7 Reasons why you should take a solo trip + 3 reasons why you should not
Taking a solo trip will absolutely change your life in the best way. Everyone should take a solo trip! However I will say that solo travel is definitely better for advanced travelers than newbies. This is definitely not to say that you should never travel solo (because you should). But knowing what stage you’re at will tell you whether you should gain some more travel experience or if you’re ready to take the leap and go on a solo trip.
I’ll start this blog post with a small personal story. Then we’ll dive into exactly who should take a solo trip, and who should gain some more travel experience first.
I took my first solo trip too early without preparing at all. And it was unsurprisingly a major fail. The first time I traveled abroad was to stay with a friend in Florence Italy for about a month. What I failed to think about, was that I had a weekend in Paris by myself beforehand.
So I landed in Paris, which was my first time traveling internationally and my first time traveling solo for what I’m sure you can assume was a complete anxiety-filled trainwreck of a travel experience. I visited the Eiffel Tower and then went straight to my hotel room. I stayed there for the next 2 days until it was time to board my flight to Italy.
However I didn’t let that trip stop me from traveling solo in the future! I kept traveling, kept gaining experience, and now I’ve had so much fun visiting dozens of countries by myself. By knowing yourself and what you’re looking for in a solo trip, you’ll know when it’s the right time to go.
In this blog post you will learn:
- 7 reasons why you should take a solo trip
- 3 reasons you may not be quite ready
- How to get to a place where you’re ready to take your first solo trip
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7 Reasons Why You Should Take A Solo Trip
You get to be in charge of your own itinerary.
When you’re traveling solo, you don’t have to get stuck doing what other people want to do instead of what you want to do. You get to decide exactly where you go, what activities you do, what you spend your money on, etc.
When you travel with friends you won’t always agree on everything. This can mean compromising on some things you wanted to do in order to stay with the group. Maybe your friends want to go to a concert but you really want to go for a sunset hike. Someone is going to have to compromise to stay with the group, or be okay venturing solo.
Sometimes you over commit and don’t have the energy to do what the group planned. Or maybe you would just rather do something else. When you’re traveling with a group you have to just suck it up sometimes. But when you’re traveling solo you can rearrange your trip in order to accommodate.
Sometimes I plan a few hikes back to back but end up needing some extra time to rest and recharge instead. Sometimes I’ll have something come up for work that needs to be done immediately. When I’m traveling by myself, all of these things can easily be rearranged so I don’t miss out on anything. When I’m traveling with a group, I miss out on the fun activities that were planned.
You have the freedom to just wander and explore at your own pace.
The most fun I have when traveling are the times where I just hop on a bus or a train and see where I end up. When I get to just explore a random city’s neighborhoods or trails and talk to the locals all afternoon.
When you’re traveling alone, you get to wake up with no plans and see where the day takes you. You get to wander the streets and stop into every little mom and pop store you want to. If you want to stop at 20 different gelato shops along the way to find your favorite, you can do that (without anyone judging you!).
If you decide you want to take a long walk instead of the train, you can do that. You have the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want.
You get to stop wherever and whenever you want.
If you decide you want to throw out your itinerary, do something else for the afternoon or take a spontaneous weekend trip, you can do that! Meet a cool person? Ask them to grab a drink! Learn that you’re 2 hours away from a town you’d really enjoy? Hop on a train or rent a car and go visit for a day!
I changed my mind at the airport once and went to the South of France instead of Switzerland (for weather purposes). I’ve also been able to say yes to joining last minute activities with new friends! Like the time I got to visit a friend’s family vineyard in Italy. Or the time I stayed up all night with a group of travelers in Amsterdam. Or got tapas and went night swimming with some awesome people I met while on a walking tour in Barcelona.
Those are some memories that I’ll never forget and some of my favorite travel memories of all time! All of them were spontaneous. I never would’ve been able to do it if I had to worry about sticking with the group’s plans.
You get exposed to new people and cultures.
You’re so much more approachable when you’re alone (which can be both a good and bad thing). On the good side, you have the opportunity to talk to strangers at a bar, or spend more time talking with people that you just met.
By doing this you get to experience different cultures, people, values, and ideas.
I grew up in a very suburban neighborhood where everyone had the same experiences, view of life, and values.
When I started traveling it was the first time I was exposed to people that were different from me. People that grew up less fortunate or were raised with different morals, and therefore had a completely different set of experiences and values.
This taught me compassion and how to be open minded more than anything else ever could. It taught me how privileged I really was and allowed me to shape my own morals and opinions so that my actions could benefit the greater good, rather than just myself and my life.
You get out of your comfort zone.
Nothing forces you out of your comfort zone quite like being in an unfamiliar place where you don’t know anybody and have no clue what the heck is going on. Nothing teaches you compassion like visiting communities that are less fortunate. And nothing opens your mind like having conversations with people who have completely different experiences and values than you. These experiences force you to grow and change in ways that make you a better, smarter, and kinder person.
You develop independence.
When you’re traveling by yourself, you get to call all the shots. You decide if you want to go hiking or cancel your plans to lay on the beach all day. You learn how to problem solve on your own. If you get lost, you learn how to find your own way.
While these can be scary things in the moment, they teach you life skills better than anything else ever could. Pretty soon you’ll actually start to crave this feeling of being lost. It’ll start to feel like a puzzle. How far can you venture out of your comfort zone and find your way back? What will you learn from it?
Chances are if you’re looking to go on a solo trip it’s because you’re unhappy with where you’re at in life or with who you are.
The first time I went on a really long solo trip it was because I had just gotten out of a relationship where I had completely lost myself. I wanted to shut everyone else out, step out of my shy introverted shell, and regain my independence. And somewhere between getting lost in Lake Como, convincing a guy to fly to Switzerland just to take me on a date, solo backpacking through the alps, and staying up all night with new friends in Amsterdam, I did exactly that!
3 Reasons Why You Should Not Take A Solo Trip
You’re Not An Experienced Traveler
If you’re where I was when I arrived in Paris, taking a solo trip will give you more anxiety than it will be beneficial. I experienced culture shock, had no idea what I was doing, and had no clue how to get help. This definitely does not mean that you should never take a solo trip, but it does mean that you should probably hold off on it for now. Travel with your friends or close to home, and when that starts to feel comfortable for you then you can start thinking about taking a solo trip to a faraway destination.
This could also refer to destinations that are not familiar to you. I’m an experienced solo traveler through Europe and the US, but I’ve never been to Asia, so it may be a better option for me personally to travel to Asia with a friend who has been there before when going for the first time.
Pro Tip: If you want to go somewhere you’re not comfortable traveling to alone but can’t find a friend to go with you, sign up for a group tour to start with!
I was supposed to go to Bali last year, so I booked a group tour for the first week so I could get the hang of things and ask questions, and then gave myself 3 weeks after to explore on my own. Unfortunately the pandemic put all of that on hold, but you get the point.
You’re Trying To Impress Other People
Listen, I’m not judging you. We’ve all been in a place where we’re trying to one up our friends or neighbors, or have content to post on social media. People talk, and we love to feel desired or envied by others. It’s human nature.
But that’s never a good motivating factor to spend a bunch of money, like on a trip. In that case, you’re not going to really enjoy the trip, so it’s just going to be money wasted. If you’re more concerned about what photos you can get at a destination in order to impress people back home or on Instagram, then don’t go. Instead you should go somewhere where you feel like you’d enjoy the culture, have a great time, and learn a thing or two.
The best types of trips are the ones where you forget to take photos because you’re having too much fun. I find those to be much more memorable than the trips where I stop to take photos every 5 minutes. They never do the place justice anyway!
It all comes back to knowing your why. Why do you want to go to certain places or travel the whole world? When you have that figured out, everything else will fall into place.
You’re Not In A Good Mental Space
Sometimes a solo trip can cure your loneliness or feeling of being lost. But personally I find that when I’m struggling heavily with anxiety or depression, a trip with my girlfriends can be a better option.
Deciding whether or not to travel solo is similar to deciding whether or not you want to be alone or with friends in everyday life.
If you’re going through a tough time and you’re sitting in your bed filling your head with anxious thoughts or crying a lot, being alone may not be the best idea for you at the moment. But on the other hand if you’re avoiding being around people because you feel like you need to do some introspection and personal growth on your own, taking a solo trip could be the perfect thing for you.
Just pay attention to your actions and thought patterns in your daily life so you can figure out if being alone or being social would be better for you, and use that to plan your trip.
I hope you found this guide to be helpful! You can click here to be directed to more posts about solo travel or click here for travel tips and travel guides to specific cities. You can follow us on Instagram to be a part of our incredible community of badass travelers, and subscribe to my newsletter to be the first to know when a new blog post goes up, get exclusive tips and content by email, and learn about new products and promotions.
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