While many people seem to think traveling solo equals certain death, the reality is that it’s much safer than people make it out to be. If I had a nickel for every time someone referenced the movie Taken whenever I bring up the topic of solo travel, especially as a woman, I’d have a hell of a lot of nickels.
Traveling alone doesn’t have to be dangerous as long as you’re smart, and often times our destination can be statistically safer than home. This is especially true for me since my hometown apparently has one of the highest crime rates in the country, which came as a surprise to me because I’ve never been a victim of crime and have always felt very safe here.
If this is true for my hometown, then it’s true for everywhere else. The world tends to be safer than what the media portrays in my experience. Of course, this doesn’t mean that bad things can’t happen, it just mean we need to make smart choices and have an open mind.
Other than the safety concern, you’re probably wondering why on earth you would want to travel all by yourself anyway. You may think it’s boring and lonely.
Not so, my friends, not so!
Traveling solo is an incredible and liberating experience and it comes with many benefits – 6 of which I’ve listed down below for your reading pleasure, and I’m sure they will convince you give solo travel a shot.
SOLO TRAVEL BENEFITS
YOU DON’T HAVE TO COMPROMISE
When you travel with family or friends you often have to make compromises on what you want to do in order to make the whole group happy. A lot of the things you want to see or do get cut from the itinerary because your travel partner doesn’t want to try them. And honestly, this sucks.
But, when you travel solo you have ultimate freedom.
Want to go eat that weird rare delicacy the locals love? Go for it! Want to go trekking through the rainforest? Be my guest. You want to go to that cute little café you saw earlier? Well I have news for you – you can! With no one but yourself to dictate what you do, you won’t end up feeling like you missed out on great experiences.
GO AT YOUR OWN PACE
When it comes to traveling to a new destination, most people want to see as much as possible and try to fit in as much of the main attractions and tourist sites as they can.
Of course, we are all guilty of this and there is a reason for that – sometimes the tourist attractions are really cool!
But when travel starts to resemble checking off boxes on a to-do list, we start to miss out on what travel is really all about. Personally when I travel I like to take it slow. I want to soak up the locations and immerse myself in a new culture, and yes, visit a few touristy places if it interests me.
Traveling solo allows me to go at the slow pace I prefer so I don’t end up feeling burnt out and unsatisfied.
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LONELY
As an introvert, I absolutely love doing things on my own. Eating in a restaurant by myself doesn’t scare me and I oddly think it’s fun to go to the movies alone, so it’s no surprise that solo travel appeals to me.
However, I know most people are not like this and one of the greatest fears of solo travel is getting lonely. The good thing is that solo doesn’t have to always be solo, it’s super easy to meet people on your travels, especially when you’re staying in hostels.
The best part is you’ll meet like-minded people, people who understand your love of travel and can share their own stories with you.
YOU CAN TRAVEL THE WAY YOU WANT
Budget travel is my best friend. If I can save money on flights or accommodation I absolutely will. This way, I can travel longer and save money for future trips.
However, many of the people aren’t very keen on the idea of hostels, couch surfing or budget airlines. They prefer luxury travel, and that’s completely fine! It’s just not how I typically travel since it’s not in my budget.
If you’re traveling solo you won’t feel pressured to pay extra for something you don’t want to, or alternatively, settle for something cheaper when you prefer luxury travel.
I’m sure many of you have had that one travel partner that was just the worst. You couldn’t agree on anything, you had different interests, maybe she like to party and you didn’t – the list goes on. The thing is, not all friends make good travel buddies, and a lot of drama can happen if you guys aren’t compatible.
Traveling solo will free you from unwanted drama and potentially save your friendships.
GAIN CONFIDENCE AND INDEPENDENCE
Solo travel can be very empowering. Just that first step of buying your plane ticket and setting off can make you feel scared and strong all at once.
When you are in a foreign country with no one to rely on but yourself, you have to learn to make some hard decisions and figure things out quickly. It’s difficult, for sure, but it gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment and you’ll learn things about yourself along the way that you didn’t know before.