I love going it alone. Especially when it comes to travel, I prefer to do everything by myself. Nearly every trip I have written about on here, I have embarked on with no one for company but me, myself and I. Some people find that strange. Others find it daring. But more so what I have found is that people admire you when you decide to travel solo. Since the travel season is upon us, I decided to write up why I enjoy to travel alone and how I do it.
Why and how to travel by yourself in a nutshell
I have been traveling solo for a little over 10 years now. It all got started when I had some weeks off as a student and decided to use them to do some traveling. I opted for New York and the rest is history. Since then, I have taken both longer and shorter trips by myself. The shortest being that first trip to New York, which was only 3 days. The longest having been a 4 week round trip of the USA. If you want to read about some of my trips, then check out my travel category on here, because that will give you a good idea of what I do on a daily basis when I am on the road.
7 Reasons why you should travel solo:
1- It is not scary: I’ve been called brave, “wow, that you do that all by yourself!” and other similar responses. As long as you’ve got your wits about you, you will be absolutely fine. I have never had anything bad happen to me at all. There is nothing unusual about most foreign places I’ve visited, that doesn’t happen to me at home. Sure, I’ve mostly been to other Western countries, which probably helps, but as long as you know what you’re doing, you will be fine. And you sometimes find help in the most unexpected of places. I nearly got robbed on a beach in Miami, but some guys sitting a few meters away came over to warn me. In short, you will find people to help you out wherever you are, and that is a great thing when you are traveling alone.
2- You meet new people: This one’s obvious. One perk of not having anyone around is that you easily get to meet up with other people. On the road, you will meet others who are also traveling by themselves. And when you are waiting in line to go anywhere you will easily be able to get a conversation going. Especially during my Interrail trip in 2014, I found this to be very easy. Europe is filled with solo travelers, so I ended up having dinner with an Italian guy when I was stranded in a South Eastern French town and while in Prague I went on a walking tour, met some people and we hung out for the rest of the day. Traveling solo doesn’t have to mean you are alone.
3- You get to set the pace: The biggest perk of traveling by yourself is that you decide what you do and when you do it. Depending on your itinerary and how many plans you have, you can fill in the days the way you deem fit. I came upon a chocolate factory in Seattle, but their tours were fully booked for the day. So it was great that I could go back the next day to take the tour any way. This does mean that you shouldn’t overplan your trip. Just go with the flow and take each day as it comes.
4- You get to try new things: This one goes hand in hand with reason no. 3. Since you get to decide what to do, it is far easier to try out new things. Of course you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and do this, but if you are into that sort of thing, it is far easier. Wherever you travel, each locality will have its own unique forms of entertainment. I rode a quad through the Nevada desert, saw Orca, and tried tons of local foods.
5- You experience everything much more intensely: One downside to traveling solo appears to be the lack of being able to share your experiences in the moment. At least that’s what most people tell me. Personally, I find that no problem. In fact, I find I experience everything 100x more intensely when I am traveling by myself. It is far easier to pause and really take in that amazing view, or pinch yourself and say: O-M-G I’m really doing this.
6- You get to reset yourself: The main reason why I like to travel by myself is that is truly allows me to reset myself. Since I teach, I usually get to travel during summer vacations at the end of another hectic school year. It is so nice, to just leave everything behind for a while and just rethink your steps and making new plans for a way forward. Traveling truly has an introspective, almost therapeutic aspect to it for me. I always return refreshed and ready to roll.
7- You get to know yourself: Part of the introspection is that you not only get to reflect on life in general, but also on yourself. Because you have to deal with every single situation yourself, it teaches you things about yourself you may otherwise have not know. I will never forget that time when I stood in a hotel and my credit card was denied because it was blocked. To find out how resourceful you can be, and that you will always figure a way out, is a great feeling.
How to travel solo:
My main piece of advice is to prepare. I used to plan everything to a T, but these past few years I’ve found that having a rough plan of what I want to do works much better. I will pick a few things to do and then see what’s possible. If your plans involve pre-booked activities, you will have less trouble getting those done. Since you’re by yourself, they will often put you in a group to fill up that last remaining spot.
When it comes to preparation, just make sure you cover the basics. Know a few things about the area you are going to, perhaps also know some language if that is helpful, and write down some important addresses and phone numbers just in case. Most of the time what works best is if you engage with people. Ask around at the places you’re staying and visiting for the best tips to eat, go out, or see some more off the beaten path attractions.
Those are my tips and tricks for traveling solo so far. If you would like me to delve a little bit deeper into how I prepare for a solo trip, then please leave a comment down below.
Would you travel solo?