Thinking of traveling solo this year? I support that! As a solo female traveler myself, I couldn’t recommend traveling alone more. If you’re eager to try it, or just need a reminder – here are ten reasons to travel alone this year.
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It’s no secret that I’m a huge proponent of solo travel. In particular, solo female travel.
I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that traveling alone across six continents has largely shaped me into who I am today. My confidence, curiosity, and the belief that we are more similar than different across the globe has all flourished with each border I crossed.
At the same time, I can understand having hesitations about traveling solo. But I’m here to assure you that the benefits of going it alone far outweigh any pitfalls you may run into.
Here are ten reasons to travel alone – this year – and I can all but guarantee that you will come out a stronger, more confident version of yourself on the other side!
10 Reasons to Travel Alone This Year
1. You’ll have time to reflect.
It has been a year, girl. A rough one.
It seems like the world gets more complicated with each trip around the sun. Faster. Busier. And maybe more difficult.
If there was ever a time for quiet self-reflection in nature, that time is now.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been spending some time lately rethinking my life. Not that I can complain – I’ve had fabulous years with the normal ups and downs life will throw at you. But, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I want for the future.
On my LAST trip to Aruba, I purposely left my computer at home and scheduled in one full day that I would not be driving and running around, exploring the island caves and beaches. One full day to reflect, read, and relax.
Of all the reasons to travel alone, this is arguably one of the most important ones. It’s in these quiet times of reflection that we can assess the choices we’ve made and the trajectory our life is heading, and decide if we are content or need to make some changes. It’s these quiet times of reflection that we get in touch with our soul.
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2. You’ll have some unbelievable stories (that no one else can tell but you!)
My good friend back home is always in awe of the adventures I have traveling solo. Both the adventures that I purposely arrange, and ones that I stumble into, it makes no difference – I usually have her cracking up by the end of my travel recap.
For instance – how about that time I was purposely dropped onto a deserted island off of Malaysia – with no way to boat back to the mainland?
Or, that time I made local friends hiking a volcano in Nicaragua, and ended up spending a weekend at their family’s beach house for their father’s birthday?
Or, that time I met one of Pablo Escobar’s former bodyguards in Colombia? (And yes, I verified his claims – he has been featured on the History Channel!)
It’s true, you won’t be able to glance at your old friends and say “Remember that time when….” BUT, you’ll have incredible and sometimes-unbelievable stories to share with them! And, as a bonus, you’ll be able to share these memories with those new friends you met during your journey.
3. You’ll become better at solving problems.
This one is unavoidable.
Problems will come up. Things will go awry. And, you will have no one else to lean on to make decisions or solve them.
While at times this can be frustrating, I would say overall this is one of the best things to come out of traveling alone. You become more self-reliant. More confident. More capable, even.
From the language barriers that you will inevitably run into, to the mishaps in train and subway schedules – solo travel forces you to stand on your own two feet and face whatever problems come your way.
This is one of the best, biggest, and deepest reasons to travel alone – because this transformation will be invaluable even back at home.
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4. You’ll learn to appreciate your own company, if you didn’t already.
Maybe I’ve always been a loner in a way, because I chose to travel abroad solo for my first international trip. It wasn’t an unintended consequence of no one wanting to travel with me. I didn’t invite my boyfriend, or friends, or family.
Now that doesn’t mean that every moment of it was easy. I ran into troubles then just as I still do now. But I was definitely comfortable with the idea of being alone.
If this doesn’t feel familiar to you, let me reassure you – spending time with yourself alone is a good thing. Like I mentioned earlier in this article, it gives you time to reflect and get in touch with your soul. It allows you to evaluate your life and your decisions, and make changes as needed.
Constant distractions, noise, and ‘things to do’ are the enemy of appreciating time with yourself. Learning to be your own best friend and celebrating your unique capabilities is a beautiful side effect of traveling alone.
5. YOU are the ruler of the itinerary.
Okay, it’s true – learning to compromise is a valuable skill. I won’t deny it.
But sometimes, you just don’t want to compromise. And frankly, you shouldn’t.
Traveling solo allows you to be the sole ruler of the plans. When you travel with your friends or your partner, you don’t get that authority!
If you want to wake up ungodly-early (as I often do to chase those sunrises), you can do so without anyone complaining that you’re being too loud in the morning or taking the rental car for the day.
Alternatively, if you are desperately tired after a 24 hour flight, you can sleep the day away when necessary (and no one can be mad at you).
You rule the itinerary, the budget, and the choices. When you travel solo, you can do whatever you like, whenever you like, and you don’t have to compromise your plan for anybody.
6. You’ll pick up the language more quickly.
When you are not spending 95% of your time speaking your native language with a travel partner, you will instead begin to pick up the local language more quickly.
This is because your eyes and ears are more in tune with what is around you. You’ll start to notice words and characters repeated on different types of shops, and begin to surmise what they mean. You’ll also hear certain phrases and greetings repeated over and over, sometimes to you, and you’ll begin to understand what message is being conveyed.
There is no easier way to to learn a new language than to completely immerse yourself in a country where that language is spoken. You’ll be forced into speaking the language at markets and in the streets, picking up the words much more quickly.
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7. You’ll meet way more people!
I’ve never found that traveling alone equates to loneliness. Remember above where I mentioned that you really learn to appreciate your own company?
Well I’d take that one step further and point out that traveling solo usually means that you meet more locals. Whether they’re just curious about you or want to take you under their wing, I’ve noticed that many more locals approach me when I’m solo.
You’ll get local recommendations on what to see and where to eat. On my recent trip to Aruba, a local worker hooked me up with tons of food for the birds at Flamingo Beach which helped me out in a big way once I ran out of coins. All because we were chatting the entire boat ride over! Such a small gesture but it really made my day more memorable!
And on a more grand scale, I’ve made life-long friendships with locals all around the world while traveling solo. Like my friends Faisullah and Mohammed in the Liwa desert, or Amado in Los Cabos. These are people that I actively keep in touch with year after year, and who I met while traveling alone. Almost nothing is more valuable than that.
8. You are in charge of the budget.
Just like the itinerary, the budget is another integral piece that can make or break your trip. If you’re traveling with friends or a partner, blowing the budget can mean stress later on, while penny-pinching can cause arguments in the here-and-now.
One thing that I’ve noticed about traveling with friends, each person will often have different priorities on where the money should go. Some want a swanky beachfront room as a top priority, while others like to go out on expensive wine tours, while others perhaps don’t drink at all or don’t mind walking two blocks to the beach.
While these are things can can be easily worked out with good communication, sometimes it is nice to not have to worry about them at all.
Different travel styles and opinions of where to splurge become non-obstacles when traveling alone. You get to choose where you splurge and where you scrimp. And, no one goes home disappointed (or broke. Hopefully.
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9. You’ll say goodbye to your comfort zone (and that’s a good thing).
Becoming more confident and self-assured is hands down one of the top reasons to travel alone, ever. And, the way to get there is to say goodbye to your comfort zone.
Solo travel has made me more bold in my decisions, more empathetic in my view of the world, and more connected to the people around me. I’ve learned more from solo travel than I ever could have predicted, and even now it continues.
For example, before traveling to Egypt as a solo female, even after my many times in the Middle East, others warned me not to go. And even though I came back safe and sound, people still try to tell me that it wasn’t a good idea.
When you’re pushed out of your comfort zone – the society and situations that you know best – you’re forced to contemplate your hard yes’s and no’s. You begin to consider things that you’ve never considered before. And, you begin to form your own opinion of the world, rather than what the media dictates.
My opinion? Egypt is completely doable as a solo female and is filled with wonderful people. Are there other things you need to factor in when you go solo? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.
10. It’s just plain fun!
Is there any better reason to travel solo other than “it’s just plain fun!”
With all of the highs and lows, traveling alone is unforgettable. Incredible. Life-changing, I’d even say. How could this not be fun?
You choose the destination. You choose the itinerary. You choose the budget. The daily plans. The wake up time. To stay longer in one spot or to move on earlier than expected. It’s all up to you.
If there’s only one reason to travel alone this year, let it be that solo travel is fun.
So take the plunge. Do it. Get out there and solo travel this year. it just might be the best decision you make!
Where will you be traveling solo this year? Let me know below!
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