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Flying Solo: Five Reasons That Prove Traveling Solo Is Better

Want to travel the world but have no one to go with? Don’t think you have the confidence to get out there and see the world on your own? Think again!

Traveling solo can often be a daunting prospect that certainly hasn't been helped by the amount of horror films centered on people traveling alone.

What these films don’t show you, though, are the amazing experiences you can have as a solo traveler (for some reason people prefer to watch young twenty-somethings being chased by grisly bearded men down isolated dirt tracks in Australia…).

Something like this...

What if I told you that this doesn't represent solo travel at all, in the slightest? What if I told you that traveling alone is absolutely one of the best things you will ever do?

Interested yet?

You should be. If you love to travel and want to take the trip of a lifetime but are waiting for someone to tag along with you – don’t! Life’s too short to hold out for others. Instead, grab your backpack, choose a starting point, and just go with the flow.

Here’s why you should travel alone…

1. Do what you want, when you want

Have you ever tried arranging a day trip with friends? Simply trying to sort out travel arrangements, prices, and who wants to do what when is a complete nightmare. Try doing that every day for six months.

Not fun.

Traveling with people you know and love is great, but when it comes down to the details it’s like trying to split the bill at a table of twelve.

Traveling with people you know is great, but it’s a bit like splitting the bill at a table of 12...

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Now, if you travel alone it’s a whole different story. The world is your oyster and your itinerary is your own. Pick places that interest you, choose restaurants that YOU want to eat at, and exercise saying yes to anything and everything.

Plans change all the time whilst you’re traveling – wouldn't it be nice if you could say yes to them without having to think of someone else?

If you’re traveling by yourself - you can totally do that.

Plus, there will be absolutely no drama when someone puts their foot down and has a hissy because things haven’t turned out the way they wanted. Friends are great, but if you travel with them you’re more likely to put a lot of your own dreams and wishes on hold to please them – nobody has time for that!

So, if your cute hostel roommate asks if you want to head over the border with him tomorrow – say yes! Create your own stories and experiences and enjoy being the main character.

2. Learn what you like and don’t like

Traveling is such a personal thing and everyone likes to do it differently. If you’re being hounded by your travel buddies to do this and do that, you aren’t going to have the opportunity to discover what you like and don’t like.

It’s always hit and miss going on a big trip, anyway – there’ll be places you couldn't wait to get to that completely disappointed you, and there’ll be places that you were ambivalent about that you ended up absolutely loving – so don’t put any more unnecessary pressure on yourself.

You might have thought that you’d love hostels and the sociable environment, but in fact find you prefer something more intimate, like Couch-surfing or house-sitting.

When you’re traveling alone all of these options and more open up to you, and you can slowly weed your way through the things you don’t like so you can begin to focus on what you do like – and do much more of it!

3. Make new friends and involve yourself in the culture

When you’re traveling in a group or with another person, you automatically put a barrier between yourself and other people. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it happens.

Locals and fellow travelers are much more likely to approach you if you’re alone and display an open, friendly demeanour. Think about it this way: if you’re in a bar and you’re looking to talk to someone, are you more likely to approach a group of people or someone who is sitting on their own? Point made.

It’s important that you make yourself approachable, though. Smile, get out and about, and don’t wait for people to come to you – what’s the worst that could happen?

Smile, get out and about, and don’t wait for people to come to you!

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If you see someone else who’s sitting alone in the café or find a street vendor really interesting, head over and talk to them! You never know where the conversation might lead.

What’s more, when you travel alone you’re more likely to try new things because you don’t feel like you have to please anyone but yourself. This is so important for really getting to know a place and its culture – try the local food, explore off-the-beaten path towns, and volunteer to be part of a local ceremony because, why not?!

​4. Boost your confidence

There is no better way to boost your confidence than traveling solo.

You only have yourself to rely on (and also to blame), so you are forced to step out of your comfort zone. Ever tried asking for directions in a language you don’t understand? It can be frustrating, but getting yourself out there and speaking to people are vital ingredients for a great trip.

You don’t want to be that person who sits in their hostel room all day because they’re too scared to go outside on their own, do you?

Buckle up, chin up, and get out there.

Once you realize that you’re not some weirdo for approaching a random group of fellow travelers and asking if you can join them, you’ll find it gets easier and easier.

I bet you notice a huge difference in your confidence when you get home from a solo trip!

5. Save some pennies

Traveling solo isn't necessarily cheaper than traveling with friends or a partner, but you can certainly cut costs if you only have to think about yourself.

You might get coerced into a day trip that you’d rather not do if you’re with friends, whereas if you’re on your own this just doesn't happen. What’s more, you can grab a bed in a huge dorm room for pennies and make new friends whilst you’re at it.

When you travel alone, your money is your own to spend as you wish and, if you need to stick to a budget, it’s much easier to do so when you’re not wrapped up in the whims of others.

Traveling solo isn't as scary as it seems, I promise.

I guarantee you’ll be surprised at how strong and confident you are when you’re out there navigating the world on your own, creating your own stories and adventures that you’ll remember for years to come.

It is a scary thought, having just yourself to rely on, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives and you get to learn a whole lot about yourself in the process.

So, what are you waiting for?!

Have you ever traveled solo? What was the best bit about it? Let us know by joining in the conversation below!

About the author

Lizzie

I am a tea-loving freelance travel writer and blogger with over three years’ experience creating blog posts, articles, copy, and content for international travel brands, booking sites, hotel chains, and travel guides. I've had stories published in National Geographic Traveler and The Huffington Post, and work circulated with the Lonely Planet Magazine. Travel is my biggest passion, and in the past few years I've explored 30 countries. I've bungee jumped in South Africa, sipped tea on the streets of Sarajevo, and I recently moved to a small town just outside Barcelona to start a new adventure. I currently spend my time running two of my own travel blogs and helping brands to create beautiful stories that span the globe. My main aim, though, is to encourage people to get out there and explore the big wide world!

  • Lizzy awesome post, thanks! You mention that it’s not cool to be the guy who just sits in the hostel all day because they are afraid to talk to other people, aside from the rather curt advice to “MTFU” – any other tips on putting yourself out there?

    • MTFU is always great advice! But if you’re looking for specifics, loads of destinations have activities that are solo-traveler friendly. I’d suggest signing up for a walking tour as soon as you arrive in a new place because a) you’ll get your bearings and b) you’ll meet some people who are also new to the city! Lots of hotels/hostels run day trips and excursions, too, so if you’re feeling particularly lonely then hop on one of those as there are usually a tonne of other like-minded travelers doing them. And, if you’re feeling brave, why not sign up for a bar crawl?! There’s no better way to meet people than over a few bevvies, right?!