Humans are very social creatures – we’ve had thousands of years of sticking together in groups. Safety in numbers, after all! Therefore, it’s no wonder that even the bravest of people tend to have their reservations about travelling solo.
While in today’s age of cheap and easy international travel, most of us don’t bat an eyelid at the thought of a lad’s trip to Thailand or Bali, the thought of adventuring out on your lonesome is a little less attractive. What if you get mugged? Lost? Or worse – wind up drinking alone in a bar?
Of course, like most things in life, some of the very best experiences lay outside your comfort zone. Here’s our top 5 reasons why you should travel solo for your next holiday.
IT’S REALLY EASY TO MEET PEOPLE.
Even though the idea of being alone is what turns most people off solo travel, in reality if you’re a half-way social person, you’re likely to find a bunch of new mates within minutes of arriving at your solo destination. And if you’re not – did you even want to meet people anyway?
When you travel in a group or in a couple, you can inadvertently give off a vibe of, ‘no new friends, thanks, I’ve got that sorted.’ By contrast, solo travellers are universally recognised as friends and drinking buddies just waiting to happen. Best of all, you’ve already got travel in common, so there’s unlikely to be any awkward silences or mind-numbing small talk about the weather. You’ll be sharing cool travel stories in no time. Just maybe keep an eye on your wallet, in case your “friendly new local buddy” is actually “accomplished local pickpocket”.
DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO – AND NOTHING ELSE.
No matter how much you love your mates, there’s always that one guy who loves waking up at the crack of dawn, or who thinks that five hours at an aviation museum is absolutely unmissable. Which is fantastic if you share these views – and absolutely terrible if you don’t.
By contrast, as a solo traveller, your days are only shaped by you. You don’t need to worry about anyone else or find room in your itinerary to please them. Feel like writing off the whole day and sitting in your AirBnB going down a Wikipedia rabbit hole on the free wifi? Go for it. Want to see the sun come up after partying all night at a club? Do it – you don’t need to tell anyone when you’ll be home and you certainly don’t have to be up at 7am to miss the line at the Eiffel Tower. This time is 100% yours.
LEARN TO LOVE YOUR OWN COMPANY
In this social media obsessed day and age, there’s this certain connectedness that follows us everywhere. We spend a huge amount of time listening to other people, and have usually come to rely on them for entertainment and also advice in shaping what we want to do.
When you are travelling solo, you can expect to have a fair bit of downtime where you’re just totally alone with your thoughts. While your initial reaction may be ‘oh no, I’ll be such a loner’, in reality coming to enjoy your own company is a great thing. Plus, there’s nothing like the 8 hours hiking up a mountain alone to make you think about your life and what you want. Maybe it’s telling your hideous boss to stick it (maybe give that one a second thought when you get home) or a great side hustle idea, learning to listen to you is a great part of solo travel.
Group trips are great, but have you ever been on one where there wasn’t some kind of drama? You know, having to rescue your mate after he went on some drunken adventure in Phuket with God-knows-who or some monster argument with your partner fuelled by jet-lag and living out of a suitcase together? It just happens.
Except it doesn’t when you travel solo. There’s no one there to have a drama with. Plus, even if you do happen to encounter any kind of drama while you are travelling solo, you can just nope out of there. New buddy at the hostel getting on your nerves? All good, nothing is keeping you there. Just imagine – a totally drama-free holiday.
GROW AS A PERSON
Yeah, it’s a cliché, you don’t have to tell me. But it’s so true it’s worth adding onto this list. They say that travel makes you richer, by making you braver, more confident, and more independent. Well if that’s what you get from travel, you get even more from conquering the world with only yourself to rely on.
Pitching new ideas to your boss is going to seem like child’s play after you’ve successfully navigated your way around a sprawling metro in an unknown city. Similarly, first dates back home will be a breeze after you’ve managed to get someone’s phone number using only your charming smile and translation app.
Solo travel introduces you to new people and new ideas, in a way that you can often miss out on while busy trying to keep a group or partner happy. You can expect not only to return with a bunch of awesome stories to tell your mates, but also with a wider perspective on things.