If you’ve been holding off on planning the trip of your dreams because you’re waiting for someone to go with you, please stop right this second and take me instead. Just kidding, sort of. Traveling solo is one of the most exhilarating, challenging, and empowering things you can do. Besides, it’s the single best way to score pity points with waitstaff in the form of room upgrades or free appetizers. Make sure to ask for a table for two and feign rejection – it works every time. Disclaimer: I never said all of my tips would be morally sound.
When people hear that I’m traveling to third world countries by myself, their first question is nearly always, “aren’t you afraid of getting kidnapped?” “Isn’t traveling alone as a woman dangerous?” Because clearly, the act of traveling with a uterus is a recipe for a gruesome end.
If you’re vigilant and aware of your surroundings, as you should be whether you’re at home or traveling, chances are you’ll be ok. I’m convinced that the world is not some crazy dangerous place with evil people out to get you – it may be uncomfortable and unfamiliar at times, but that’s the beauty of it.
So here are 5 reasons why I think traveling solo is not only life changing but one of the most fun experiences you can have:
1. The beauty of being able to do whatever you want whenever you want.
I have a tendency to eat an absurd amount of meals per day (8 minimum, obviously), and hourly snack breaks aren’t everyone’s jam. When traveling alone I get to eat my heart out and never hear “you’re hungry again!?” You can have a packed day full of sightseeing or lounge around on a beach hammock all day or eat every hour. It’s entirely up to you and no one else.
2. You’ll meet people you otherwise wouldn’t have.
When you’re traveling with others, it’s easy to stay within your comfort zone and not venture out to make new friends. It becomes even harder to immerse yourself in the local culture. Traveling alone forces you to put in the effort and connect with people around you, whether it be on public transportation, at hostels, or in tours. It really is the least lonely you could ever be.
3. You get to make every decision.
Everything is up to you. That can be daunting at first when you realize how much you rely on others on a daily basis. But you hold all of the power to define your trip exactly as you wish.
4. You’ll be able to let it go.
It’s inevitable that things will go wrong when you travel. Luggage gets lost, flights are delayed, or your hotel room is infested with bed bugs. These are all things I’ve learned to accept as a regular part of travel. They may not be ideal, but if they’re embraced as part of the journey they can turn in to amazing opportunities. When you’re solo, it’s entirely up to you how you react to these inconveniences. I’ve been lucky enough to make lifelong friends with several people I met during an 8 hour flight delay to London.
5. Absolute freedom.
When you travel solo there is nothing holding you back. It’s just you, an unfamiliar destination, and an inevitable adventure ahead.
So get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s really not as scary as you think!