13 Benefits of Solo Travel That Will Change Your Life

Are you scared to travel alone?  It’s perfectly natural to be nervous, but don’t worry.  Solo travel is one of the most exciting and challenging things I’ve ever done, and it certainly changed my life when I took my first solo trip more than 20 years ago.  I recently wrote about the disadvantages of travelling alone, but now I want to share all of the amazing things that happen when you take the plunge and decide to take a solo trip.  The advantages of travelling alone far outweigh any disadvantages, so let’s discover all the benefits of solo travel!

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What is Solo Travel?

Solo travel simply means travelling alone.  It usually refers to a trip or vacation taken out of choice instead of a work trip, but basically going anywhere by yourself counts as solo travel, from a day trip to a year-long solo backpacking adventure and everything in between.  

Group tours that you join alone also count as solo travel, as you didn’t know anyone else in the group before you started the trip.  There are no rules when it comes to solo travel, no one to tell you what to do when travelling alone, so you get to call the shots!

Me on a Solo Trip in Bolivia with a beautiful blue lake behind me - The Benefits of Solo Travel
Me on a Solo Trip in Bolivia – The Benefits of Solo Travel

Why Travel Alone?

There are many reasons why we might travel alone.  It might be our choice because we prefer to be independent and have some time for ourselves.  It could be because we have recently lost a partner, or don’t have one to travel with.

It could be because our friends are too busy with their jobs or families and aren’t able to join us on adventures.  Or perhaps we just want to go somewhere amazing that doesn’t appeal to anyone else.

Whatever the reasons for travelling alone, there are lots of benefits of solo travel to enjoy as we explore the world by ourselves!  

If you’re worried that solo travel might be lonely, or dreading some of the other disadvantages of solo travel, try not to panic!  While some nerves are to be expected, here’s why you shouldn’t let them stop you from going on an adventure.

Benefits of Travelling Alone

It’s Good for Your Mental Health

Did you know that solo travel can be good for mental health?  While it might seem scary at first, taking the time to focus on yourself and get away from daily stress and pressure can be a huge boost for your well-being.  It’s well documented that going on holiday has mental and physical health benefits, and solo travel is just the same, if not better!

Imagine taking the time just to focus on you and your own needs, and being able to choose to do whatever you want.  Sounds amazing, right?   

Whether it’s indulging in a spa day, journaling by a serene lakeside, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee in a quaint café, solo travellers can tune into their own needs and find solace in moments of tranquillity. This intentional self-care and making time for yourself allows for rejuvenation and personal reflection, promoting mental and emotional well-being. 

Me by the Beach in Peru Staring out to Sea
Me by the Beach in Peru Staring out to Sea

And Physical Health Too! 

Walking is one of the best exercises we can do to stay healthy and there is no better way to explore a new place than on foot.  I love wandering the streets by myself and have racked up 20,000 steps and more in a day’s sightseeing.   

Even if you don’t walk that far, simply getting out of the house and moving around, getting some much-needed vitamin D is still beneficial for your health.  Being away from stress at work helps to lower your blood pressure and allows you to get more sleep so your body can relax and repair itself. 

A change of diet can work wonders too, especially if you indulge in fresh fruit and salads while you’re away – although sampling local cuisine in all its forms is one of my favourite things about travel, even a delicious gelato or three!  

The Freedom to Be Yourself

Travelling alone frees you from the expectations and roles assigned to you in your daily life. You have the freedom to express yourself authentically, without the need to conform to societal norms or accommodate someone else’s preferences.  You can just be you.

If you’re not even sure who you are any more, from years of being what someone else expected you to be, solo travel gives you the chance to (re)discover who you really are.  With your new-found freedom and time to explore your own personality, you can gain a deeper understanding of your strengths and weaknesses and decide what you want from life.

Solo travel allows you to explore your own interests, curiosities, and passions without judgment. It’s an opportunity to embrace self-discovery and personal growth as you discover new aspects of your personality.  Without the influence of others, solo travellers make independent decisions, take risks, and fully embrace their own individuality. 

Me Peeking out of a Hobbit Hole in New Zealand - Be Yourself while Travelling Alone
Me Peeking out of a Hobbit Hole in New Zealand – Be Yourself while Travelling Alone

Empowerment and Independence

Travelling alone empowers you to push the boundaries of societal expectations and gives you the chance to break free from the limitations of stereotypes and having to do the “normal” thing.  You can make your own independent decisions, free from the pressures that family, friends and society impose on us.

Solo travel often presents unique challenges that can be both daunting and exhilarating.  Navigating unfamiliar places, managing logistics, and making decisions on your own terms instil a powerful sense of self-reliance and resilience as you realise you have the power to control your own future. 

Increased Self-Confidence

Solo travel needs self-reliance and problem-solving skills. Without the presence of travel companions to lean on, you become more resourceful in navigating unfamiliar environments, dealing with unexpected situations, and finding solutions to challenges that may arise.

It’s during these solo travel adventures that you will learn to rely on your own instincts, gaining confidence in yourself along the way.

You might be surprised how well you deal with challenges and mishaps when there is no one else there to help.  As you rise up to meet these challenges you will develop a stronger sense of self and an ability to trust your own judgment, both on the road and in other aspects of life.  

Me Hiking Hadrians Wall Northumberland - Advantages of Solo Travel
Me Hiking Hadrians Wall Northumberland – Advantages of Solo Travel

Enhanced Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills

Solo travel demands quick thinking, adaptability, and the ability to make decisions independently. You become adept at assessing situations, weighing options, and finding solutions on the fly. These problem-solving and decision-making skills acquired through solo travel transfer to other aspects of life, enabling you to tackle challenges with greater ease and efficiency.

If you plan to apply for a new job after travelling alone, be sure to highlight these transferable skills on your CV or resume – potential employers will be interested to hear about your solo travel experiences as you can use these skills in many different job roles.

Deeper Cultural Immersion 

One of the greatest joys of solo travel is the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the local culture. Without travel companions, you are more likely to engage with locals who are often curious and friendly towards solo travellers, especially solo females.

Without other people to travel with, you can fully engage with the local community and participate in cultural activities. This kind of immersion fosters empathy, broadens your perspective, and promotes a more inclusive mindset.  

I’d also recommend actively seeking out cultural exchange programs where you can focus on becoming part of the community and learning even more about the place you are travelling to.

Learning How to Make Pasta in Italy
Learning How to Make Pasta in Italy

More Chances to Meet New People

When you travel alone you automatically open yourself up to the chance of meeting new people.  As you won’t be chatting away to your travel buddy people are more likely to approach you and start a conversation as it is less intimidating to talk to one person than it is to two or more!

From chatting with fellow travellers at a bustling night market to sharing stories with a local guide or smiling at someone at the bus stop; the freedom to interact on your own terms opens doors to more authentic exchanges. Get to know new people and open yourself up to building relationships and lifelong friendships.

Improved Language Skills

While you are out there meeting new people and immersing yourself in the culture of your destination, you have a much better chance of learning the local language when you have no choice but to speak it!  I know from past experience if you have someone to travel with and talk your language, you can’t help but switch to your native tongue, even if you try not to!

However, without anyone else to talk to, you can force yourself to practise speaking to the local people you meet, from shopkeepers to tour guides or anyone else in between!  Getting a head start with some online learning is a great way to learn the basics, but nothing helps your language improve more than speaking to people.

With Leo a Bolivian Guide from one of my Solo Trips
With Leo a Bolivian Guide from one of my Solo Trips

Increased Empathy and Open-Mindedness

Solo travel helps you to connect with the people around you in the places you visit, and so you learn more and appreciate other points of view, and savour the differences and similarities between people all over the world.  As you engage with locals and fellow travellers from different backgrounds, you develop a heightened sense of empathy and open-mindedness.

Your preconceived notions and stereotypes are challenged, and you begin to appreciate the beauty of cultural diversity, without having anyone else’s prejudices weighing on your mind. This expanded worldview enhances your ability to connect with others, fostering meaningful relationships and promoting global understanding.

Freedom of Choice

If you’re not sure what to do when travelling alone, the best part is that you get to choose!

When you travel alone, every decision is entirely up to you. You have the freedom to choose where to go, what to see, and how long to stay.  The freedom to go wherever you like, however you like, and whenever you like is a liberating feeling!

You can prioritize your own interests and passions without having to do things you’re not really interested in. Whether it’s exploring art galleries, hiking remote trails, attending local festivals, or immersing yourself in culinary experiences, you have the freedom to create your itinerary based solely on your personal preferences.

While I would always encourage you to try something new, spending time doing activities you genuinely enjoy will lead to a more fulfilling travel experience that you can appreciate to the maximum, and hopefully continue when you come back home.

Me Horse Riding in Ecuador - One of my Favourite Things to do when Travelling Alone
Me Horse Riding in Ecuador – One of my Favourite Things to do when Travelling Alone

Flexibility and Spontaneity

While it might be tempting to book everything in advance, travelling alone offers the ultimate freedom to set your own itinerary and change plans on a whim. Solo travellers have the luxury of adapting their journeys based on personal interests and can be as spontaneous as they like, without having to check plans with anyone else.

You can choose to explore hidden gems off the beaten path or change your plans after recommendations from people you meet, and the lack of a fixed schedule means you can have a more flexible and ultimately more enriching travel adventure.

You Control Your Budget

Solo travel allows you to have full control over your budget. You can choose accommodations, transportation, and dining options depending on how much money you want to spend, without compromise.

Whether you opt for budget-friendly hostels and street food or indulge in luxurious experiences, the flexibility to manage your finances independently ensures that you make the most of your travel experiences without spending more than you are comfortable with.

Solo travel isn’t necessarily more expensive than group travel either; while annoying surcharges like single supplements can add up, at least you get to choose what you spend your money on, and if you want to stay in hostel dorms and eat packets of noodles every day, it is your choice!

Me Getting a Quokka Selfie in Australia
Me Getting a Quokka Selfie in Australia – Not a Budget Trip!

Can You Think of Any More Solo Travel Benefits?

And there you have it; my top 13 benefits of solo travel.  If you can think of any more benefits of travelling alone please do leave me a note in the comments below.  No matter how many suggestions we come up with, the obvious answer is that solo travel is a wonderful experience, and even if things don’t go entirely to plan, you have the capacity to handle whatever life throws at you.

When you travel alone be sure to make it count.  Don’t be afraid to ask the locals about themselves, about where to go, what to visit, and you will make friends from all over the world.  Admittedly I still struggle to overcome my natural shyness, but the more I travel, the more comfortable and confident I become – and so will you! 

Happy solo travels!

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