Travelling Solo Has its Advantages and Being Prepared is Key.
Some people may think you’re running away from something, some people may think you’re slightly crazy and your parents probably think you need to just go get something out of your system, but travelling solo doesn’t have to be any of these things, it could simply just mean you want to get away and not wait around forever for someone to do it with.
The first time you go away on a solo trip can be daunting and you’re probably saying to yourself, ‘’just this once’’, but after you get over the initial fear, you’ll start to realise how many benefits solo travel actually has and will probably do it again. In 2019 the solo travel movement is going from strength to strength, with a 2018 report in the Telegraph from Hitwise, the largest UK behavioral research tool, there was a 143% increase in searches for the term ‘solo travel’. Plus under30experiences reported that 80% of its clients travel on their own. With this rise in solo travel, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits.
Meet More People and Improve Language Skills
Travelling with your friends and family usually means you stick with your friends and family – why talk to anyone else if you have them to talk to. It’s hard to jump out of your comfort zone and chat to new people, but when you’re on your own, you generally push yourself to be more social. Travelling solo pushes you to actually talk to new people, as you’ll probably want to make new friends after being on your own for a few days. If you’re an introvert or a shy person, this can be liberating and you’ll realise it’s not as hard as you think after you’ve done it a few times.
You Can Be Selfish
Being in a large group is great at times, but that usually means having to consult the whole group everywhere you go. Travelling alone gives you that luxury of being completely selfish and not worrying about what others think. If you want to visit that obscure landmark or museum, you don’t have to worry about someone else not wanting to go there, you just go! Do you want to sit on the beach all day.......don’t feel guilty, just do it!
You’ll Learn to Look After Yourself
While of course it’s great to have someone to rely on and help make decisions with you, travelling solo forces you to cope with situations on your own. That might sound quite daunting, but it’ll help you grow as a person and become more capable and self-reliant. If you can’t read maps well, you might usually rely on your friend to do the navigating – solo adventuring will teach you to navigate more efficiently. Other minor problems you may experience, you’ll have to work out yourself meaning your problem solving skills will improve.
You’ll Learn More About Yourself
Being around people constantly can mean you lose a little part of your identity. If you usually travel with strong characters, they may take the lead often and you end up going wherever they want to go. When travelling solo, you can really re-connect with yourself again and learn what you like, where you want to go and what makes you happy. Take the time to just sit and watch the world go by if you want, go on that long hike or even start writing that book you’ve always wanted to start.
Good Things Will Happen Outside Your Comfort Zone
We all love to be comfortable and staying just within our comfort zone seems like a good thing. Stepping out of that comfortable place can seem super scary at the start, but once you’ve made the leap, you’ll have amazing experiences that you’ll never forget. You’ll become a stronger person, a more capable person, a more sociable person and right outside that comfort zone could be where that amazing, life changing moment is waiting to happen.
Top Tips to Master Solo Travel
- Do your research. Fail to plan or plan to fail as the saying goes! You don’t have to plan out every single detail, but having an idea of where you’re going, the layout of the area, costs in local currency and the safety level will help you immensely.
- Stay alert and don’t flash cash/valuables. Speaking with locals can be the best way to get to know a place, but it’s always best to keep your wits about you and if you feel uncomfortable, make excuses and leave. Keep valuables and cash in a hidden pocket like a waist belt or this secret hidden pocket infinity loop scarf and don’t get large amounts out and count it in the street – you don’t know who could be watching.
- Have an open mind and step out of your comfort zone. While you need to trust your gut and stay alert, most people are genuinely nice and talking with locals can lead onto some wonderful new experiences. Accepting a dinner invitation from a local family could be an incredible way to get a first-hand look into local customs, just make sure you know where you’re going and you feel safe.
- Push yourself to talk to new people. You may have only lived in one place before and had the same set of friends for years. Travelling is the time to open your eyes to new ways of living, increase your confidence and talk to new, interesting people.
- Arrive early in new destinations. If you’re arriving into a new destination, it’s always advisable to get there early on in the day, allowing you to scope out the new area. This gives you time to get to know the best areas to stay, cheap eats and the areas to avoid.
- Have copies of important documents and spare cash cards. This is the nightmare we all hope never happens, but it’s good to prepare for the worst. Have a photocopy of your passport and any visa pages and have backup cash cards for if one card gets blocked or you lose it.
- Update friends and family. Lastly it’s always a good idea to keep friends and family updated when travelling solo on where you are and where you’re staying. This will give them peace of mind and you peace of mind that if something goes wrong, they know where to look for you.