Solo travel is all the rage in 2017—especially solo female travel. There are a lot of reasons why people opt to take a trip alone. Sometimes, it’s out of necessity (their friends can’t take off work), and other times its a personal choice (they prefer to experience a new place alone). I know from personal experience it takes a lot of preparation, planning, and courage to take the first step and go it alone. In doing so, you’re taking a risk, but solo travel can also bring rewards. So, what are some advantages of traveling alone?
10. Planning the trip is way easier
Planning a trip with another person usually goes something like this: Each person lists their top destinations or activities and you find a ‘happy’ medium. Well, when you travel alone, the only list you need to care about is yours! No more suffering through the catacombs if skeletons freak you out, and no more lounging on the beach when all you want to do is tour a museum.
9. Save money (or spend money without feeling guilty)
This is one of the best advantages of traveling alone: you’re always in charge of your wallet. When you travel with another person, one of you is always trying to save or spend more than the other. Maybe you prefer hostels, but they’re not luxurious enough for your companion. Or, you have no problem spending good money on good food, but your friend would rather eat light. When you travel alone, you’re in total control of what you spend.
Related: 5 Easy Ways to Save Money for Travel
8. You set the pace
Are you always on the move? Or do you need a little downtime every day to relax? Chances are, anyone you travel with will be on a different level than you. I don’t like to spend even a minute in the hotel (or hostel) when I’m traveling, but a lot of people need time to recharge. Traveling solo means you never have to wait for another person, and you never have to feel rushed.
7. Eat (and drink) what you want
This is a big one! Do you love seafood or do you detest it? Could you order off the primi piatti for every meal or do you prefer a secondo? Would you rather enjoy one cocktail after dinner or five? When it comes to food, does anyone really *like* to compromise? I don’t!
6. Meet locals and experience the culture
When you travel with somebody, you always have a friend to talk to and work through problems with. You rely on each other for social interaction as well as for help navigating the foreign country. But, when you’re doing it alone, there’s no one to help you figure out the map, or the menu, or the museum. You have to rely on the locals, and that means meeting new people and friends.
That, and your experience will be all your own.
5. Improve your language skills
This is major! One of the best advantages of traveling alone is improving your language skills. There are two components to this one:
- Not speaking English all the time with your travel buddy will help you to start thinking in the native tongue.
- Being forced to speak the native language with locals when you interact will help you to improve your vocabulary and accent.
I personally saw a huge difference in my language abilities the first time I was in Italy. The first two months, I was alone, and so I spoke Italian every day and was on the trajectory to becoming fluent. In the third month, my friend came to visit and I could feel the language slipping away every single day I spoke English with her.
Read also: 5 Ways to Practice Italian Online for Free
4. Learn to rely on yourself
It was always my dream to go to Abruzzo, but I have serious driving anxiety and the road to the mountainous heart of Italy is less like a road and more like a narrow, steep, and unmarked path. Luckily, my friend Aryn accompanied me and drove. However, if she hadn’t, I would have found my way there on my own and probably become a better person from it. If you travel solo, you’ll wake up to just how much you’re truly capable of. Read about our trip to Abruzzo here.
3. Gain confidence
This goes hand-in-hand with #7. When I left for Italy for the first time, I was anxious, fearful, and extremely lacking in self-assuredness. I didn’t think I had ever done anything in my life that was notable or worthy of praise. When I came back, I was finally able to be unapologetic about who I am and be proud of all the things I had accomplished in my life.
Traveling alone is difficult and daunting. But, when you’re on your flight home after a successful solo trip, you will be brimming with confidence because you were able to achieve your goal and you did it all by yourself.
2. Overcome your fears
Do you have a fear of flying long distances? Being out at night alone? Getting pick-pocketed or getting your passport stolen? Getting lost? Being overcharged because you’re an American? Having your phone die and not being able to find your way home? Getting catcalled? Do you have a fear of loneliness?
All of these things can happen when you travel alone. That’s the beauty of it. After your first solo trip, you will discover how strong you are.
Overcoming your fear isn’t about not being afraid anymore. It’s about being afraid and still living your best life. It’s about not letting your fear of something stop you from pursuing your dreams.
1. Discover yourself
Last, but not least, discover yourself. Get away from all the noise. Separate yourself from your friends, family, and colleagues and spend some time getting to know your heart. You don’t have to act with anyone’s expectations in mind. You will be your fullest self.
What are you satisfied with in life? What could be better? Have your dreams changed since the last time you checked? Solitude can be sweet, and far from home, you will discover who you really are.
What are some of the advantages of traveling alone that you’ve experienced? I would love to hear them— share them in the comments below!