I would argue that solo travelling is one of the most rewarding experiences that one can pursue. Pushing your comfort level, making new friends, and daring to explore, a person can learn a lot about themselves during this time. And let’s not mention all the great partying.
Lesson 1: Making Connections
That all sounds great right? But there are challenges with solo travel especially if you are more of an introvert. I have faced days where I didn’t make any new friends and others where I saw couples and groups while I was alone. Solo travel does get lonely. But it’s in that solace that you can discover more about yourself.
I found myself thinking hard about what really made me happy. Was it the waterfalls, beaches and the parties? No, it was the people I met along the way. I discovered that my dream of travel was equally attributed to my want for human connection and being understood. Sharing experiences in the unknown made human connections stronger, having a shared story. I was no longer lost alone in the world, I was lost with a stranger, but by being lost we were found. It was being in the unknown with new friends and discovering together that made me feel alive. Travelling alone helps you appreciate the friendships you have and those that you make.
Lesson 2: You Are In Control
Another great thing about solo travel, is that you control your journey. If you want to wake up at 2 am to make it to that hike up the mountain, you can. If you want to sleep in because you stayed up till 2 am partying, well do it! You are in control of your life at this moment.
That sounds great Justin, but also scary – random reader.
If this does sound scary, then have no fear, no one says that you need to travel solo. Find some friends to join you on an adventure.
Travelling With Friends
Travelling with friends can be a very rewarding experience. You get to run away together to a new place and be the huge silly idiots that you are. Partying together, almost missing flights together, and the occasional shared ‘this is amazing’ moments.
Travelling this way is a great way to save money and spend some dedicated time with your besties. Your friendships will strengthen, if you manage not to kill each other after a few days. I traveled part of Asia with a few close friends, which was a lot fun. We did learn a lot of lessons during this time though, especially since we had never traveled internationally or this long together before.
Lesson 1: Figure out your travel styles
I will start by saying, I love my best friends. But they are also a pain in the butt, not because we don’t love spending time with each other, but because of our different travel styles. So by figuring out your travel styles beforehand, you can plan accordingly and avoid needing to change plans frequently or last minute. I found myself changing from hostels to hotels and staying in instead of going out. If you are reading this, then you are probably taking care of the planning portion. Ask each friend to come up with some ideas of what they want to see. That way you can plan something that will play to each persons interests.
Lesson 2: Figure out food preferences
We definitely took too much time deciding on what to eat, and it was hard to please everyone each time. So have some ideas ready, maybe even look up the places ahead of time before you go on your trip, I’m sure your foodie friend will appreciate that.
Lesson 3: Take snacks and water
We definitely got onto each other a few times honestly because it was a long day and we were just grouchy from lack of water or food. So take snacks ! If you like cold water, an insulated thermos is a must. Do you NEED coffee like I do? Pack some instant coffee packets.
Lesson 4: Make sure no one overpacks
Of course this one is a more difficult, especially if not everyone has travelled before. We tend to pack for every situation, causing us to fill up our bags before we even set foot in our destination. So plan some outfits for the occasion, reusing shorts and jeans is okay!
Don’t forget you can always buy luggage in your destination for souvenirs and any other clothes you may have happened to buy.
Lesson 5: ENJOY EACH OTHERS COMPANY
You are on vacation, put your phone away and hangout. We are used to being stuck on our phones a little too much. Put your phone on silent and enjoy your vacation!
No matter what travel style you choose, either will be a rewarding experience. Open up your heart and mind, and take in the culture, food and activities each destination has to offer. You will come home more tired but full of life.
Any other tips I forgot? Let me know in the comments!
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT solo travel
Solo travel can be safe if you take the necessary precautions. Research your destination beforehand, stay alert and aware of your surroundings, and trust your instincts. Stay in well-rated accommodations and avoid risky areas. It’s also a good idea to let someone know your travel plans and check in with them regularly.
There are many ways to meet people when traveling solo. Stay in hostels or join group tours, as it’s easy to make friends with fellow travelers. Attend local events, take part in activities or tours, and use social apps designed for travelers. Engage with locals and make an effort to be open and friendly, and you’ll likely meet interesting people along the way.
Traveling alone can be cost-effective if you plan smartly. Opt for budget accommodations like hostels or consider staying in shared rentals. Take advantage of public transportation, try local street food, and look for free or inexpensive activities and attractions. Research and plan your itinerary in advance to have an idea of the costs involved, and try to limit unnecessary expenses.
The best destinations for solo travelers vary depending on personal interests and preferences. Some popular choices include cities known for their safety and ease of navigation, such as Tokyo, Sydney, Amsterdam, and Barcelona. Destinations with strong backpacking communities, like Thailand, Vietnam, Costa Rica, or New Zealand, are also great options for solo travelers.