I have always loved traveling but didn’t always have the opportunity. There was always a reason that kept be from booking a trip and flying off, whether it was grad school, finances, or just not having the company to travel with.
In my late 20’s, I started thinking about taking a solo trip because I was tired of waiting for an opportunity or the company to travel with. But I never took it seriously because I was self conscious and didn’t have the self-confidence to do it. To be honest, I was a little scared of taking on the challenge. Could I do it? Do people really travel on their own? What if I get lost? Does it seem a little pathetic?
Little did I know that solo traveling would lead to some of my greatest adventures!
Below are my top 5 best reasons on why you should plan a solo trip and how you can!
1. Become more confident and independent.
- I’ve always been independent but when you travel alone, you’re really depending on yourself to plan out your trip, where you stay, what to eat, etc. You’ll be surprised how comfortable you get with being by yourself and figuring things out. I could never imagine going out to eat by myself if I’m in the states, but after my solo travels, I am independent enough to not only go eat on my own but do just about anything on my own. And feel good doing it!
- One question I’ve been asked is “Is it safe to go by yourself?”. This involves a little bit of maturity and a lot of common sense. If you’re hanging out at the bar all night, drinking, being careless, and walking home alone at 4pm, it’s obviously not safe. Same rules apply in a foreign country. You’ll be surprised at how safe other countries are in comparison to the US. I’ve solo traveled to most of the South American countries, and not once did I feel threatened or unsafe. You’ll also get comfortable reading maps, so getting lost will not be an issue. It’s crazy to think, but you’ll start to enjoy getting lost and finding your way around. You never know what treasures you’ll come across in your adventure!
- You start to feel confident after knowing you can be independent. It goes hand in hand. If plans don’t go as expected, then your confidence will kick in and you’ll know that things will be ok. I like to call these unexpected events “plot twists!”.
2. Time to reflect and appreciate “the now”.
- Obviously, you’re traveling alone. So for those few days, you get to spend a lot of time to yourself which gives you time to reflect on life, goals, and challenges that you may be facing. I’ve usually taken this time to appreciate “the now” and with a more “gratitude is the attitude” approach. It’s peaceful and absolutely necessary. This is your time to have personal growth. You gain so much clarity and a new-found appreciation for the time you have for yourself.
- Take a book and find a scenic place to read or write a daily journal entry.
3. Your schedule. Your budget. Your rules.
- Another question I’ve been asked is “Don’t you get bored?” The answer is quite the opposite. You get to do whatever YOU want! Want to sleep in until noon one day or eat dinner at 9pm? Great! You make your schedule. Want to splurge on a night in a fancy hotel or stay in a hostel since you’re on a budget? Not a problem! You set your budget. I actually think you should pick out one activity that you want to splurge on during your trip. It’s your time to shine. You dictate what YOU want to do! And the great thing about it is that you don’t have to feel guilty about doing so. Often times, when you travel with friends or family, there’s a bit of compromising or sacrificing. With solo traveling, there’s no guilt. Period.
4. Immerse yourself in new cultures.
- Culture is sometimes hard to immerse yourself in if you travel with a group. You focus on having fun with your friends and family, which is great! But sometimes you can miss out on details around you. When you travel solo, you tend to connect with your surroundings and the locals a little bit more. Your senses are also more in tune with these surroundings and you appreciate these experiences so much more. You’ll meet other solo travelers and realize that there are others in the world that have the same passion for traveling as you. This opens up so many more experiences and ideas that you may have never even thought of or known of.
5. Go outside of your comfort zone.
- Why is it called a comfort zone? It’s because no one likes change. But one thing is for sure, going outside of your comfort zone can bring new challenges and self growth. As you grow you ultimately become more at ease with doing just about anything. For me, visiting new countries was definitely going out of my comfort zone. At first it was scary, but the more places I went the less afraid I became. Now, a new destination brings a sense of thrill and adventure I would have never known had I not taken the first step.
Solo traveling went from something I would never even think about doing, to something I want to do at least once a year. If you haven’t been convinced that this is for you, that’s ok, it’s definitely not for everyone. But if you do try it, don’t be surprised if you have the time of your life. And who knows, maybe one day I’ll see you on the road!