There are many solo travel benefits
Once upon a time when I was a young 24 year old, I decided to quit my job and travel to the UK on a working holiday alone. Inexperienced, curious, scared and nervous I stepped off a plane in London with no friends, family, work or accommodation. I wondered what I had done! It was my first time somewhere completely on my own and I didn’t know what to expect or do. The first couple of weeks I felt like hopping on a plane home, but then I found a job, somewhere to live and a work mate asked me to go for Friday night drinks! I suddenly realised solo travel wasn’t so scary after all! In fact, I discovered solo travel has a number of benefits. If you are considering solo travel but are not sure about it, then I share with you my solo travel benefits and tips for your first trip alone.
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Why Travel Alone?
Travelling with family or friends is something many of us have done, but now, you have chosen to travel solo. I believe, there are many benefits to solo travel. Here’s what I believe the are!
Solo Travel Means Freedom
First of all, travelling solo means freedom. Freedom to do what you want, when you want. You can decide if you want to sleep in or walk all day discovering a new city. Or perhaps you want to sit in a cafe and watch the ‘people traffic’ pass by! Maybe grab your backpack and hike that mountain or visit every museum in town! It’s totally up to you to decide what you want to do. Enjoy your new found freedom from worrying about time constraints – because there are none now!
Solo Travel Improves your Self Confidence
If you are a shy person the thought of travelling on your own can be daunting. Trust me, I speak from experience. I am a shy person but travelling solo has given me a lot of self confidence. This is because it is just me, I have no-one else to rely on and if I want something, like a cup of coffee or a bus ticket I have to overcome my shyness and go up and talk to strangers. I can say, I don’t think about it anymore, I just do it. This little introvert, is still an introvert, but I have the self confidence to stand up for myself and get what I want and need as a solo traveller.
Solo Travel Makes You More Social
Don’t get me wrong, I am very comfortable in my own company however, sometimes I find solo travel lonely. But I don’t let myself stay lonely for long. Solo travel can really push you out of your comfort zone. I actually find when I travel solo I go out of my way to socialise with other people. I like meeting new people and am very happy to start up a conversation with someone. And I actually realised that when I travel with another person I am less likely to strike up a conversation with someone new, this is because I spend my time with the person I am travelling with. So I prefer to travel solo because it makes me more social – when I want to be that is! So as I said, I don’t let myself be lonely, unless I want to be.
You’ll Become More Self-Sufficient
Having to do everything for yourself makes you more self-sufficient. I surprised myself at how self-sufficient I was when I first started travelling solo. And the more I travel the more self-sufficient I become. This is mainly due to mistakes I have made along the way. But making mistakes has taught me many life lessons.
You will become a Great Problem-solver and Decision-maker
Where to next? – One of the decision a solo traveller needs to make
When you travel solo you will be confronted with choices and problems. If you have trouble making decisions, well solo travel will mean you will have to choose from all the choices you are offered. I mean, where will you go next? Where will you eat tonight? What do you want to do tomorrow? You will need to make decisions on all these things. And if you hit a problem, like the train you were catching has been cancelled, you will need to resolve the problem. With no-one to rely on, you will become a great problem-solver and decision-maker of your own travelling solo life. Both great skills to have.
You Will Learn A Lot About Yourself
Travelling solo makes you confront a lot of things. Being on your own, particularly in an unknown place means you are spending a lot of time with yourself, discovering yourself. I have discovered, confronted and accepted a number of my personality traits that I never realised were an issue. I believe learning about myself has made me a happier person, and I thank solo travel for that.
You can Spend your Travel Budget However You Please
I think we have all been there. Travelling with family or friends and everyone wants to spend their money differently. Some want to travel cheaply while others want to splurge. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this, I’m partial to staying in a swanky hotel now and then but I don’t want to be pressured into it because this is what everyone else is doing. When travelling solo I am in charge of my travel budget. I know what I can afford and how much I want to spend on something. No pressure to do what others are doing.
Tips for the First Solo Trip Abroad
Travelling solo is a great experience, here are a few tips for your first trip alone:
- Stay at a hostel – hostel’s are full of travellers, many travelling solo just like you. They are great places to meet other people – if you want.
- If you don’t want to explore on your own, book onto a local tour. I often book day trips through GetYourGuide.
- For your first trip you may want to book onto a tour of which there are pros and cons. For my first trip through Europe I booked onto a Contiki Tour which had mostly solo travellers on it. This gave me the confidence to re-visit many of the place on the tour by myself. I did a number of weekend trips to major European cities while on my UK Working Holiday. Then I bought a Eurail Pass and travelled solo through Europe training it to different cities.
- Learn a few words of the local language so you can communicate with the locals easier.
- Be confident, smile and don’t be afraid to look up from that book you are reading or from staring out of the window and say hello to an unknown person.
Now Go Forth on Your Solo Travels
Travelling alone doesn’t always suit everyone. However, you cannot determine if it doesn’t suit you if you don’t try it first. So step out of your comfort zone, overcome your fears and begin the adventure of solo travelling! I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog post about solo travel benefits along with my tips. I’d love to hear your solo trip experiences in the comments following.