Traveling with a partner or friends can be tons of fun, but there’s something very special about traveling solo. With more time for introspection, you might be surprised about what you learn. Here are seven things I’ve learned from traveling alone.
Things I’ve Learned From Traveling Solo
1. You can meet locals on a personal level.
When you’re traveling with others, you’re focused on spending time with them — not meeting new people. You may not think about chatting with the friendly locals beyond basic service, or they may not engage you if they see you’re busy with your companions. When you’re by yourself, your mind is free to take an interest in the people around you, and they’re more likely to feel comfortable approaching you if it doesn’t seem like they’re intruding.
2. It’s easy to make friends along the way.
It’s easier to make friends when you’re traveling solo, too. You won’t be working around anyone else’s schedule, so you’re free to grab lunch or drinks with anyone you meet, whenever it suits your fancy and for however long you’d like. As a bonus, both you and your potential new friends might be less self-conscious with a solo audience rather than a group.
3. Alone time is healthy.
Another thing I’ve learned from traveling alone is that it’s healthy to be by yourself. You can relax when you’re away from other people’s needs and expectations. You learn to love your own company. When you’re able to enjoy spending time with yourself, you get a boost in self-esteem, too, which decreases stress and increases happiness in the long run!
4. You can be whoever you want!
Speaking of no expectations, when you’re traveling solo, you’re free to be whoever you want. You don’t have to invent a whole new persona, but you’re free to get wild, eat with your hands, and have adventures if you want to — or to just sit on the beach and read a book rather than trudging to keep up with more active companions.
5. It’s empowering.
When you travel alone, you can’t rely on someone else to read the map or pick up essential items for you. You’ve got to do it all. But, I guarantee you will find out quickly that you can rise to the occasion. By making your own plans and caring for yourself, you’ll find you come away stronger, more confident, and assured you can be self-sufficient.
6. Facing your fears is not as scary as it seems.
Of course, when you’ve got to figure everything out yourself, you may feel anxious. Maybe you’re nervous about talking to strangers; maybe you’ll feel awkward by yourself in a restaurant or museum. From little fears to big ones, once you decide to face them, you’ll find out you’re more capable than you thought! Things quickly become less frightening once you step up to face them.
7. You learn your likes and dislikes.
Traveling solo gives you the freedom to experiment and find out what you like and don’t like. Without worrying about offending anyone or saving yourself embarrassment, you can try anything and form your own honest opinion, rather than being influenced by someone else.
Traveling alone can seem scary, but there’s so much to gain from spending time with yourself. If you’re considering a solo trip, read this list of 10 safe travel destinations that are perfect for first-time solo travelers!