You and your best friend have your whole trip planned out. You’re so excited. And then you find out they can’t go anymore. What should you do? Travel solo!
I was originally planning on backpacking Europe this summer with my best friend. Our rough route was already all planned out. We talked about all the places we would see together. We talked about all the foods we would try together. We talked about all the crazy activities we would do together.
I found out a few days ago that her parents are against her going and she’s not going to be able to go.
I was devastated.
What do I do now?
Ever since then, I’ve been feeling extremely torn between not going as well… or to backpack Europe solo. The thought of travelling alone seemed incredibly daunting at first.
Am I ready to travel solo? What if I’m lonely? Would I even enjoy the experience?
After researching the safety aspects of solo female travel, much thought and consideration, and a few sleepless nights, I’ve made the decision to travel solo!
I want to share with you my reasons for making the decision to go alone, but since I don’t exactly have experience travelling solo yet, I decided to team up with a few of my fellow female travellers who have. Some of them have travelled solo for a couple of trips, while others have been travelling solo for over ten years. Together we bring you 9 reasons why not having anyone to travel with shouldn’t stop you from going yourself!
1. IT CAN OPEN UP A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF DISCOVERY
Solo travel constantly puts you in situations where you have to think outside the box, step out of your comfort zone, and talk to people you probably wouldn’t normally talk to. It opens up a whole new world of discovery where other’s opinions of a place aren’t subconsciously tampering your thoughts and you are free to observe all our surroundings in a translucent environment.
CrazyTravelista from CrazyTravelista
2. YOU WILL MEET NEW PEOPLE
Whenever I travel with a group of friends, no matter how large or small, I find we all stick together. There’s never anything more than small talk and pleasantries engaged with fellow travellers. Once I’m alone, I can’t get enough of meeting new people — locals and tourists and travellers alike! I’ve made great friendships from my solo trips and really enjoy getting to know different people from various cultures and all walks of life. It definitely enhances the travelling experience. It’s also part of the reason why sometimes I really do prefer solo travel.
Jess from Jess is a Wanderer
3. YOU CAN GO AT YOUR OWN PACE
Travelling solo brings me peace, involvement with strangers who will soon become friends, and of course there’s no one rushing me to hurry. I can go at my own pace and observe my surroundings without anyone telling me what to do. It helps me learn about the environment I am in and concentrate on their culture, all in my own time.
Ghowneu from Ghowneu’s Adventure
4. YOU WON’T NEED TO COMPROMISE
Before I went on my first solo trip, I had planned to travel with a friend who bailed on me a few months before. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, it was one of the best things that could happen. It pushed me to take a chance on traveling solo and now I love it! When you travel by yourself there is no need for compromise — you can go where you want, when you want and do whatever you want!
Chantell from Adoration 4 Adventure
5. IT FORCES YOU TO TACKLE A LANGUAGE BARRIER
When you travel with others, you will tend to continue speaking your own native language between yourselves. However, if you’re alone, you cannot hide behind your native language, and you’re forced to communicate with other travellers and locals. Even when you feel completely lost, you will somehow find a way to communicate. I have been twice in Azerbaijan and the truth is that many people, even young people, cannot speak English. I start looking in my mental glossary for a way to communicate and the only thing that sometimes works is that year of Russian language I did in college, which I feel is not enough to make a complete sentence that actually makes sense. People over there try to be friendly, though, and when I spoke my broken Russian, they all made me feel like I was rocking it. I met a friend from Argentina in Italy that I will always remember because she wasn’t afraid to start speaking Spanish with everyone she saw in the street. She knew that they would understand each other somehow.
Brenda from Traveleira
6. IT WILL REFINE YOUR GUT
Not having anyone to travel with shouldn’t stop you from going by yourself. Why? Because your gut needs you and you need that gut in tip-top condition. That gut of yours is the best ‘people judgement’ tool you’re ever going to have. If you’re flying solo, through trial and error, you’re going to build upon that gut’s feelings to give yourself the best fighting chance of not being scammed, not being taken advantage, possibly meeting and hanging out with the nicest people ever. If you were travelling with someone else, how could you and your gut go through that essential training together? You just wouldn’t get enough practice. Be best friends with your gut and you’ll come out the other end as a seriously top traveller!
Alice Teacake from Teacake Travels
7. YOU WILL FIND OUT WHAT YOU WANT
Traveling alone makes you more decisive; it forces you to find out what you really want from your life. If you go with friends every time and you do not have a dominant personality (cracking a whip, haha), you might end up just doing what everyone else wants… even though it’s not exactly your cup of tea. Out of laziness. The worst part is when you are left with regret. For me, traveling on my own felt really empowering.
Girl Astray from Girl Astray
8. YOU WILL GAIN STRENGTH AND INDEPENDENCE
It is crucial in this life to be strong and resilient and there is nothing like a long jump outside your comfort zone, your normalcy, into another country to shake yourself up. With each challenge you face during travel, you get through it and are then reminded that you don’t need anyone to solve your problems for you. You become your own best friend, your watchdog, and your own personal guide. Travel and independence feed each other and develop you into the best version of yourself.
Heather from She Goes Global
9. BECAUSE YOU WANT TO TRAVEL
If you want to do something in life, just go for it. I waited a few years for someone to join me. I kept saving and researching and planning, and the day finally came… Two years later, and it was time to buy that plane ticket and nobody wanted to go. So I just did it alone, because I wanted nothing more but to travel. I was over waiting. Turns out, it was the best decision ever. Do it because you want to travel. Don’t stop yourself from doing anything in life because someone doesn’t want to do it with you.
Nina from Where in the World is Nina