Some of the greatest benefits of solo travel include gaining self confidence and learning how to overcome obstacles. When traveling alone, you also get to go where you want and when you want, giving you total freedom!
Thinking of taking your first solo trip?
Going on your first solo adventure can be a scary thought, but it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have in your life. Solo travel can help you gain confidence in yourself, while also giving you the opportunity to explore something new and exciting. You’ll get out of your comfort zone, see new places, and meet amazing people along the way!
Over the years, I've experienced both how to travel solo and with another person. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, but if you really want to get to know yourself and your true capabilities, then solo travel is the way to go.
Many people have a fear of traveling alone, but the truth is that traveling by yourself can be the best thing you ever did. The skills and confidence you gain from going solo are invaluable and will stay with you for life.
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What being a solo traveler taught me
So, I'll be the first to admit that many of my solo trips have been a little extreme. Cycling from the UK to South Africa, and cycling from Alaska to Argentina solo is not everyone's cup of tea, but I sure have learnt a lot along the way!
From how to communicate with people in the local language to learning how to trust my own judgement in difficult situations, the benefits of solo travel have led me to develop skills and mental models I've carried over into everyday life.
Here are some of the things I've discovered about myself by travelling solo
1) I am Stronger and More Adaptable than I Thought
Travelling alone can be daunting but it also gives you the freedom to adapt and learn as you go.
As a solo traveler, you don’t have the safety net of friends or family members to rely on and you must be prepared to think fast, act decisively, and make decisions all by yourself.
This can seem daunting at first but I’ve come out of each trip feeling more confident in my decision-making skills and better equipped to handle anything that comes my way.
2) I Enjoy Having My Own Timetable
One of the biggest benefits of solo travel is that you have complete independence and flexibility with your plans.
Most people who travel with a partner or group tend to plan the day around everyone else’s schedule. You also need to make compromises when it comes to where to go and what to see. As a solo traveler, you have the luxury of being able to decide for yourself when and where to explore.
And if you decide that you want to change your plans last minute, no problem! You’re free to make any changes as needed without having to check with anyone else.
I enjoy moving at my own pace and taking as much or as little time as you want in each place. For example, on a long trip, one day I might want to go on a day hike, and on another I might just want to chill, read a book and watch a movie in my hotel room!
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3) Goal Setting And Achieving Goals Becomes Easier
One thing that solo adventure travel by bicycle has taught me, is that I’m capable of achieving all sorts of goals if I set my mind to it.
When you break down a long and complex journey into smaller, more manageable chunks, it becomes much easier to tackle even the most daunting tasks. Being able to measure progress is also incredibly rewarding, as each step brings me closer and closer to my end goal.
After a solo journey, I return to the ‘real world' with a renewed sense of purpose, confidence and motivation. I know what is needed in setting goals, and have also gained a track record of achieving them – something which will help me in all aspects of life.
4) The World Is A Complicated Place
By meeting people from different cultures and societies on your travels, you gain a new perspective on the world and realise that it’s not as simple or black-and-white as it often appears.
On a macro level, you better understand how different cultures interact with each other, their similarities and differences, and appreciate just how much complexity there is in our world.
On a micro level, I came to realise that people really want the same things out of life no matter their background – they want to be happy, to have security, and to not have money worries.
Related: Why do people travel?
5) The World Is Full Of Interesting People
Many people travel with the plan of ticking items off a bucket list, but come back with memories of the people they met along the way. From the helpful locals to the other travelers who share your journey, it's incredible how much you can learn from them.
As I've traveled solo, I've made new friends and travel companions and gotten to meet interesting people, each one with their own unique story and perspective. I love talking to and connecting with these people, and hearing their stories of life on the road – it's one of my favorite parts of being a solo traveler!
Related: Meeting another cyclist in Peru
6) It's Good To Take Time To Enjoy The Little Things
One of the biggest benefits I’ve gained from solo travel is that it has given me the chance to slow down and appreciate all the small things.
From taking a few moments to watch a beautiful sunset, or marvel at a stunning vista, or even just savoring an amazing home-cooked meal in a foreign country, solo travel gives you the time and space to really appreciate these moments.
This allows me to fully engage with the places I'm exploring, and by doing so, I leave with a deeper understanding of them and stronger connection to the sights, sounds and tastes that make each place unique.
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7) Having Time To Reflect
Traveling by myself has meant spending time in my own company. A lot of time!
This has freed up time and space for me to think not just about the trip that I am on, but also my life in general. I'd say this has helped me to come to terms with a lot of things – both the good and the bad – in a way which I wouldn't have if I'd stayed at home.
It's something that can be hard to do when there are distractions or people around, but during solo travel you don't have any of these, so it’s easier to take a step back and reflect on life. I definitely feel like I am a better person for it.
8) New Perspectives And Personal Growth
When traveling alone, it can be easier for us to just go with the flow and observe our surroundings more intently than we might if we were traveling with someone else.
This allows us to gain new perspectives on different cultures, cities, and countries as well as different ways of life in general.
Traveling on your own also offers unique opportunities for personal growth since there isn't anyone around who knows everything about you or who could potentially judge any mistakes you make along the way (unless they're documented on social media).
This freedom can be a motivator for us to really push ourselves out of our comfort zones by trying new things that we may have been too afraid or embarrassed to do otherwise—it’s amazing how much courage we find within ourselves when we don't have anyone else around who knows what we're doing!
As an added bonus, learning how to become comfortable being alone can serve as an important step towards developing greater self-confidence overall.
Related: Reasons to travel around the world
FAQ About Traveling Solo
People who are wondering if travelling alone is for the, often ask questions similar to:
Is solo travel a good idea?
Solo travel can be a great idea for many people. While it requires more forethought and preparation than travelling with others, the rewards can often be greater. Solo travellers will have the freedom to explore a destination in their own way, without being influenced by others' opinions or agendas.
What are the pros and cons of travelling alone?
Travelling alone can be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience, as solo travel forces you to think more deeply about your experiences and take greater responsibility for yourself. Some potential cons of travelling alone are that you may feel more vulnerable or exposed, and you will have to be extra vigilant in managing risks such as theft or pickpocketing.
How does solo travel change you?
Solo travel can have a profound effect on those who undertake it. The unique experience of being completely immersed in the travel experience and having to take full responsibility for oneself can be transformative.
Is solo traveling good for mental health?
Solo travelers often report feeling calmer and more relaxed when travelling alone, as there is no need to worry about other people's opinions or feelings. This sense of well being can also be felt upon returning home, as solo travel helps to create a sense of balance and inner peace.
Is it easy to meet people when travelling solo?
Traveling solo doesn't necessarily mean being alone. In fact, it can actually be an opportunity to meet more people than if you were traveling with someone else. I've often fund that when traveling as a couple people are less likely to strike up conversations with is than when I travel alone.
There are many important benefits to solo travel, including meeting new people, growing your relationship with yourself, and getting out of your comfort zone. Solo travel is also a great way to learn more about other cultures and to have a more intimate travel experience.
From my experience, I would highly recommend solo travel as an opportunity not only to see more of the world but also learn more about yourself in the process! Whether it’s your first or hundredth trip traveling solo, there is always something new waiting around every corner – so don't hesitate any longer and start planning your next adventure today!