“Don’t you get lonely?”
“Isn’t it dangerous?”
“Won’t you get bored?”
To some travelers, venturing out on a trip on your own seems like a frightening and lonely endeavor. It’s understandable — you’ll be in a new place experiencing a different culture, different language, different foods, and different lifestyle without a familiar face trying to make sense of it all with you.
While traveling with a friend or your partner can often make a journey more enjoyable, this isn’t always the case. Here are four reasons to ditch the buddy system and head out on the open road all by yourself.
Solo travelers tend to make more friends on the road
When you have a friend traveling alongside you, you don’t typically feel the need to interact with strangers for companionship. However, after a few days of solo travel, even introverts often crave human connection and will start reaching out to other people for friendship.
With a buddy attached to your hip, you’re probably less likely to strike up a conversation with a stranger, reach out to someone for advice, or commiserate with a fellow traveler about a snafu.
Solo travelers tend to be more approachable than those in a group and you’ll find that solo travelers often band together. But unlike a group of friends that you started a trip with, you can wander in and out of the group as you please.
Solo travelers are better candidates for the sharing economy
If you want to join the sharing economy like Couchsurfing or ridesharing, solo travelers often make for better candidates. Many hosts are hesitant or don’t have the space to host more than one person. Some Couchsurfing hosts also may feel that groups of travelers are more likely to use their home as a free hotel rather than a cultural exchange.
Road trip rideshares also typically have space for just one or two people to join their journey – rarely more. You can have all the perks of a road trip by splitting the cost of fuel without having to worry about the logistics of renting or buying a car for the journey.
Solo travelers have more freedom
Wise people often advise others to never live with or go on a long trip with your best friend. Those quirks and pet peeves your friends have will only magnify once you set out on a vacation together – especially if its one that spans beyond an all-inclusive resort. Mismatched budgets, interests, energy levels, and travel styles are all factors that could leave to tears and travel disasters.
Traveling solo means you won’t have to put up with any shady behaviors and you won’t have to do activities that you have no interest in. You won’t have to stress about meeting another person’s budget or suffer through yet another architecture tour if you don’t want to. You’ll have complete freedom to sleep in or wake up early, spend a fortune or spend a dime, relax all day or hike to top of a local volcano. There is no feeling more freeing than venturing out into the world and doing whatever you want, whenever you want.
Solo travel leads to self confidence
On every trip, something will go wrong – you’ll lose your luggage, miss a train, you’ll get scammed, or your hotel reservation won’t come up in the system on a fully-booked night. It won’t matter whether you’re with a friend or on your own. It’s inevitable.
While it might seem like a major catastrophe while it’s happening, overcoming these challenges will give you confidence. You’ll quickly learn that you can cope with handling tough situations on your own. You’ll learn how to network with strangers, communicate using hand gestures and only the basics of a language, how to read others’ intentions, and how to be a savvy traveler – even while solo. Eventually, after a few solo trips, you’ll come to a point where you’ll feel as though you could be dropped anywhere in the world and thrive.
Solo travel is one of the best experiences you can give yourself. If you wait for when your friend or travel partner has enough money, time off work, or interest in accompanying you on your dream trip, it may never happen. If you have the opportunity to venture out and explore on your own, do it.