Whether you’re taking a gap year, a career break, or just exploring another part of the world in your two weeks off work, travel is no longer just something for the rich and famous. Anyone with a bit of wanderlust and determination can save up and jet-set off to see what another part of the globe has to offer. Some people go with friends, or a partner, but in my opinion, the best way to travel is to go solo. I’ve done various trips over the years, but earlier this year I did my first trip completely alone, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done.
Here are five reasons why you should do the same.
1. No Drama
On every holiday I’ve been on with friends, there has been drama. On my post-A level holiday, the group of 16 of us going got cut down to 12 when some of the other girls got into a dispute about which hotel to stay in. On a holiday I went on with a friend at university, I paid using my card, then said friend blew her savings on a night out and couldn’t pay me back. On my last girls holiday, we got into an argument about politics and didn’t talk for 4 months.
When you travel with friends, you’re effectively living together during that time, and throw in money, alcohol, and the heat, and even the strongest of bonds get tested. Go it alone, and come back relaxed and with all your friendships intact.
2. No Compromise
When travelling with others, you have to get sign-off on every decision. Found a great hostel? You have to tell the others and get them to approve it before you book. Really want to go sea kayaking? Well, one of your friends is scared of water, so you end up going to wander round a town instead. Travelling solo means no-one to answer to, so instead of having to discuss everything and come to a compromise, you can do what you want, when you want.
3. More Sociable
One of the great things about travel is meeting loads of cool new people from all over the world. If you go as a group or a pair however, you tend to end up sticking with the people you came with. Even with the best will in the world, people are less likely to approach a group or a couple than an individual. Being alone means you’re forced to talk to new people, and if you stay in a sociable hostel there is no shortage of other solo travellers to befriend.
4. Holiday Romances
Along with new friendships and great experiences, one of the joys of backpacking and meeting loads of new people is the potential for romance. You meet so many new people, and unlike the weirdos you meet online, plenty of those people are attractive, so you’re bound to meet someone you fancy at some point. Going with friends means you’re always in a group which is a bit of a cockblock, but alone you can do whatever and whoever you want.
Travelling is an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience where you come back a different person. You experience new cultures, meet new people, and have amazing adventures. Of course you can do that with someone else, but there’s just something about the freedom about going alone. Sure it’s hard sometimes, but having to figure things out alone is what makes you into a stronger person. Without having your super-outgoing friend to rely on to meet people, being on your own forces even the shyest wallflowers out of their shells, and before long you’ll be the life and soul of the party.