Although it’s great to spend vacations seeing the world with family, friends, or a lover, traveling alone can also be completely incredible. A solo adventure has the potential to be life-changing. Here are 12 reasons you should travel alone at least once.
1. You Will Become Empowered
When you realize just how resourceful you can be when you have nobody else with you, it’s empowering. As you discover tricks to successfully navigate through unfamiliar territory and learn how to have a great time without the company of others, your confidence soars. Learning how self-sufficient you are can give you the boost of inspiration and motivation needed to do amazing things in other areas of your life.
2. You Will Cure Your Travel Bug
If you’ve had a case of the travel bug, you know it can strike any time, and the only way to cure it is to succumb to it and travel. You know the feeling when you get it…you absolutely crave to get out and discover new places. When you’re consumed by wanderlust, you can easily argue against more “rational” purchases such as new furniture, in favor of funding your next adventure. When you travel alone, you can cure your travel bug as soon as you’re afflicted; you don’t have to wait for others to clear their work schedules and book flights. If the travel bug strikes and you’re prepared to go alone, you can leave whenever it’s convenient for you.
3. You’ll Learn To Thrive Outside Your Comfort Zone
Traveling leads us to unfamiliar places and situations. When you travel, there’s the feeling of being out of your comfort zone, and when you’re traveling solo, that feeling is completely intensified. A solo trip will expose you to a lot of new experiences outside your comfort zone. You may surprise yourself by not just surviving, but thriving outside your comfort zone. Spending time outside your comfort zone is essential for growth.
4. You Will Learn To Be Decisive
When traveling with a partner or a group, every idea can be bounced off someone else. When you travel alone, you will learn to be decisive; you will be making every decision alone. From where to eat, to what time to wake up, to what sights to see, and which airline to use, traveling solo forces you to rely on yours truly. As you realize you can make good choices without help from others, you will likely trust your instincts more, and this new found self-assurance and confidence will be helpful in many areas of your life.
5. You Recharge
Traveling alone will allow you to get the rest and relaxation you desire. When you travel solo, you don’t have to worry about anybody snoring or hogging the blankets. You don’t need to set your alarm if you don’t want to; there are no early breakfast dates with family and friends. Taking time to nurture your mind, body, and spirit in the ways you recharge best can replenish and inspire you.
6. You Light Your Fire
A trip alone can ignite your creativity. Spending time alone with an open mind can be exactly what you need for your imagination to soar. Your enthusiasm and passion for life may sky-rocket from your awesome adventure.
7. You Will Meet New People
If you enjoy meeting new friends, here’s your chance; you will likely find some when traveling alone. Since you won’t be focused on talking to anyone you know, you’ll be more likely to strike up conversations with strangers. Meeting people from different backgrounds opens our minds, expands our world, and can inspire us a lot. You may meet some amazing locals or other adventurers like yourself; either way you’re bound to make some new friends during your journey.
8. You Discover
Along with discovering the awesomeness of this great big world, traveling solo will give you ample time for self-discovery. When you’re alone, you can give yourself time for reflection, and can really think about what your purpose, priorities, and passions are. Being away from everyone who knows you can be a strange feeling. When it’s just you, you can get rid of any act you put on for others, and you can bare your soul. You and your naked soul can then figure out what really matters to you in life.
9. You Increase Your Compassion
Traveling alone, with no distractions, will enable you to really see the world around you and make you realize what you take for granted. First hand experience in another area of the country or world will open your eyes to the disparities between groups of people. Along with increasing your compassion for others, your self-compassion may also improve. When you’re alone, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been passed up repetitively for promotions at work, or if you’re struggling with something in your personal life. When you’re surrounded by strangers, nobody judges you for your perceived “failures,” because they only know what you want to tell them. Being alone gives you opportunities to work on being kind to yourself and practice self-acceptance. Instead of being constantly reminded of your “shortcomings”, you can remember why you’re wonderful and deserve to be loved.
10. You Can Do Anything You Want To
When you travel alone, you don’t need to spend time doing anything you don’t want to do. Since it’s just you, you can choose everything. You can decide how scheduled or unscheduled you want your trip to be, visit sites you’ve always longed to see but your family and friends haven’t, and set the pace as fast or slow as you desire. You can be as adventurous as you crave to. You can choose to hang out at the main tourist spots or go completely off the beaten path. This world is your playground, and the way you enjoy it is all up to you!
11. You Will Learn to Enjoy Being Alone…
You just may learn that you are damn good company!
12. …Yet Miss the One You Love
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Spending time apart from your significant other occasionally can rejuvenate your relationship. When couples allow themselves the freedom to pursue their own dreams and nurture their separate interests at times, they are less likely to feel smothered by the relationship. By spending some time exploring the world on your own, you will hopefully be reminded of why you love your significant other, and will have amazing stories to share when you reconnect.
I love to travel; my travels have been some of the best times of my life. I’ve journeyed away from home alone twice (for 10 weeks and 5 weeks) and have met awesome friends I still keep in touch with years later. I learned about myself, my priorities, and my dreams, by taking time to reflect while traveling solo. Both times, I came home completely refreshed and more excited about life than ever.
Traveling alone can help you realize how strong and capable you are. As with any other adventure, it’s important to do your research and travel safely. Beyond that, pack your bag and go explore! The world is waiting!
Tips to Successfully Travel Alone:
- Do your homework. Research which areas are generally safe for solo travelers, and which areas to avoid.
- Whenever possible, explore in the daylight.
- Tell someone from home where you’re going to be each day. Check in with loved ones at predetermined times.
- Trust your instincts.
- Dress to avoid standing out. Now’s not the time for you to be showy. You don’t want everyone to know you’re by yourself.
- Book your lodging for your arrival night in advance.
- Update your list of important phone numbers and carry your phone with you.
- Before traveling to a foreign country, visit a travel medicine physician to receive education and recommended medications specific for your intended destination.
- Look at the weather forecast. Don’t make the mistake I did and pack a ton of cold weather gear when you’re visiting a region having record highs.
- Record your thoughts and experiences.
Featured photo credit: Nirvana/ePi.Longo via flickr.com