So you want to book a trip somewhere amazing but none of your friends can take time off of work/afford it/find a dog sitter/[insert excuse here]? If the idea of traveling alone is terrifying to you – I get it! I was in your shoes a few years ago too. I vividly remember the fear I had while boarding a flight to New Zealand on my first solo female trip.
That fear completely evaporated the second I arrived. In fact, I had so much fun traveling alone that I started doing it more often. I quickly realized that the benefits of traveling alone vastly outweigh the fears I had.
Who cares if you don’t have friends who are as keen to travel as you are? Do it anyway! Frankly, you’ll probably have more fun.
#1 Benefits Of Traveling Alone
Get outside your comfort zone
When I was 13 my mom told me I had “cold feet”. I was packing for my first European trip (without my family) and would be gone for the summer as a student ambassador, participating in a group program with other students I barely knew in a foreign country I’d never visited. Not only was this my first international trip, but it was also my first experience being independent, and I was visibly nervous.
Then, when I turned 20, I remember looking behind me as I passed through the security line at my small hometown airport, trying not to sob audibly as tears fell. While I was really looking forward to a semester abroad with my friends, studying in Madrid, Spain, it was hard to leave my country, my family, and my native language for months.
Later, when I was 29, those butterflies visited again as I forced one foot in front of the other to board a 17-hour flight for two weeks in New Zealand and Australia. Completely solo.
Why am I telling you this? Because each of these experiences, where I felt nervous and scared, are pivotal moments in my life. I look back on them and realize how transformative they were for me.
Getting outside of your comfort zone is only hard the first time you do it. Then, that area becomes comfortable, and your zone expands. Expanding your comfort zone opens endless possibilities and adds so much color and choice to your life.
#2 Benefits Of Traveling Alone
Experience personal growth & build confidence
True growth happens when we step outside of our comfort zones. As it is for many things, the experiences I am most uncomfortable with are also the experiences which provide the most personal growth. Each experience opened the door to the next, bigger, experience.
Each step is important. Each step leads to the next.
My first trip taught me comfort with international travel and independence as a young adult. Later, my second trip taught me comfort with submersion in a new culture and language. Lastly, my third trip taught me to be confident in my own capabilities and to be my own source of company, courage, and happiness.
Do what makes you a little uncomfortable. Get outside of your comfort zone. Those are the moments you’ll realize what you’re really made of, and you’ll find new and amazing reasons to love yourself exactly as you are.
#3 Benefits Of Traveling Alone
Discover the real you
As cliche as it may sound, spending time with yourself away from home and outside of your comfort zone will introduce you to new layers of yourself. When you are with others, consciously or unconsciously, you are constantly compromising and making concessions to meet them halfway. What if you didn’t have to compromise? How would your choices change?
Removing the distractions of daily life– dishes, dinner with friends, work, etc– gives you space to make decisions based on want, not obligation. What do you want? Have you ever had the free time or headspace to truly consider that before?
I guarantee you that when you’re on a solo trip you will start to change some habits. Do you sleep in? Try a new cuisine? Maybe you thought you hated museums, but now that you have time to walk the Louvre at your own pace without worrying about someone else’s needs or schedule you’re suddenly enjoying it!
Take advantage of the complete freedom that comes with traveling alone. I bet you’ll surprise yourself with how your preferences evolve.
#4 Benefits Of Traveling Alone
Meet new friends
There is something about solo travel that many people find fascinating- and they’ll want to ask you about it! As a solo traveler you seem much more approachable, so be open to it- people will notice you enjoying your coffee confidently while watching the city buzz and they’ll ask you about your experiences.
This is a great way to meet people from different cultures and backgrounds on a deeper and more authentic level. It will leave you feeling more empathetic, and give you a new perspective for the places you’ve visited.
One of my favorite things about meeting new friends while traveling alone is having contacts all over the world! No matter where I go I know I can plan to meet up with an old friend for lunch. Plus, having friends who know the local hot spots is never a bad thing!
Conclusion – Benefits of traveling alone
Traveling alone can be incredibly empowering. If you’re feeling nervous about it, start by taking shorter, more local trips before branching out internationally.