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Why Traveling Solo Can Be So Rewarding

woman sitting by the lake at sunset
Tananyaa Pithi/Shutterstock

If you’re considering going on a solo adventure, know that it’s not as scary as you’d think. You just need to be careful and trust in yourself. The rewards are invaluable, and chances are you’ll want to do it again.

You’re Free

From the moment that you pick the departure date, you’re the one in charge. There’s no one telling you when or how to do things. Traveling by yourself means you don’t have to make compromises with anyone. Feeling like spending a day napping or reading while enjoying a cup of joe? You can do that. Decided to join a jungle trekking tour the next morning? Go ahead; you’re the boss. 

In a way, traveling solo gives you a perfect chance to be selfish, which isn’t a bad thing. In a world full of rules to follow and feelings that get easily hurt, it’s liberating being able to live your life just the way you want it.

There are no obligations (aside from those that come with being a member of society) to keep you tied up, and no family or friends to get offended if you don’t want to visit the same museum they do. Drama is non-existent. It’s just you, your backpack, and your own wishes. 

You Can Find Yourself and Get Inspired

Young traveler with backpack enjoying sunset listening to music near ocean

For as cheesy at it sounds, traveling on your own does help you understand who you are as a person. Because you have the freedom to do as you please, you can choose to do whatever you want with your time. You don’t have the same distractions as you do at home or people demanding your attention, so it’s the perfect opportunity to focus on yourself.

Some quality me-time can also help bring inspiration and ignite creativity, which is hard to do when juggling work and the stress of everyday life. As a result, it’s possible to find out about a hidden talent you didn’t know you had, or discover a new passion for following in the future.

You Develop Life Skills

Being on your own means that you’re the one making all the decisions, at all times, in any given situation. Sometimes those situations can be tricky, and you have no one but yourself to help you get through them. That’s when your decision-making skills come into play. If you don’t have them, you develop them. And the same thing goes for your problem-solving skills. It’s an essential part of being a savvy traveler as well as a functioning adult. 

Being able to make the right choice under stressful conditions is not the kind of scenario we’re often exposed to in our daily lives. Gaining that skill can be beneficial for your professional life and your personal growth. The more you travel, the more experiences you live, the more you practice your skills and become better at handling any inconveniences or unexpected situations. 

You Learn a New Language

A three-week trip to Thailand isn’t going to end with you being able to have a conversation in Thai about life’s greatest dilemmas with a local. However, you might learn enough to order your food and ask for directions, which is more than most tourists can say by the time they get back home.

Research has shown that learning a new language is good for our brains, helping delay the onset of dementia. So while you might not be able to mingle with the non-English-speaking locals well, you can still feel good about the amount you learn during your stay and, if you’re brave enough, maybe even add it to your resume. 

You Gain More Confidence

young male tourist holding a map and using Mobile phone

Stepping outside of our comfort zones isn’t easy. Fear is always there, hanging out at the edge and trying to keep us from growing. Overcoming that obstacle is scary, but incredibly rewarding.

Traveling solo is just that: putting yourself to the ultimate test and trusting that you’ll be fine. You can do it. 

Just like with anything else in life, practice makes you perfect, and when traveling, you do that every single day. Not only do you improve your basic life skills, your self-confidence gets a boost every night when you’re in bed and realize you’ve survived yet another day, all by yourself.

You don’t shy away from asking for what you want or from doing something different anymore. After all, you’re far away from home, and nobody knows you there. So the more time that goes by, the more confident you become in your ability to handle anything that gets in your way.

Before you know it, your only concern will be whether to have lunch at the beach or by the pool. 

You Meet Amazing People

When we think of solo traveling it’s easy to assume that there’s very little socializing involved. You expect you’ll occasionally interact with strangers to ask for the nearest bus stop or to get a better price at the market.

However, the reality is usually the opposite. Travelers are confident and chatty people, and locals tend to be curious. You won’t go far before you end up hooked on a conversation with someone you met at a local restaurant, sharing a few drinks and listening to the most fascinating story you’ve heard all week. 

Your level of socializing during your travels also depends on where you stay. Hostels, for instance, are a minefield of friendships waiting to happen. It’s the best type of accommodation for when you’re feeling lonely and want to enjoy the company of other travelers.

You can meet people from all over the world, all with different backgrounds, different cultures, speaking different languages, and with great stories to share. You’ll be surprised at the number of things you’ll learn and at how little time you’ll have to be by yourself. It’s very common to make life long friends when you’re traveling. Sometimes, you can even find love.

You Can Save Money

Many believe that traveling solo is more expensive. And sure, it’s possible to save some money by splitting the cost of some things—accommodations, tours, and transportation, for example.

However, when you’re on your own, you have more options. You can stay at the cheapest hostel you can find if you want to. You can eat at the same local restaurant every day. You can decide to do a self-guided tour of the city rather than pay for a guided one, or you can opt for the cheapest (and usually the longest) mode of transport to your next destination.

And if the cost of an activity lowers with the more people that join in, then it’s the perfect excuse to meet new people and make friends. The options to travel for cheap are there; you just need to look for them.

It’s Your New Source of Pride

You left your daily life behind to set foot in an unknown land all by yourself and made it back with stories to share. That’s truly special.

The experiences you lived and the memories you created will forever be with you; nobody will ever take those away from you. And that is something to be proud of. 

Carla Cometto Carla Cometto
Carla has been writing professionally for five years and blogging for many more. She's worked as a journalist, photographer, and translator. She's also an avid traveler who hopes to inspire a sense of curiosity and adventure in others through her writing. Read Full Bio »
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