Bold, confident and utterly liberating – three words that come to mind when I think about solo travel. Now that COVID-19 travel restrictions are easing, I can safely assume we are all itching to get out and explore the world after nearly two years of strict regulations and confinement.
Solo travel has become an increasingly popular concept, and the easing of travel restrictions will only be increasing its popularity once more. This stems from it being an opportunity to grow as an individual and discover who we are without the influence of others, giving us a new and fulfilling insight into travel as we venture out into the big wide world alone.
You finally get to discover and explore a new destination without being tainted by the likes and dislikes of your travel companions and can realise your own views and form your own memories of new destinations, without the influence or involvement of others.
But no experience can come without its reservations and difficulties, especially not solo travel. Solo travel in itself is a daunting concept – alone in a new and unfamiliar environment, surrounded by strangers, it’s no wonder that a lot of people are reserved and not fond of the prospect. Not to mention there are a lot of extra considerations you must take before you consider embarking on your travels alone.
There is no doubt that you must deliberate before venturing on a solo trip, and travelling alone comes – like all things – with both pros and cons that may sway your view. But, in essence, these may all help in answering one vital question: does it pay to be brave?
Learn more about yourself
Being able to venture as you please and satisfy that feeling of wanderlust is easily achievable when you’re solo travelling and, in the process, you may even begin to learn more about yourself.
Travelling alone is the perfect opportunity for you to discover your strengths and weaknesses whilst you’re exploring. Without others to help, guide or support you on your travels, you’ll find out exactly what you’re good at, and not so great at. You may find your navigational abilities are not up to scratch (I know mine aren’t) and that you’re a tad scared of doing certain things without others to do them with.
But that’s the purpose of solo travel – it’ll push you out of your comfort zone and help you work on your weaknesses (albeit the hard way!) and both realise and embrace what you’re great at whilst you’re alone. You may find you have no issues or worries in participating in new crazy activities and experiences or approaching other travellers and locals on your trips.
Embrace your solo travel, as it will help you embrace yourself, and you’ll become braver in the process.
No companions – no worries
There’s a sense of relief that comes with solo travel – not having to worry about or consider the needs of others is freeing! I don’t think this by any means because I’m either selfish or inconsiderate, but you have to admit being able to do what you want, when you want without having to stress about or work around others is a major benefit of travelling alone. But of course, this is no doubt something that being brave ties into.
You need to prioritise safety
‘Safety in numbers’ is the phrase that immediately comes to mind. Anyone places themselves in an increasingly vulnerable position when they’re going anywhere on their own and so it should be no surprise that prioritising your safety when solo travelling is an important consideration to make.
Especially if you’re a woman, the concept of travelling alone can be a daunting one, even in our own countries and hometowns. But this doesn’t mean you should avoid solo travel.
But all of this can be accounted for with a little bit of preparation and common sense. Stay in busier areas where possible, especially at night; keep friends and family at home up to date with what you’re up to and if you feel uncomfortable in a situation, remove yourself from it. Trust your gut instincts and prioritise being safe. Don’t let this put you off though, with the right precautions and a little bit of bravery you can enjoy your solo travel experience.
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You place yourself in the ‘lone traveller’ category
Travelling solo means being labelled as the ‘lone wolf’ in some cases, but this definitely isn’t a disadvantage of solo travel. If anything, you’ll probably find that you’re much more approachable – to both locals and fellow travellers. Travelling in larger numbers can mean people perceive you as already having defined and being satisfied with your ‘travel circle’ and companions, meaning you may find less people making an effort to approach you.
Frankly, it may be that some people find you less intimidating when you’re on your own, and this is what makes them gravitate towards you when you haven’t got family or friends that you’re travelling with.
A major benefit of this is that you may be more likely to make friends or find fellow lone travellers that you can bond with en route, if this is something you’d be interested in of course. Travelling alone calls for guts and so does building new relationships in a new environment so, whichever you choose to do, you’re still brave.
Brave or stupid?
Some people simply cannot comprehend why anyone would want to venture out alone to a place they’ve never been before, and I can see their point, but only to a certain extent.
You’re alone in a foreign place, with no physical support from friends or family and have to negotiate your surroundings and find your bearings despite this. And not to mention it places your safety at heightened risk.
But this doesn’t make solo travel a stupid goal by any means, it just makes you even more brave for trusting yourself and learning to prioritising your wants and needs when you’re exploring a foreign environment.
It is without a doubt that solo travel calls for bravery, or at least for you to be open to a new and enriching experience whilst learning to be brave in the process. Embrace your freedom now that restrictions are easing and, regardless of your age or stage in life, try your hand at solo travel and see if you surprise yourself.