re alone you have only yourself to rely on. You will realise that can be enough. I noticed I kept the confidence I gained from solo travel when I returned to the real world. Things I would previously worry about or think myself incapable of just didn’t seem like such a big deal anymore.
You will get lonely, and you’ll be okay
I’m not going to say you’ll never get lonely when travelling solo. I’m an incredibly independent person who is quite happy to spend most of my time alone, yet I have still experienced loneliness while solo travelling. Sometimes it kinda sucks when you’ve seen some beautiful thing and you can’t share that experience with someone. It’s harder when something stressful happens and you have to deal with it on your own and can’t even end the day by telling someone about it. However, you will get through all of these times and learn that they don’t outweigh all the amazing things you’re seeing and doing. You’ll see that it’s okay to get lonely occasionally. As these feelings lessen, you’ll learn how to be alone without being lonely.
You will learn the kindness of strangers
Solo travel can seem like a scary prospect at first, but the world is full of far more good people than bad. Solo travel demonstrates this to you in a way travelling with others can’t. When you’re alone people often act more helpfully towards you. Either because they see you as vulnerable or they see you in a tough situation, where nobody else can help you. Locals will let you know where to avoid and where to find wonderful hidden gems. There were several times where I found myself struggling to carry my large suitcase down flights of stairs and would promptly have it taken from me by someone who, no, was not a thief, but just a helpful stranger.
As long as you remember to always keep your wits about you and your intuition switched on, solo travel can open doors to some of the best local interactions you’ll ever have.
Do you enjoy travelling solo? What do you think is the best thing about it?