10. You create your itinerary. You get to decide what experiences you want to have, without compromise. If you’re more a wine person but your travel partner HAS to tour Heineken, guess where you’re going to spend the afternoon? That may be fine, but I never want to waste time doing things I’m not totally passionate about and you don’t have to, when you’re traveling on your own! You can decide how to best spend YOUR time.
9. Being solo makes planning easier- it’s always easier to buy 1 plane ticket than 10, very rarely do buses sell out completely. There’s always a spot for one more! And buying one of those last-minute, only-a-handful-left tickets can be cheaper as well, some companies will lower the price closer to time of departure in order to try and sell out. You also have a lot more travel options, you know what you can handle. For instance, I’m taking a bus from Brussels to Glasgow instead of flying, and saving a ton of money. It’s a 16 hour bus ride, but I’m fine on buses, I know I can handle it. When you’re on your own, you only have to consider yourself.
8. You feel like a badass. Traveling alone is super empowering. You feel like an artist, writing your own story and cultivating your experiences. Groups of travelers at hostels I stay at always seem impressed when I’m say I’m travelling on my own, and that gives me a ton of confidence. Be proud of yourself! Traveling solo takes guts and is a huge accomplishment!
7. More time for YOU- are you exhausted, a bit hungover, little worse for the wear one day? Take it easy, sleep in, get coffee and write for a bit. If you’re in a group, you might have to suck up that awful hangover headache and get to that walking tour! Or whatever the group’s plan is for the day, but not when you’re solo. Lots of time for self-care and that’s very important!!
6. You’ll make new friends, but only if you want them, no strings attached. I love meeting new groups of people at my hostels, usually I’ll start talking to a group in the hostel bar and then we will go out on the town to explore together! Creates an awesome community atmosphere in the hostel if you’re familiar with the travelers. But, you’re also still in control, so if you make friends with someone and they invite you to go on a tour or to a museum, it’s totally cool to say “no thanks, Id rather do my own thing today.” After all, you’re alone, you’re not in their group, you answer to you only.
5. “what a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.”- Ellen Burstyn. One of my Favourite quotes and it really is true, especially when traveling solo. It’s wonderful to hang out with yourself, and truly appreciate your own company! I also feel that I experience things more fully when I’m not distracted by someone else. It’s great to have friends, but wonderful to be comfortable with just your own consciousness.
4. You may do things you normally wouldn’t do- maybe your idea of a great day is just sitting in a cafe for 14 hours and writing, but if you’re travelling in a group, that’s probably not going to happen. Yesterday, while wandering with no schedule, I found a beautiful old church that was unlocked and I sat and listened to old catholic hymns that were playing in the chapel for maybbbbe 90 minutes, and it was just lovely. I’m not a church person, and I don’t know a whole lot of church people, and don’t think I could have or would have ever done something simple like that if I wasn’t alone but honestly it’s one of the highlights of my week. Alternatively I went to the sex museum in Amsterdam on a Tuesday morning at 9am. Ya know. Balance.
3. You learn the kindness of strangers- sometimes when you’re travelling alone you get lost, and I can tell you firsthand that it’s more stressful getting lost on your own. But it’s awesome to realize that no matter what city you’re lost in, someone around you knows where you ada and how to get to where you want to go.
2. You become more present. I got this one from a friend of mine, Christiane, who has her own blog (here) and recently went to Bali for the first time. In speaking with her about her first huge travel experience, she said that “usually home in New York I’ll walk by somewhere that looks cool and say ‘oh, I need to check that out sometime.’ And I either do but mostly forget and never end up going. When I was travelling I found myself having the same thought, but realizing that I had to do those things RIGHT THEN because I may never be back.”
That’s paraphrased from a conversation over wine and I hope it’s close to right, but I love the idea behind this, of living completely in the moment. Definitely something I experienced when I first started travelling as well!
1. You do you. This is the BEST part of solo Travel. You’re in complete control of your adventure. If you get to a city and love it, you can stay a few extra days. This week I planned to spend 5 days in Brussels, but I wasn’t a big fan of my hostel and felt I’d done the city in 2, so I checked out early and hopped a bus to London. You. Can. Do. Whatever. You. Want. And you should! Follow your whims! you don’t answer to anyone. So get out there, and write your very own adventure story!