Travelstart writer, Rebecca Houston, is sold on solo travel … and gives us so many reasons why!
- Have the freedom to be as spontaneous as you like
Travelling solo means you can go where the adventure takes you. If you make a new friend you can change your plans as you like without worrying about derailing others’ travel plans.
- You’ll focus on the destination
Don’t come back from Rome with the memory of a silly argument over where to eat. Travelling alone gives you the opportunity to really connect with the people and places around you without the safety blanket and insulation of a travel buddy.
- You have complete financial control
When you travel with friends and family, budgeting can be a headache. Someone might want to eat out most nights while someone else might want to go the ‘two-minute noodles’, backpackers’ route.
When you travel alone you don’t have to worry about pleasing everyone or breaking the bank.
- Challenge yourself
“Most travel, and certainly the rewarding kind, involves depending on the kindness of strangers…” – Paul Theroux
Get out of your comfort zone when you travel alone.
You’ll need to think on your feet and you’ll have to learn to rely on your own resourcefulness – an invaluable skill that will give you a huge boost of confidence.
- Give yourself a proper holiday
Solo travel is a break from compromise. When you travel solo you get to make the decisions! It’s a rare opportunity to be a little selfish, in a good way. You call the shots. You don’t have to worry about pleasing everyone or breaking the bank.
- Give yourself time to reflect
“The inner journey of travel is intensified by solitude” – Paul Theroux
Take time out from your hectic schedule to reconnect with your inner thoughts. A slower pace of life, with time to take in the sunset, to read, to climb a mountain, to drink a coffee in the sun at a sidewalk cafe- these are the rewards of solo travel.
Solo travel gives you time to rejuvenate and have a holiday free from distractions and reminders of work stress.
- Once you’ve done it once you’ll be hooked forever
It sounds intimidating but once you’ve taken the leap and made your first solo journey (something that a growing number of modern travellers are choosing to do) you’ll be hooked forever!
- You never return the way you left
“You go away for a long time and return a different person – you never come all the way back,” writes Paul Theroux.
Travel to discover the new you and to open your eyes to different modes of life. Solo travel is an opportunity to embrace new cultures and to immerse yourself in a whole new world. Volunteer when you travel or choose to stay longer in one place to really get to know its daily rhythms and nuances.
- Experiences are way more valuable than things
Studies have shown that the secret to happiness is spending money on experiences, not things. Recent research from San Francisco State University found that the thrill of purchasing things quickly fades but travel memories last a lifetime. When you invest in solo travel you’re investing in an experience you’ll get to keep forever.
Solo travel refreshes, it challenges, it’s an adventure, an opportunity to expand your horizons, to discover stuff about yourself and the world you never knew…
As the celebrated American travel writer Paul Theroux advises:
“There are three basic rules of travelling. Travel on the ground. Travel alone when possible. Keep notes. That’s it.”
- Travelling solo doesn’t necessarily mean travelling alone
It may seem counter-intuitive but when you travel alone it’s often easier to make friends. Locals and fellow travellers are more open to speaking to a solo traveller, and you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to start a conversation with someone.
The best ways to travel solo:
“Anything is possible on a train: a great meal, a binge, a visit from card players, an intrigue, a good night’s sleep, and strangers’ monologues framed like Russian short stories.” ― Paul Theroux
Railway travel is a wonderful way to experience a country through its landscapes and through encounters with people on the train. You also have lots of time to stare dreamily out of the window, read and reflect on your travels.
By package tour
This may sound counter-intuitive, however, if you’re not ready to go it alone completely and just wish to dip a toe into solo travel, why not consider an organised tour? You’ll meet like-minded fellow travellers but also have time to yourself.