This is an excellent guest post by a friend of mine, Amanda. Although I’m now happily married and definitely enjoy traveling with my wife, I have traveled independently in the past and can agree that there are many perks to this type of travel. Read and enjoy!
Trekking around the world with your best friends can certainly make for some amazing memories. For those looking to make more than just memories, the real game changer is traveling solo. Taking that trip on your own opens you up to tons of opportunities you might miss out on when traveling with a group. Its benefits are both empowering and eye opening, while saving you time and money. From meeting new people to taking spontaneous side trips, solo travel gives you the ultimate freedom to do what you want and come back better for it.
1. You get to do exactly what you want
It goes without saying that solo travel makes you the master of your itinerary. You only have yourself to accommodate for, and your wants and needs are top priority. No more long hours spent at museums you could care less for, or getting dragged to historical tours you’d rather skip. You choose the location, the activity, and the hour. The day is yours to divide and conquer as you see fit.
2. Your schedule is wide open for spontaneity
The benefit of setting your own schedule goes hand in hand with the full flexibility you have to change it. So you had plans to check out the Angkor Wat today, but aren’t feeling up for it – you can go tomorrow or scrap it altogether. So you slept in and missed the first ferry to Sicily – no big deal. Now you can have pizza for brunch and check out that cool cathedral instead. You can do as little or as much as you feel like, taking as many detours as you want while you’re at it. After all, the best moments are often unplanned.
3. Meeting new people comes naturally
Traveling alone by no means makes you lonely. When you travel solo, you are seen as more of an individual, and therefore more approachable. Everyone is friendlier, and without your crew, you have more opportunities to reach out too. Instead of falling back on old friendships, you’ll be forced to interact with strangers, and you might be surprised how easy it is to connect. You can link up with other solo travelers or join up with a group; either way, you’re far more likely to get invited out when you’re on your own.
4. “Me Time” is any time
On the flipside of your newfound social network is having plenty of “me time” to spare. You socialize when you feel like it, and there’s no pressure to hang out. You’re free to indulge in solitary activities – bury yourself in a book, journal about your day, or even take a mid-afternoon nap. You get to see the world through your own lens, and experiences become more personal. You’ll have the time and the space for self-reflection, and you might even find that you like your own company best.
5. You build independence and confidence
What better way to build independence and inspire confidence than by traveling solo? When you’ve only got your own two shoulders to lean on, you inevitably end up learning a lot about yourself. You become a planner, a problem solver, and eventually a pro. You figure out how to convert pounds into kilos, which bus stop is closest to your hotel, where to go to get the best exchange rate, and so on. You adapt to new customs and unfamiliar surroundings. You try new things, push the limits of your comfort zone, and come back more capable and confident than before.
6. You save money when it’s just you
Whether it’s snagging the last spot on an excursion or choosing to stay at a cheap hotel, solo travel saves you money. There’s more availability for tickets, accommodations, and transportation when you’re booking a party of one. You can get squeezed in last minute to the restaurant of your choice, and don’t have to worry about overpaying when it comes time to split the bill. Additionally, if you have connections abroad, they’ll be more willing to host a single traveler for free over an entire group. Traveling solo, you only pay for the things that you want to do, and your budget is whatever you set it at.
Freedom to make and break your own plans – check. Gaining confidence and friends along the way – check, check. There are plenty of reasons why solo travel is the best way to go. The opportunities are great and the benefits are many, you only need yourself to get started.
Article written by: Amanda Betat