According to recent travel statistics, about 18 percent of global travel is now done by solo travelers. Traveling alone has become more popular, and solo travelers tend to take longer trips than those who travel with families or groups, with 19 days being the average trip length for those traveling alone.
Whether you want to travel alone to find yourself, or you just want to experience a new place and culture, or see some beautiful new scenery and happen to have no one available to travel with when you want to do it—whatever the reason, there are many rewarding benefits to traveling alone. Once you’ve conquered your fears and misgivings about solo travel, you might even find that it’s something you love enough to plan a solo trip for yourself more often. It only takes traveling alone one time to discover the many rewards of a solo trip.
No Trade-Offs in Your Travel Terms
One of the best benefits of traveling alone is not having to make any compromises. When you travel with others, every decision involves a committee meeting, with compromises made, deals struck, timetables and schedules compared, and days mapped out to meet everybody’s needs.
When traveling alone, you can map out your own routes, plan only the events that you want to experience, and not have to take anyone else’s opinion into consideration. It’s one of those rare times in life when it’s all about you. You can plan the activities that you enjoy most, and still feel free to throw out the plan and do something impulsive if the whim strikes. If you feel like suddenly veering off the beaten path and changing your plans, you don’t have to clear it with anyone or accommodate their needs.
When you travel alone, you end up seeing more of the sights and experiencing more of the activities that interest you because you don’t have to spend any of your vacation time incorporating anyone else’s plans and interests into your itinerary. You are free to follow your impulses, intuition, and instincts, and end up having the absolute best possible time, and amazing memories (and Instagram photos!) to share.
You Can Keep the Quiet
Traveling alone gives you all the quiet time you’ve craved. You may have hours of air flight, and you don’t have to chat or keep up your side of any conversation unless you find your seat mates interesting. The process of traveling alone can be very freeing, as you are able to maneuver easily through the airport chaos, board your plane, and immediately take a nap to rest up for your planned activities without feeling like you have to be good company. It’s a good time to pull out your best earplugs, put on your super sleep mask, and sleep for as long as you want to.
Your flight, train-trip, or bus ride, is also a great time to finally read that book you’ve wanted to read for months, or download that series that you’ve been wanting to binge-watch.
Getting to Know… Me, Getting to Know all About Me
Traveling alone leaves you time to reflect on who you really are, and discover your own likes, dislikes, fun, and fears. Exploring new places on your own helps you not only to get to know yourself better, it gives you a chance to expand upon yourself and enhance your own personality with new knowledge and experiences. Instead of listening to what others want, you are free to listen only to your own heart. You will also learn to rely only on yourself, instead of others, when you encounter any difficult situation. You will expand your own ability to overcome obstacles and grow your self-confidence. You will realize that you are self-sufficient and can achieve anything you wish to achieve.
Make New Friends
If you travel with a group of family or friends, it doesn’t always leave you room to meet and hang out with new people or make new friends. Being alone gives you plenty of opportunities to make new friends and socialize with people of different cultures, or find your fellow travelers from your own country to bond with as you share new experiences in a new place. Just because you are traveling solo, doesn’t mean you have to be alone with only your own company for the entire trip.
You may find that locals are more willing to reach out to someone who is alone. If you are traveling as part of a couple, family, or group, you may come across as a closed unit. A person alone, on the other hand, invites curiosity and the helpful nature of locals will come out to welcome you.
Even if you are naturally shy, you will find that while traveling alone, you can feel free to take on new attributes. You can try on a more sociable and outgoing personality without fear of judgement. It’s easy to be open and engaging when you are visiting a new place and away from your normal working routine. You may make connections that last for years, or even life-long friendships.
Tailor your Trip
When enjoying solo travel you can pack your itinerary as much as you desire if you are an active person. Sometimes, traveling with others means you may have to slow down to accommodate someone with less energy or stamina. If you enjoy staying very active and busy, you can keep going from morning until late at night and see and do everything you’ve always imagined doing in your chosen destination.
Conversely, if you enjoy a relaxed vacation, you are free to take your time, linger as long as you like in your hotel or B&B, rest or nap as often or as long as you want to, and not feel pressured to keep going and going as you might be when traveling with a companion or group.
Even though it can be a lot of fun traveling with family or friends, it also tends to involve a lot more stress than a solo trip. From the moment of planning a group trip, there will be arguing and debate and compromise about everything from destination and duration of stay, to itinerary, events, and activities planned. And then there is the inevitable stress of a group making its way through airport security and boarding, layovers, ubering to the hotel, hostel, or B&B, and then planning activities to accommodate the desires of the entire group.
While this is something that everyone should do on occasion, everyone should also take a trip alone at least once in their life and experience what it can be like when you get to spend quiet time with only yourself, choose to socialize only when you feel like it, plan only your own favorite activities, and build your own self-confidence and self esteem.
And just imagine the Instagram photo opportunities!
Resources— LifeHack.org, InsightGuide.com, SoloTravelWorld.com, TravelMadeSimple