In 2010, I left for a trip of indefinite length. I was by myself, and outside of a brief trip to Peru in 2007, it was my first substantial foray into solo travel. I knew I wanted to travel by myself, and many of my original reasons were valid ones. However, I also discovered unexpected ways in which a solo trip proved to be the best decision.
No group decision making
No two people will ever think alike, let alone three people or more. When you’re on the road, you don’t want to spend half your trip arguing about which restaurant to go to or which tourist attraction to visit. The fact is, if you travel with multiple people, there is a good chance that you won’t be able to do and see all the things that you want to. If you have spent a good chunk of change on your trip, it will be extremely frustrating to miss out on something that was high up on your list.
When you travel solo, you might have to deal with some indecision, but at the end of the day, every choice is yours and yours alone. If you feel like sleeping in one morning rather than rushing out to the tourist sites, you can do it. If you feel like cramming in three museums and a walking tour in one day, it’s not problem if you are up for it.
You become more outgoing
One reason that solo travel is becoming more common, is that it forces travelers out of their comfort zone. If you are traveling with a friend, or friends, you will spend most of your time interacting with them. That’s fine, but you can also do that when you’re at home.
While traveling solo, you have no choice but to interact with people that you don’t know. Whether it’s locals, expats or fellow travelers, you have a greater chance of making new friends and building new relationships, when you are traveling on your own.
Greater responsibility and independence
This is one positive that I was unable to anticipate before I started traveling solo. As an independent traveler, you simply have more responsibility and independence. If you don’t have a friend or family member by your side, it’s on you, and only you, to figure out how to get to the train station and get on the correct train to your destination – all in an environment that may feature a foreign language. These situations will help you develop a host of skills that will be valuable at other points in life, even when you’re no longer on the road.