Even though I’ve been happily coupled up for many years, and happily part of a family for years before that, I’ve never lost my joy in traveling alone.  Much as I miss the company of those I love, there’s something about the pleasure and inspiration that comes from hitting the road alone that makes it a wholly different experience.  Here are some of the many benefits I’ve found in traveling solo.

Is Traveling Alone Fun?

Yes, if you’re doing it right.  But know yourself first.  If you are someone who revels in company and draws your energy from others, then traveling alone might be hard work.  For other people, time alone is an opportunity to recharge.  Before you go, think about how you might make the experience better for yourself.  Make sure you’ve got wifi if time chatting over Skype will renew and refresh your enthusiasm.  Take mini-projects to do in your down time, to make sure you’re not bored on the road.  Resolve to try and make new friends along the way, or to meet people you know online.  These are all things that will help you find out how to travel alone happily.

13 Lucky Benefits of Traveling Solo

Traveling Alone Grows Your Confidence

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of knowing that you are relying on yourself.  Whether it’s making sure that you’re in the right place at the right time for travel connections, finding that elusive accommodation or even making your mind up as to whether something is a good idea, it’s all down to you.  Growing to trust your own judgement is powerful and intoxicating.

It makes You Resourceful

Left your undies at home?  Missed the last train back to your accommodation?  Shoes fallen apart on the trail?  Whatever life throws at you, you need to cope.  And cope you will, although it can be frustrating at the time.  When I managed to get thoroughly lost in Brussels, I knew I was going to find my apartment again.  It was just a matter of time.  And around 20,000 steps.  I felt a bit daft.  But I also felt glad that I’d managed to sort it for myself.  And I learned that two power banks are better than one when it comes to navigating via apps.

It Makes You Careful

After all, you need to trust in your ability to take care of yourself.  Whether that’s in the choices you make in where to go, or who to trust, knowing that you’re in it alone focuses the mind wonderfully on the level of risk you’re willing to accept.

You Make Your Own Discoveries

My partner’s a sweetheart, and one of the things I love is his excitement when faced with a new place.  “Come and look at this!”  “Have you seen that tree with all the oranges?”  Traveling alone, I get to find these things for myself.  And while I might miss some, I can linger on the things that catch my eye.  All those statues on the Stadhuis in Leuven.  A busker whose repertoire I love.  A new piece of public art riverside.  All for me to spot and savour, each one a treasure.

Traveling Solo Gives You Time To Reflect

The time you’d normally spend chatting before bed, or on the train, or walking around a city is now yours.  Maybe you want to read a book set in the country of your travels.  Perhaps you want to investigate the history of the fascinating building you saw yesterday.  It’s a whole lot of time you don’t normally have.  Use it wisely.  Write a journal.  Start your novel.  Use that freedom.

You Can Make Your Own Choices (And Be Selfish In A Good Way)

Sometimes you just want to wallow in your own joys.  Whether it’s gardens, art, history, books, live music, it’s your time and your rules.  So if taking yet another trip on the riverboat makes you happy, you get to do it without taking into account someone else’s preferences.  Of course it means you miss out on their joys too, but that’s for the trips you take together.

But it Makes You Reach Out To others

When you travel with other people, you always have a closer bond there than with anyone you meet on the road.  Traveling alone encourages you to make more connections.  Whether it’s taking a class or workshop – perhaps chocolate making or yoga – in a new place, or simply chatting to the person at the next table over lunch, you get to be more open.

Traveling Alone will Improve Your Language Skills

As you’re the one who needs to make all the arrangements, you get to do all the talking.  And whether it’s learning as you go, or harnessing the power of mime and the odd noun, it’s wildly satisfying to understand and be understood when you’re on the road.

You’ll get to Know Yourself Better

Traveling alone brings all kinds of new discoveries about yourself.  You’ll learn more about what makes you stressed or annoys you.  You’ll find yourself doing things you didn’t know you could, and that’s empowering.

You Can Misplace Your Comfort Zone

And that’s a very good thing indeed.  Travel can shake you out of your normal habits enough to make you question them.  I’m not sure I’ve ever returned home the same person that left.  So don’t be afraid to try a different you, and if you like that change, keep it.

Feeling anxious?  That’s entirely natural.  I found some brilliant tips on managing travel anxiety on solo trips here.  There are lots of strategies discussed that can help you have your best experiences.

There’s Sweet Pain In Missing Those You Love

Parting may be a sweet sorrow, but there’s nothing like traveling alone to remind you of the good things in your life back home.  Distance can give us a sharp elbow in the ribs to remind us just how much we miss our loved ones.  Being a little bit homesick on the road is no bad thing.  It tells us just how much we’re missing.  And just think of all we’re bringing back home to energise and refresh those relationships.

It Can Be Less Stressful

I think we’ve all been there.  Those travel plans that seemed a good idea at the time, but turned into a disappointment.  Whether it’s relationships or friendships that soured on the road, or simply a complete mismatch of priorities, values or preferences, travel can highlight the differences between us.  So if you’re a culture vulture and your mate loves a beach and a novel, sometimes solo travel’s the way forward.

It Can Make You Happier

If both holidays and time alone are proven to make most of us happier, then clearly time traveling alone has to be even better.  We’ll take all the happies we can get.

Want More encouragement to Travel Solo?

So now you know how to travel alone.  And if you wanted any further encouragement on the benefits of time alone, look no further than Psychology Today’s article on how spending time alone can change your life.

You can read about my last solo trip to Brussels here.  And check out all that I’ve learned in my 50 years on the road, condensed into 50 helpful tips here.

Want to remember the benefits of solo travel?  Pin this for later.

13 Lucky Benefits of Traveling Solo

Author: Bernie

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13 thoughts on “13 Lucky Benefits of Traveling Solo

  1. solo travel are the best for me !

    Posted on September 3, 2018 at 6:15 am
    1. That’s brilliant – glad you’re enjoying your solo travels. I love both solo and with my partner – great in different ways.

      Posted on September 3, 2018 at 7:09 pm
  2. Can’t wait to travel solo after reading this.

    Posted on September 3, 2018 at 8:55 am
    1. It’s a fabulous adventure, and such a different feeling. Challenging, but empowering all at once.

      Posted on September 3, 2018 at 7:06 pm
  3. Great article! We travel as a couple and we definitely see some of the reverse side of these benefits. The language skills is a really good point – we didn’t learn as much as we’d liked on our world trip, because we always had each other to speak to in English.

    Posted on September 3, 2018 at 9:00 am
    1. I only realised in Belgium just how much more French I spoke when alone – fortunately I was in the French-speaking part as my Flemish is really bad!

      Posted on September 3, 2018 at 7:05 pm
  4. I think everyone should travel solo at least once in their life. I always learn the most about myself during my solo travels.

    Posted on September 3, 2018 at 5:44 pm
    1. I feel that way too. It’s surprising how much difference even small trips can make.

      Posted on September 3, 2018 at 7:03 pm
  5. My first solo was in April. I got confident after that and here at my workplace I became an inspiration all of a sudden. ❤️Solo ventures… Even though going out with BAE is greatly relishing too.

    Posted on September 3, 2018 at 7:20 pm
    1. Great to hear you’re trailblazing for the solo ventures, but still enjoying travel with your partner too. I’m loving the best of both worlds.

      Posted on September 3, 2018 at 7:30 pm
  6. Making the most of solo travelling is empowering. Go you!

    Posted on September 3, 2018 at 7:56 pm
  7. I agree with all of these points. I love travelling on my own. Maybe it is because to me travel is an escape and I can only really do that on my own

    Posted on September 5, 2018 at 12:23 pm
    1. I get that sense of escape totally. The very quietness somehow lets me process things differently.

      Posted on September 5, 2018 at 12:50 pm