Benefits of Traveling Alone
I identify as a female solo traveler. Why? Because the benefits of traveling alone are tremendous. It is absolutely no secret that I rave about solo travel on this blog, especially solo female travel, because the experience does truly change your life for the better. I’m much stronger – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – thanks to my independent travels. Don’t believe me? Read all about how traveling alone to Scotland changed my life. Empowering, huh? And if I can do it, you can do it, too.
However I understand that booking plane tickets, reserving accommodation, and actually following through with your dreams are big and scary first steps. Honestly I understand your hesitation. It IS scary going to a new city or country where you don’t know a single soul. I’ve been there multiple times myself. I even canceled a trip to Spain over fearing too much. It’s easy to psyche yourself out of a potentially exciting adventure.
There are many advantages of traveling solo, though. A million of them. These positives will outweigh all of the initial uncertainty. They have a more lasting impact on your life too. I promise.
Below, I’ve listed my top five benefits of traveling alone. I sincerely hope they inspire you to get out and see the world on your own terms.
Happy reading. I hope to see you on the road in the near future. Don’t hesitate to say “hello!”
1. You Meet Incredibly Cool People
You meet way more people if you’re alone than if you’re traveling with family or friends. Believe or not, if your goal is to connect with locals and other travelers, then setting out on your own is the best way to accomplish that goal with ease.
Why does this happen? Don’t you think it would be the opposite situation, especially if you’re more confident with your best friend next to you?
It’s quite reasonable, actually! A single person is more approachable than a whole group of friends. I know I’m more likely to talk to a solo person than a group of five or six close-knit friends! And believe me, a lot of people feel the same way as I do.
For example, I’ve had people start conversations with me in hostels, on day tours, multi-day tour packages, in parks, in cafes, you name it! Very rarely does someone approach me with creepy intentions. Inherently, most people are good and are curious about your travels.
As for you shy folk, I also feel like you lose a lot of your reservations when the spirit of travel takes over. You’re more willing to open up to people and listen to their stories and perspectives when you’re already flourishing outside your comfort zone.
Finally, one of the best benefits of traveling alone is the true friendship that can blossom from a spur-of-the-moment solo trip. In my experience, a few of these random conversations, in the hostel common room or in a bus seat, have paved the way to wonderful friendships. I still talk to a lot of travelers years later, and I feel so blessed to have so many connections all over the world. I see my friendships as precious gifts, which I never would have had if I chose to stay in my room looking at pictures of beautiful destinations instead of physically traveling to them.
You build a really cool (and international) group of friends when you travel alone. It’s amazing.
How do you meet people? Check out my nervous girl’s guide!
2. You Choose Exactly How to Spend Your Time
You want another great benefit of traveling alone? You officially have permission to be the most selfish person on the face of the earth. And isn’t that everyone’s secret dream? You know it!
As someone brave enough to travel alone, your reward is that you can schedule whatever you want at whatever time you want!
Everyone has unique interests. Museums, hikes, shopping trips, food tours, you name it! When you’re traveling with other people in tow, “compromise” is the name of the game unless you never want to be invited on another trip again. As you explore with other people, the reality is you can’t do 100% what you want to do, because you need to take other people’s ideas an feelings into consideration. Like I said, compromise is an essential part of being a good friend. Personally, I’ve had to skip literary destinations (sob) since I knew a lot of my travel companions had different interests. Of course, I didn’t want to step on toes and hurt feelings.
But if you’re alone, you can fulfill all your wanderlust-y desires without a second thought. Wanna sleep in? Do it. Wanna splurge on shoes at that funky local boutique? Do it. Wanna find all the most instagramable street art? Do it. You are free, my friend, free!
Solo travel gives you permission to be totally selfish. And it’s beautiful. Especially if you’re the type of person who gives too much to other people (*cough* me *cough*).
Now, sometimes when you have absolute freedom, it can be hard to make concrete decisions. So it is always worth your time to plan ahead. Research the top sites and restaurants, and see what tours you may want to take to “hard to reach” areas.
By creating a rough itinerary, you can still be carefree and indulge all your travel desires, but the lovely freedom won’t paralyze you into indecision.
Not sure where to go? Here are my 12 best destinations for solo female travelers.
3. You Build An Amazing Amount of Confidence
Time for some real talk, y’all.
I think we all have moments where our self-esteem is low. I don’t just mean a little down in the dumps, but rather “rock bottom into the pits of hell” low. These hard times don’t discriminate either. You can be the most self-assured person on the planet, the social media rockstar all your friends are jealous of, but even so, you still experience self-doubt or loathing.
Speaking of Facebook and Instagram, I don’t think social media helps our collective self-esteem levels either. I mean, just scroll your wall and feed, and take note of common themes. We see everyone posting shining smiles, and then wonder what the heck is so wrong with us? Why can’t we feel happy too? Why can’t we earn more money? Why can’t we find a person who loves us like we deserve? Why do we bloody suck? It’s a vicious cycle.
Solo travel, on the other hand, can help you regain your crown of confidence. By traveling alone, you prove to everyone (and yourself) that you’re smarter, braver, and more resourceful than you ever thought possible.
For example, we all know that I’m scared of flying. But I’ve managed to sit my butt on a plane for over 10 hours in one day. Was it terrifying? Yeah, sure. Those knots in my stomach don’t lie. I don’t let fear control my passions and neither should you.
In my opinion, one of the most significant benefits of traveling alone is building a strong belief in yourself. Great things happen to people who know their true worth. You find better jobs. You attract the relationships you deserve. You create much better art. You transform into the best possible version of yourself. Self-esteem needs to be cultivated, y’know?
So get out there! Don’t wait!
Feeling overwhelmed? Here’s what to do if you feel anxious on your solo trip.
4. You Discover So Much About Yourself
Another one of the great benefits of traveling alone is self-discovery, as well as time for deep reflection. Unsurprisingly, solo travel gives you needed time to contemplate on who you are. We’re not always blessed with quiet moments in our busy daily lives.
We’re all complicated. No one is just a daughter or just a girlfriend. We have so many different layers. In my personal experience, sometimes I have a hard time coming to terms with who I truly am since so much of my life is dedicate to playing a certain “role” in a specific situation. I think a lot of people can relate to these feelings.
As I’ve already said, the noise of daily life rarely gives you the opportunity to truly understand yourself. And understanding yourself is so, so, so important if you want to be fulfilled in life. When we’re unaware of our needs, we open unwanted doors that let people take advantage of us. We are guilted into attending events when we’re rather spend quiet evenings at home with close friends. We stay in a dead end job, because we don’t want to disappoint our co-workers or bosses, and not appear like a “team player.”
As a solo traveler, you are free to grasp the true essence of your persona, your pure existence. Finding yourself in a brand new place, with no strings attached to anyone at all, gives you time to truly reflect on what you want to achieve in this world. You learn how to enjoy your own company, to appreciate your own thoughts, and to realize your great worth.
I don’t want to sound morbid, but you only have one life on this earth. Do you want use your limited time pleasing other people? Or embracing a life embodying your aspirations, dreams, and values? I know which option I would choose!
One of the most truly incredible benefits of traveling alone are the opportunities to come to terms with you, raw and unfiltered. If you come to love yourself, you will attract people and situations who give you the same amount of respect and affection in return. Promise.
Here’s how solo travel helped my anxiety. You will change for the better too!
5. People at Home Respect You Like Crazy
Time to go in reverse! I know I said multiple times not to care about what others think, but you gotta admit the “street cred” is one of the coolest benefits of traveling alone. And, haha, not to brag or anything, but in my case, a lot of people have mad respect that I’m a solo female traveler. I guess we’re a rare breed in the United States, I don’t know.
As the years drift by, more and more people express genuine interest in my travels. If I haven’t seen a person in awhile, perhaps a couple of months, I’m pretty much always asked about traveling tips or if I have any new adventures planned. I’m seen as an expert, a authority, a true bad ass. Cool, huh?
Expect the same sense of “awe” to happen to you!
You gotta trust me here. All I can say is if you travel solo, your friends and family and co-workers will demonstrate a lot of respect for you. Even their words of “aren’t you scared?” will resonate an underlying respect. Not many people can throw caution to the winds like you can.
Seriously, the simple fact that you can step out of your comfort zone and live on your own terms is inspiring for them. You may even encourage someone close to you to book a solo trip too! Honestly, one of the great compliments I can receive is an email or conversation in which the person tells me that I inspired him/her to go traveling.
Yes, I know self-love is most important of all. No doubt. Still, having so many people admire you doesn’t hurt your ego either. Get it.
And hey! The more people travel, the more understanding and compassionate our world is. The fear of the unknown drives a lot of hateful philosophies and atrocities. Travel builds bridges and makes us realize we’re not so different, after all.
What are some other benefits of traveling alone? Trust me, there are many more benefits of traveling alone than I have listed in this post. Have you taken a solo trip lately? Do you think traveling solo can change the world on a deeper level?
Share all your thoughts in the comments section! Thanks! And don’t let your dreams stay in your head. Live them.