Once upon a time, I decided to travel alone to Florence, Italy and spend the semester studying abroad. I was 19, full of curiosity and wholly inexperienced (it was my first true solo travel trip, after all).
Despite the nerves, the anxiety, the what-the-hell-am-I-doing imposter syndrome… I made new friends, learned some Italian, and slowly learned how to navigate my new neighborhood with ease. Over six thrilling, unforgettable months, a city halfway around the world and entirely unfamiliar to me began to feel like home.
When I did make the trek back to the United States, so many things changed in me. I was more confident, fearless, independent, and hungrier for the world than ever before. There is so much out there, and I had only seen a fraction of it!
Solo travel is one of the best ways to broaden your horizons and see what you’re truly capable of. In addition to being incredibly empowering (read: badass), solo travel also teaches you so many skills you can translate into your career and your everyday life.
But of course, you might have a little voice inside your head saying:
- “What if something goes wrong?”
- “Will people stare at me if I’m sitting by myself in a restaurant?”
- “Won’t I get lonely?”
While these are all valid concerns, you shouldn’t let these fears stop you from traveling by yourself.
The benefits of traveling alone far outweigh the handful of “what ifs”.
If you’re on the fence, here’s why you should take the leap and go on your first solo trip!
Hesitant to Travel Solo? 10 Priceless Benefits of Traveling Alone
Solo Travel Gives You Freedom
Have you ever gone on a trip with someone who doesn’t vibe with your traveling style?
Or maybe you want to splurge on a relaxing, luxury lodge in Tasmania, but your partner wants to stay in hostels and party?
One of the biggest benefits of solo travel is that those problems simply do not exist.
You are entirely in control of your itinerary, giving you the freedom to do whatever you want. And when this happens, not only do you find increased freedom, but increased decisiveness, too!
Want to spend the morning lying in? Or want to wake up at 4 am to watch the sunrise? It’s completely up to you!
No one is going to tell you “no” or “I’m bored.”
Compromise? On a solo trip? I don’t know her.
Traveling Alone Makes You More Independent
When we travel with friends, partners, or family, we often adopt various “roles” –
- Mom will handle the hotel bookings
- Dad is in charge of figuring out how to get to the hotel
- You deal with organizing everyone’s flights
And so on.
When you travel solo, all of that responsibility is on your shoulders. You only have yourself to rely on, and that in itself can force you out of your comfort zone.
Traveling this way will help you realize how self-sufficient you are and just how much you really don’t need other people to help you navigate the steps needed to visit a new city or country.
You’ll figure out how to get to a famous landmark, which train to take from the airport, and how to truly enjoy your own company while eating alone at restaurants.
This is one of the greatest benefits of traveling alone. It’s incredibly empowering once you get over the fear of being by yourself, and release the crutch of relying on other people.
Solo Travel Builds Your Self-Confidence
Do you suffer from low self-confidence?
Booking your first solo flight to a new destination can really make you see yourself in a different light.
From the tiniest moment, like your first time saying “thank you” in a new language, to ticking a bold new adventure off your list, it is undeniably epic to watch yourself peel back the layers of any pre-established insecurities and blossom into new versions of yourself.
And when you travel, so much of that growth is inevitable. You won’t eat – or do anything fun! – if you don’t challenge yourself to take some risks.
In my own life, I’ve seen just how much travel has impacted the things I now know I am capable of. Being able to hold my own when asking for directions from a stranger in an unfamiliar language has taught me the humility to admit with confidence (and zero shame) when I don’t know an answer in a work meeting. Seeing how the course of my days can change entirely with just one small decision has taught me the power of committing to living each day with intent.
Sure, you can learn these lessons without travel, but I’d wager travel is a crash course that’ll teach you self-confidence far quicker than any book or lecture could.
Traveling Alone is Safer Than You Think
I know solo travel can feel terrifying, no thanks to media coverage.
Heck, even without scary news stories, you’re traveling hundreds to thousands of miles from home to a place where you know no one.
What if something goes wrong?
As a female solo traveler, safety is my number one priority. And while I believe everyone’s comfort levels are different and I’ll never tell you where you should and should not go, I do believe there’s something to be said about considering some of the most well-known countries for safety as a great place to start, especially if you’re traveling by yourself for the very first time.
Planning a trip to a country known for its safety can often provide an added layer of reassurance when deciding to take the plunge into unfamiliar territory. Heck, even planning a trip to a different country that still speaks the same language as you can be a safety blanket to help you ease into solo travel.
As you travel more, you may soon realize that traveling alone can be far safer than scary news headlines will ever lead you to believe. In my years of traveling solo, I’ve found that local people are usually quite polite and in some cases, very eager to talk about their homes. Strangers are kind when interacted with kindly. And, cities are generally navigable after you give yourself a day or two to adjust.
But with any trip, be sure to always exercise caution and common sense – don’t talk about where you’re staying, never count cash in public, always secure your personal belongings, and be sure to read up on safety tips before traveling somewhere new.
Traveling By Yourself is Cheaper
One of the great advantages of solo travel is that it’s typically cheaper, depending on your traveling style.
Let’s say you’re dreaming of backpacking around Southeast Asia for 3 months. That’s much easier to do when you’re in control of the finances and no one is around to tempt you with a third serving of sticky mango rice, or sunset boat ride that you only kind of, sort of care to do.
Traveling solo means you get to decide if you want to spend more or less on accommodation, when to splurge on food, and what activities to do.
Traveling this way means you can put the money you save towards costlier trips in the future, or stretch out your trip duration so you get to stay in one place even longer.
When you’re traveling with someone else, staying on budget can often be more challenging. Your friend or partner might want to stay somewhere more expensive, or split a meal and drinks at a new restaurant every night.
And sure that’s fine once in a while, but it’s not always the most economical approach when you’re saving for the trip of your dreams!
You’ll Make New Friends
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of sticking exclusively to your friend circle when you travel.
One of the perks of traveling alone is that it forces you to socialize (with new humans!).
Being by yourself means there’s less barriers between you striking up a conversation with a local, or with fellow travelers at a bar.
Remember, solo travel isn’t about being alone for your entire trip. You might make tons of new friends along the way!
Some friendships might only last for the duration of your trip, but sometimes, you’ll find life-long adventure partners and soon be off on multiple trips around the world!
You’ll also open yourself up to a new community of travelers you can reunite with around the globe. I personally love whenever I travel to a new city and know at least one person I can call up for restaurant recommendations or a reunion over drinks. I’ve reunited with friends in far-off places like Tulum, Brno, and Singapore through having kept in touch on social media after meeting on the road!
You’ll Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills
You could plan your first solo trip in excruciating detail and still have something go wrong that’s out of your hands.
- Your flight gets delayed, and you miss your connection.
- The airline loses your luggage.
- You board on the wrong train in the opposite direction.
The list can go on and on!
When you’re traveling alone, you have to figure out the solutions to all your problems on your own. It sounds daunting, but it truly forces you to think on your feet and work out what you need to do next.
This could be something small like speaking to the airline staff to find your luggage or deciphering how to get back to the hotel when you’ve taken the wrong train. It’s terrifying, but thrilling at the same time, and the payoff is watching yourself emerge despite the inevitable roadblocks that can happen while traveling. As someone who likes to delegate, this was a skill that didn’t come as naturally to me at first!
You Get to Take as Many Photos as You Want
My travel photos are some of my most prized possessions, because they capture so many moments in time I want to keep with me forever. They remind me of what I felt, who I was, and who I’ve become thanks to every journey I’ve taken.
And sometimes, getting the right photo takes time!
It’s not uncommon to want to spend more, or less, time taking photos while traveling, and not everyone is going to agree on this subject. I feel instantly uncomfortable when I realize other people are waiting on me, even when everyone knows photography and travel writing are what I do!
When you are traveling alone, all you need is a trusty tripod (and possibly a cell phone holder adapter) and a remote shutter to take your own photos, on your own time. You can take as long as you need, try out all the angles and adjustments you want, and there’s no one around to tell you to “hurry up.”
And this goes far beyond just taking photos of yourself. Maybe you love museums and could happily spend hours looking at every exhibit, or you have a penchant for discovering new restaurants and would love nothing more than to stop at 3 different establishments over the course of an evening.
Whatever ways you love to explore, solo travel allows you to pursue those interests free of judgement.
Traveling Alone Really Does Help You Find Yourself
I know it’s cliche to say something like “I’m going to Bali to find myself!”
…But it’s actually true. At least, it can be, if you let it.
When you’re traveling alone, you become able to learn a lot about yourself, fast.
Traveling solo has the power to help you uncover what you really want from life, not what society expects from you. It can be something profound, from uncovering your life’s purpose, to figuring out what you will no longer compromise on in your everyday life. Traveling solo enables you to rid yourself of the “expected” structure of your life and sit with new possibilities, new thoughts, new ideas that your life prior might’ve been too hectic to see clearly.
Travel points out our prejudices too. It can show us the ugly side of ourselves we would never have met if we didn’t leave home. For instance, traveling solo has shown me that I am quick-tempered when something doesn’t happen the way that it should, and through travel, I am learning to combat that.
All of these moments, the moments far removed from expectation or judgement, can help you grow as a person and make you understand more about who you are, what you need, what you can let go of, and what you might need to work on along the way.
You Become More Organized
If there is one final major thing solo female travel will teach you, it’s how to stay organized.
Researching a destination, planning an itinerary, evaluating safety risks, budgeting for your trip, catching your flight, bus, or train… The list goes on! It can be a full-time job in itself figuring out the logistics of a getaway.
I know because even to this day, it takes me days if not weeks to feel fully prepared prior to going on a trip.
What’s funny is that I’ve even noticed that the more I travel and plan all these things out myself, the more that level of organization translates into my work. The ability to stay on top of things 24/7 has become the defining principle of my career, and believe it or not – travel can be an excellent coach.
The more you put plans on paper, the more you become accustomed to considering everything from A to Z, the less daunting (and often, more exciting!) travel planning will become. Over time, you’ll develop a rhythm that works for you, and you’ll grow more and more organized with your plans in all aspects of your life in return. Traveling enables you to put all these ideas into motion, and immediately reap the rewards of the things you’ve discovered along the way.
Still Unsure? Here’s Some More Traveling Alone FAQ!
- What are the advantages of traveling alone? Traveling alone gives you more freedom, self-confidence, independence, improves your problem-solving skills, and forces you out of your comfort zone.
- What are the disadvantages of traveling alone? It can get lonely traveling by yourself. However, if you’re craving human interaction, you can always sign up for a group tour to meet other travelers.
- Is it weird to travel alone? No, it’s not weird to travel solo. It gives you more freedom over your traveling decisions and you don’t need to rely on other people’s schedules to go somewhere.
- Is solo travel boring? It depends on you. Some people might find solo travel boring while others love the freedom and find it exciting and fulfilling.
Still not convinced about traveling alone? What fears are holding you back from trying solo travel for the first time? Let me know in the comments below!
Read This Next:
- 7 Simple Ways to Ease into Solo Travel If It’s Your First Time
- Solo Female Traveler Safety Tips Every Woman Should Know
- How to Overcome Feeling Lonely While Traveling Solo
- How to Prepare for Your First Solo Trip
- Road Tripping Like a Pro: Planning Tips To Help You Stay Sane on Long Drives
- What I Learned From Traveling One Month in Southeast Asia While Working Full Time
- 18 Careers That Allow You To Work Remote