The Benefits of Solo Travel
As you probably already know, I’m a very solitary person. This is doubly true when I’m traveling. It is a rare day when I choose to bring someone else along on my travels, and though it can be a bit lonely at times, I would never have it any other way. Solo travel has many benefits, and they’re not all just for people like me who like to be alone. Here are some of the benefits of solo travel (don’t worry, a counter-post is coming soon!):
1. It’s all you, baby! It’s about what you want to do, how long you want to do it, when, and here. Don’t like museums? You don’t have to go to them. Don’t like the beach? You can leave those sandy shores to the beach bunnies. There are no compromises to make, no negotiations to hold, no accomodations to make. Want to spend 3 hours shopping in a souk? Go for it. Nobody’s going to be there to whine after you go into your 50th carpet stall.
2. It can save you money. If you’re traveling with a friend or significant other, you’re much more likely to eat most of your meals in restaurants, and to partake in expensive activities. I find that when I travel alone, I have no guilt at turning down a tour or making a meal out of an energy bar. You’re also more likely to stay in non-private rooms in hostels, which will save you a bundle.
3. Solitude breeds self-reflection. If you’re hoping to “find yourself” while traveling or simply consider your place in the world, you might want to consider traveling alone. You’ll learn a lot more about yourself if you’re going solo than if you have someone along for the ride, especially someone who knows you well. The 8 months or so that I spent driving around the USA, living out of my truck, was easily one of the most formative experiences of my life. It would definitely have not been the same if I’d had a driving companion.
4. You’re more likely to make friends on the road. Hint: travelers rarely strike up conversations with couples or people traveling as an obvious group. If you’re eating or drinking alone, chances are that someone will talk to you, and I’ve made countless friends this way. You’re also much more likely to be invited along on an adventure, or to be invited into a local’s home, because you’re less intimidating than a couple and many cultures will see you as needing protection, especially if you’re female.
If you’ve never traveled on your own and any of the benefits I just listed sound appealing to you, consider giving it a try on your next trip!