When most people think of solo travel, they imagine a lonesome wanderer, trudging through foreign lands with no one to share their experiences with. But solo travel can be so much more than that! In fact, there are plenty of unexpected benefits to travelling alone. 

I’ll be honest. The first time I booked a flight for just me, I wasn’t thinking of the benefits of travelling alone. I was thinking ‘what the heck am I doing!’. Other than moving to a new country by myself for work, I had never travelled alone before.

One of my first solo trips was to Hong Kong and the first thing I did after checking into my hotel was visit Disneyland. Was I that tourist who skipped along Main Street eating candy floss, wearing ridiculously expensive Minnie ears, looking as excited as a child? Heck yeah! I left Disneyland smiling to myself feeling like I had done the most incredible thing ever.

I wanted to tell the people I passed on the street that I had just gone to Disneyland all by myself! I didn’t, but they were looking at me strangely from the huge grin on my face.

I understand, you might have some concerns as a first time solo traveller. I did too!  So let’s squash those concerns now.

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Incredible benefits of travelling alone

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What’s holding you back from travelling alone?

Feeling lonely

I have rarely felt lonely while travelling alone. Of course, it can happen. For me it’s usually when dining out on my own and the wait staff say ‘is it just you?’, to which I respond ‘You’ll be glad it’s just me, I’m more than enough!’.

But there are ways around this if you’d rather not sit in a restaurant alone. Order room service instead and snuggle up to watch a movie. Or grab some food on the go so you can keep sightseeing.

I’ve gotten used to eating in restaurants alone and, more often than not, you get chatting to the wait staff or a nearby table. Once I was asked by wait staff if they could seat someone else at my table as they were fully booked. I’m sure they wouldn’t have asked if I wasn’t dining alone. But I’m still in contact with my new Jordanian friend to this day!

Afraid for your safety

Before I moved to Dubai. a male friend of mine told me I needed to be careful moving to a ‘place like that’, especially as a woman. I asked why and his response was ‘because I’ve heard some stuff’.

Please, please, please don’t ever let people who have ‘heard some stuff’ talk you out of travelling alone! Do your own research on the country you’re planning to travel to, find other solo travellers who have been there, reach out to them if you have concerns. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I didn’t listen to that friend.

Read also: Travel Safety for the Solo Female Traveller

Safety will always be an issue when travelling to a country you’ve never been to, especially if you’re a female solo traveller. But something to remember is that, for the majority of countries you want to travel to, the crime rate will be the same (if not lower) then your home country. Here are some safety travel tips for solo travellers:

  • Research your hotel / hostel location and try to arrive during the day so you can scope out the area.
  • Try not to look too touristy when out walking around and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Be sensible about what information you post on social media about your trip.
  • Don’t keep all your money in the one place. I usually leave some in the hotel safe, have some in my bag, and some in my pocket so I don’t have to take my wallet out too often.
  • Check out how you can get around an area if it’s getting late – do they have Uber, Grab or are taxis readily available?

No matter where you visit, whether it be the jungles of Sri Lanka or the city streets of Paris, there will always be a risk. But don’t let that stop you from experiencing all that the world has to offer.

Not sure what to see or do?

As a solo traveller, you can do everything that group travellers can do! There are no restrictions. You can go wherever, whenever. This includes those ‘must-see’ tourist spots.

But there are times when it’s nice to have a local guide with you, someone who knows the area and can take you to off-the-beaten path places that you would never find on your own. That’s where a tour group comes in handy. It’s also a great way to meet new people.

What if you’ve never travelled alone before?

If you’ve never travelled alone before, and the idea of doing anything on your own terrifies you, give some of these ideas a try before you take the plunge.

Go to a restaurant or coffee shop on your own: Have you ever been in a restaurant, looked at someone else and thought ‘Wow, that person is eating alone!’? No? I hate to tell you, but nobody is bothered about you either. Bring something to read, talk to the wait staff and enjoy the time by yourself.

Sit in the park and read a book by yourself: Enjoy your own company. If you take a glance around, you’ll notice that others are doing exactly the same as you. On their own.

Try a staycation: Take a staycation close to home for a couple of nights to get the feel for what it would be like to travel alone.

Ready to book a trip but still a little apprehensive? Try one of these options instead:

Book a trip to a familiar destination: Maybe you have some friends or family living in another city or country. A solo trip to visit them can be a great way to ease into travelling alone.

Join a group tour: If you’re not quite ready to go on a trip by yourself, join a group tour. These are great because you get to meet new people and have someone else organising everything for you. Some of my favourite group tour companies are:

12 benefits of travelling alone

Benefits of travelling alone woman in a kayak in a lake (1)

1. You get to do exactly what you want, when you want

One of the benefits of travelling alone is that you can do whatever you want whenever you want. This means that you can go sightseeing, visit museums, and explore the local culture on your own schedule. You’re not limited to group tours – you can explore on your own any time you’d like.

You don’t have to stick to anyone’s else’s schedule, which is great if you’re the independent type. Want to sleep in and miss breakfast? No problem! Want to go on a three-hour hike and then go out for dinner? Go for it! You get to do whatever you want when travelling alone.

2. You learn a lot about yourself

These days, we are constantly on the go, working, socialising, catching up on social media. There’s not a lot of time where we just enjoy our own company. When travelling alone, you have the opportunity to disengage from everyday life and start to get to know yourself.

When we’re part of a group, we just go along with the flow. We don’t like to cause a ruckus or disagree with ideas, so we step in line with the plans. When you’re travelling alone, you get the opportunity to learn more about how you like to travel, what you actually like to do when travelling.

3. You become more confident

Travelling alone can be a great way to boost your confidence. When you’re on your own, you have to put yourself out there and talk to new people. This can be scary at first, but it’s a great way to build confidence.

You’ll also learn how to take care of yourself and handle difficult situations, which will make you feel more confident in all aspects of your life.

I often think ‘If I can travel around a country by myself, imagine what else I can do’.

4. You make new friends from all over the world.

One of the greatest benefits of travelling alone is that you meet people from all over the world. Whether you’re on a group tour, staying in a hostel or hanging out by the pool, you’ll quickly make friends with people from all walks of life.

In the few short years I have been travelling alone, I have met some of the most wonderful people, people who I still keep in contact with today. While travelling alone in Vietnam, I met a South Korean family on one of the tours I signed up for and I ended up spending the whole day with them after the tour!

I joined a Flashpack tour in Finland of like-minded solo travellers and we are all still friends years later.

Benefits of travelling alone woman with backs=pack standing in snow

5. You can be spontaneous and go with the flow

One of the best things about travelling alone is that you can be spontaneous and go with the flow. If you see a cool tour or activity that you want to do, you can just go for it without having to worry about anyone else. If you’re not feeling like doing anything, you don’t have to. You can just relax by the pool or go for a walk.

All the decisions rest with you when you’re travelling alone. You can create your own itinerary and even change it at the last minute if you find something else to do. This can be pretty difficult in a group setting if others have their hearts set on something in particular.

You can even decide to stay longer in an area if you really love it or leave a few days earlier to travel the rest of the country.

6. You get to know your own limits

When travelling alone, you’re forced to rely on yourself. This can be a great opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you’re capable of.

You’ll have to figure out things like how to get around an unfamiliar city, where to eat, and what to see on your own – and that’s a great way to learn new things. You’ll also learn how to handle different situations and problems on your own, which is an invaluable skill.

This is a great way to figure out what you’re capable of and how to push yourself a little further. You’ll also learn how to take care of yourself and when to stop for the day.

7. You’re pushed outside of your comfort zone

You will always come across some challenges while travelling alone, whether it’s a language barrier or getting lost, and there’s nobody there but you to overcome those challenges.

Travelling alone is a great way to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You’ll be forced to try new things and meet new people, which can seem daunting at first but is a great way to grow as a person.

You’ll also be able to challenge yourself and try new things that you never thought you would, like skydiving or ziplining.

8. You have more time to focus on your own happiness and well-being

When you’re not focussed on other travel companions, you’re able to focus on your own happiness and well-being. You can take the time to do the things that make you happy without having to worry about what anyone else thinks.

This can be a great way to find out more about yourself and what makes you happy. You can also focus on your own mental and physical health, without having to worry about anyone else.

Benefits of travelling alone: woman lying in campervan

9. You can take your time to enjoy the moment

Travelling alone gives you the opportunity to take your time and enjoy the moment. You’re not in a rush to get to the next destination and you can spend as much or as little time experiencing everything that the place has to offer.

This is a great way to really savour and appreciate the experience. You can also take your time to relax and recharge your battery, without having to worry about anyone else rushing you.

10. You get to indulge

When you travel with friends or family, you don’t always get to set the budget or indulge in all of your travel dreams. However, when you’re travelling alone, the sky is the limit! You can spend as much or as little money as you want and do whatever you please.

You don’t need to worry about anyone else’s finances when making decisions. Fancy a luxury hotel room? Or prefer to stick to cheaper meals on the go? The choice is yours, and only yours.

11. You get to see the world from a different perspective

When travelling with others, you often see the world from their perspective. However, when travelling alone, you get to see the world from your own perspective. This can give you a whole new outlook on life and open your eyes to new cultures and ways of thinking.

You’ll get to see the world in a new light, without anyone else’s opinion.

12. You might get an upgrade

Think about it, you are much more likely to get offered an upgrade if you’re travelling alone than as a family of four.

When travelling alone, you often get preferential treatment from airlines and hotels. This is because they see solo travellers as more lucrative customers – after all, there’s only one of you to please!

This can lead to a few perks, like an upgrade to a better room or seat on the plane, or complimentary extras like breakfast or drinks.

So don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade, the worst they can say is no!

Are there disadvantages of solo travel?

Of course, there are always going to be disadvantages.  But now that we are problem-solving, confident travellers, we can find a way around them:

  • The dreaded single supplement – only stay in places who don’t require you to pay a single supplement, or go on a tour who don’t charge a single supplement
  • Minimum number required for booking – when the minimum number required for booking a tour is 2 people, call the tour operator instead of booking online. They will more than likely have the space for one person. Alternatively, if you’ve met people along the way, join a tour with them! 
  • Being targeted for being a lone tourist – once you use your common sense and have your wits about you, this will be less of an issue. 

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Travelling solo is an incredibly rewarding experience. You get to do things at your own pace, see the sights that interest you and meet new people without having to worry about anyone else but yourself. It can be a little daunting at first, but once you get into the groove of things, you’ll never want to travel any other way.

If you’re ready to take the leap and travel solo, check out some of my top posts for doing so below:

Have you ever travelled solo? If so, what was your favourite part about it? Let me know in the comments below!

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