Benefits of Solo Travel: 67 Reasons to go Alone

I now look for any opportunities to travel solo. When no one was interested in seeing the wildflowers in bloom in Western Cape, South Africa, I did it myself. Really who doesn't want to see a valley full of daisies?
Hiking along the seaside cliff on the Otter Trail in the Garden Route, South Africa.

Solo travel is magic, but let’s be realistic, traveling alone is not for the faint of heart.  It comes with its challenges such as safety concerns or loneliness.  A woman can expect an added layer of insecurity or unwanted attention, same as being a minority in a foreign country. It is arguably easier to make excuses and establish obstacles for why NOT to travel. Rather than harping on all the negative “what coulds…,” I want to highlight all the exciting and wonderful benefits of solo travel that could come up when unattached.

Traveling alone can be met with some degree of apprehension, trepidation, and sometimes condescension.  Maybe it is a protective parent, a concerned partner, a jealous co-worker, a nosy taxi driver, a curious customs agent, and the very, very worst — our own limiting beliefs.  People love to lay THEIR fears, doubts, and opinions on others.  Listen to them and then DISMISS THEM RIGHT NOW.  

And this tip is pure GOLD:

I wasn’t always sold on the idea of solo travel. I didn’t understand the appeal. My naive assumption was that solo travel must be for the lonely. I was close-minded and insecure and couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to do this.  Isn’t it better to go with friends?  A travel posse – people who you could have fun with?

Traveling with friends and family has a wonderful place in life, however organizing a group trip doesn’t always feel all that easy. Schedules, budgets, false commitments, last-minute bails, and moulding a holiday to be a one trip fits all where everyone is happy; honestly, it makes it a bit, well, complicated.

So…

Celestial globe from the Globe Museum in Vienna, Austria

If you are afraid to commit to your dream because nobody can join, you aren’t getting the support you’re seeking, or you need to justify your decision to a person who cares about you – I hope this list will help you make the decision to go. Many of these apply to travel in general, however as a solo traveler, you engage more with others, shaking your world and helping you grow into a better version of yourself.  

Interested in solo travel, but feeling overwhelmed. Book a travel coaching call.

benefits of solo travel by category:

  1. Self-growth and Development
  2. Benefits of Solo Travel
  3. Relationships
  4. Global Awareness
  5. Career Boosting Qualities
I now look for any opportunities to travel solo.  When no one was interested in seeing the wildflowers in bloom in Western Cape, South Africa, I did it myself.    Really who doesn't want to see a valley full of daisies?
Selfie while hiking in West Coast National Park, South Africa at the start of wildflower season

Self-growth and development

Transformative travel is all the rage and why shouldn’t it be?  It’s awesome that people want to better themselves and their lives. While embarking on an Eat, Pray, Love journey may not be for everyone, some of these traits may just sneak right in to your psyche without you noticing, but maybe others will.

  1. Travel builds confidence and self-esteem.
  2. You become more fearless — traveling alone is courageous.
  3. It gets you out of your comfort zone and exposes you to new experiences
  4. It’s liberating.  You decide what you want at any given time.
  5. You learn to be comfortable with yourself and become your own best company.
  6. Your struggles become your achievements.
  7. You learn to relax and go with the flow and become more resilient to change.
  8. You more readily understand your needs for self-care.
  9. You get to live “in the moment.”
  10. You learn to be more intuitive and “trust your gut.”
  11. You learn to manage your own expectations.
  12. You become a more curious person.

Benefits of solo travel

Traveling with your mates has its place, but so does absolute autonomy and freedom.

  1. Total independence.  You do what you want, when you want, and where you want and there is no need to compromise.
  2. You can change your mind or your plans at any time.
  3. Only boring people are bored.  You will find more ways to keep yourself entertained and exploring.
  4. You will make new friends and meet new people.  Loneliness happens, but so do exciting adventures with strangers.
  5. Being alone forces you to talk to people and invites people to engage with you.  Without traveling in a “friend chatter bubble,” you can expand your reach and meet people with different views and experiences and learn about other cultures and lifestyles.  
  6. You will inevitably become a better storyteller. 
  7. You never have to wait for someone else to have the money or time.
  8. It’s always easier to find a seat at the bar or the chef’s table, and book last-minute flights, trains, or buses — there is always room for one more.
  9. Opportunities will open to you.

Relationships

As you evolve, your relationships in your life will change as well.  With your world expanding you will find which relationships fuel you and which ones will fall away.

  1. You gain the appreciation and importance of quality time.
  2. Recognize that small gestures make big impacts.
  3. You can appreciate what you have left behind.
  4. You may become more approachable.
  5. You can become more empathetic.
  6. You can become a better listener. 
  7. You can become more compassionate for others.
  8. Your true friends will support your choices.
  9. You will want to let go of toxic relationships — there so many people in the world, why keep the ones that drain all your good energy.
  10. You will find you connect with people faster.
  11. You may fall in love faster.
  12. You may build trust faster. 
  13. And because of all that wonderful self-growth and love, you will respect yourself more in relationships.

Global Awareness

While visiting UNESCO Heritage sites and white sand beaches, you can also appreciate the culture, food, history, language, politics, religions, and social behaviors. And as you are on your own, you may be more likely to be impacted by them.

  1. Become more culturally aware with a broader worldview.
  2. You will have a better understanding of prejudice — racism, sexism, classism, nationalism…
  3. You can get a first-hand education about humans’ negative impact on the environment and how you can reduce your carbon footprint.
  4. You will find that we as individuals are quite small and insignificant.
  5. While meeting all these new people, you will find that the world is a much smaller place and six degrees of separation is, in fact, true.
  6. You will discover the great impact kindness can have on a person or a community.
  7. You may witness how resilient people can be.
  8. You can stand in awe of how humans have developed and what we have built and what we have destroyed.
  9. You may gain a greater appreciation for the value of money.
  10. You will be forced to learn how to communicate across language barriers.
  11. You may appreciate how less is more — and realize “essentials” are far less essential.
  12. You may stand in awe of the majesty of nature and wildlife — and how much we need to protect it.
  13. You will discover how music and art span continents. I heard more Dolly Parton in Africa then I ever did in the U.S.
  14. You may recognize that we are all human and need to treat each other with greater respect.
  15. You may appreciate the privilege you grew up in.
  16. You may accept the necessity for basic human rights.
  17. You will experience that there is an incredible amount of goodness in the world and it will find its way to touch you.

Career-boosting qualities

For those concerned with taking a gap year or leaving the workforce and having a break in your resume, these are excellent skills that ARE desirable to employers and schools.  Taking the time to develop yourself stands out in a pile of CVs.  Remember “Not all who wander are lost.”

  1. You learn to be resourceful.
  2. You become a better problem-solver.
  3. You learn to be more organized.
  4. You become a better communicator.
  5. You discover that age is inconsequential and unimportant.
  6. You better understand logistics and directions.
  7. You identify and appreciate efficiency.
  8. You hone your negotiation skills.
  9. You can handle stressful situations with greater ease.
  10. You improve your abilities to work independently and in groups.
  11. Maybe you pick up another language or two. Parlez-vous Français? Sprechen Sie Deutsch?
  12. You gain patience (although I often forget this lesson).
  13. You recognize how ridiculous office gossip is.
  14. You may adopt a zero-bullshit position.
  15. You can fall into more unexpected opportunities.
  16. You find yourself with a greater desire for a work-life balance. 

And as a bonus: It’s rewarding. These are 67 benefits of solo travel, plus the sense of accomplishment when you have travelled to a paradise on your own terms. And what may follow could be feelings of happiness, joy, excitement, excuberance, delight, and giddiness.

Whether you are new to travel or you have been traveling with friends and family for years, consider the next trip you plan to be a party of one. I can’t think of many reasons not to.

I would love to hear what other benefits you can think of.  Add a comment below to extend the list.

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