Solo travelling, especially females travelling solo, is seen as a massive risk, and of course, there are some disadvantages. In my opinion, the advantages outweigh it. Travelling solo to me has always been something I wanted to experience, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. When I finally did it, it went from a lifetime experience to something that will always be a part of my life.
The most common thing I hear when travelling solo is “Are you really going to travel to another country alone?”
"Yes, I am"
This is then followed by “Oh you're so brave…I couldn’t ever do that…” and so on.
Let’s talk about the benefits to travelling solo. Would you do it?
Solo travelling, especially females travelling solo, is seen as a massive risk, and of course, there are some disadvantages. In my opinion, the advantages outweigh it. Travelling solo to me has always been something I wanted to experience, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. When I finally did it, it went from a lifetime experience to something that will always be a part of my life. I will always do it whenever I will get the chance to. It is a lifetime experience because it changes your whole perspective of life, you learn so much about yourself and it is so fun.
Check out my 5 major benefits of travelling solo below and see if any of these can persuade you to take that leap!
My way or no way!
One of the biggest benefits of travelling solo is that you can be selfish. It’s your trip, you can plan exactly what you want to do. When travelling with others, like friends or family they all have an idea of where they would like to visit. Do your friends prefer beach holidays while you prefer city breaks? You can skip the beach this time and head over to any city you like. If you love to visit museums and other cultural spots in the city you can visit them at your leisure. Another great benefit is that you have more time to rest. While travelling is exciting and you have a list of things to do before returning home, it is sometimes nice to just stop and relax. If travelling with others you may be running on a tight agenda all day, solo travelling means stopping the agenda at any time to go back to your room for a nap or sitting outside a coffee shop for hours watching people-watching. Travelling teaches you a lot about yourself, of what you are interested in, your abilities and how you deal with situations. Allowing yourself the time while solo travelling to reflect and focus on yourself, is as important as visiting all the big cultural attractions. Being away from home, even for a short while gives you some perspective so lean into that!
Met new people
One of the best benefits of solo travelling is meeting new people. When travelling with friends and family you tend to stick to the group you are with. It doesn’t leave you with many opportunities to chat with the locals or make new travelling friends. Travelling solo can be lonely at times, so it is beneficial to try to reach out to someone for the time you are there. Even just having a local shop you visit every morning, could mean a conversation. From my experience of travelling solo, the locals love meeting solo travellers and teaching them a few keywords of their language! Another great way to meet new friends is to stay in a hostel. Although some people would be nervous to stay in a room with strangers, push yourself out of your comfort zone. If you don’t like it at least you can tick one travel experience off your list. However, friends for life are made in hostels. It is also full of different people from all walks of life around the world and everyone has a story to tell. I have learned some of the interesting things from guests in hostels. The best thing about hostels is that some run day and night activities which lead you to meet loads of people and seeing some cultural spots that only the locals would know. For TEFL Teachers, why not try out an internship abroad or even just getting a job abroad? As exciting and convenient as teaching English online, getting to teach in a classroom abroad even once is an exciting solo adventure.
One major benefit of solo travel is the confidence boost you will get! Travelling to an unknown country can be daunting by yourself. You don’t know the lay of the land and you may not know the language. You must organize everything from booking flights, finding your accommodation, getting around the spot you travelled to, and getting yourself back home. This can be very daunting for other people as it requires a lot of organization and problem-solving at times. Lost your passport or luggage? You’ll have to figure out how to fix the situation. However, most issues are soluble, and you will know for next time. All the issues and obstacles that come up with solo travelling are just advancing your problem-solving and decision-making skills. This will not only stand to you while travelling but in every area of life. Using these skills and finding solutions also will give you a major confidence boost. Travelling solo also makes you step out of your comfort zone and it makes you more likely to step out of it more often when you come back home. An example of this was that I was terrified to do presentations and stand in front of crowds. After a few solo trips, presentations and crowds weren’t suddenly as much of an issue, because if I had the confidence to solo travel to another country, I could do this! This type of mindset really changed my confidence and ability to do a lot of things in my life and it all stemmed from solo travelling.
An obvious benefit of solo travelling is how much further your money can go. You are only paying for one set of plane tickets, one bed in a hostel or a room in a hotel, and other expenses. Dinner is for one! I have discussed the price of some of my trips with friends who are couples, and they are shocked at how much cheaper it is going alone. Going on a trip alone means you have more money to extend a trip if you want or to go to them pricey tourist attractions!
It can be life-changing
Travelling solo can be completely life-changing. It is a time of immense growth and courage. Bringing yourself on that trip you always wanted to do alone, is a major step outside your comfort zone. It is a chance to meet people from around the world, people you would never have had the chance to. One of my favourite solo travel stories to this day involves a dodgy hostel door in Budapest. Everyone staying in the room knew you had to give the door a good kick for it to open fully, however, the new girl who just came in wasn’t aware. She had decided to unpack her backpack behind the door while I was trying to get into the room. Upon hitting her with the door, she burst out laughing while I was trying to explain the door and how sorry I was at one go. We became very close and went on to travel to Budapest, Bratislava, and Prague together over the next few days. To this day we are still friends and have plenty of future travel plans. In the words of Mark Twain ‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do’, so give it a go!
Travelling solo has many benefits including an increase in your confidence and in making decisions. It leads to making new friends and having adventures that suit you! If you are considering travelling solo but are nervous to go completely alone, why not become a TEFL Teacher? There are plenty of TEFL jobs all over the world, which gives you a safer option of travelling solo. It means you could stay in one place for a while, and you will have the income to be able to explore the country fully. You also could meet other TEFL Teachers in the school you work for, creating lifelong friends and adventure pals! Why not check out our courses here https://teflinstitute.com/# and see how TEFL could benefit your solo trip of a lifetime!