Just as your flight is about to take off for your two-week solo backpacking trip across Europe, you second guess yourself. You question yourself: why travel solo? What are my reasons for solo travel?
Each passing year, the global travel sector is recording more and more solo travelers.
Phocuswire conducted a survey with over 21,000 participants. In it, 76% of respondents had either traveled alone or were considering it. Within Generation Z and Millennial respondents, the most common reason for traveling solo was to get alone time. Generation X and Baby Boomers, however, answered that among all benefits of traveling alone, flexibility was the topmost.
With independent travel becoming more popular, travel destinations are working to make their cities more receptive to these unaccompanied explorers.
6 Irresistible Benefits Of Traveling Alone
1. You Set Your Itinerary
The absolute best part about traveling solo is the chance to do whatever your heart desires. You get to decide your method of travel and where you’re staying. This means you’ll have more control over the budget.
You don’t have to worry about having to balance input from three different people before a plan is finalized. You can also make plans on a whim without any disagreement.
2. You’re Free to Make Mistakes
Traveling alone means you don’t have to worry about choosing a bad restaurant. Since you’re not answering to anyone, you’re not left with guilt at the end of the day for possibly ruining someone’s trip. Your actions don’t affect anyone, so you can afford to miss an alarm and be late.
3. Everything’s Ready When You Are
Some people take hours to get ready for the day. Others can do it in a matter of minutes. When you’re with a group, you need to wait for the slowest one before the day can begin.
As a solo traveler, you can get ready on your own time. You don’t need to stress over holding people up, or get annoyed at the person who’s taking forever. The entire agenda is up to you.
4. You Get Many Opportunities to Meet New People
When you’re with friends, you’ll be in your comfort zone, and chances are, you won’t get lonely. So, there’s no pressing need to make friends with locals or other travelers.
However, when you’re traveling alone, there’s a chance you will become lonely and miss human company and conversation. That’s how travel friends are born. While this may seem like extra work, know that this is actually one of the best benefits of solo travel.
Join Facebook travel groups and check whether a fellow solo traveler will be in the same city as you. You can make plans to meet with them. You can also join a one-day group attractions tour to make friends.
5. You Learn Invaluable Life Lessons
Traveling solo is like a treasure chest of life lessons. You will have a lot of time to think, reflect and just be. This is when self-realization happens, and you learn a tremendous amount about yourself.
Since you have no one making decisions for you, you’ll be forced to be independent and take care of yourself. This, combined with the fact that you’re thriving in a new city by yourself, is a huge confidence booster.
6. You’re Forced to Learn Languages
You won’t be chatting away in your mother tongue with your buddy, so you will naturally listen to conversations around you. By doing this, it is easy to pick up phrases, and eventually, the language as well.
You also will not be traveling with anyone who knows the local language. This will encourage you to put more effort into learning a language.
Now, while we acknowledge that the advantages of traveling alone are insurmountable, that’s no excuse for being reckless.
Is It Safe To Travel Alone? 7 Tips For Staying Safe
1. Lie Freely to Sketchy Strangers
If a person approaches you, makes causal conversation, and then asks where you’re staying, feel free to lie to them. The most important thing to remember when traveling solo is that you don’t have to be nice. It doesn’t matter if you offend people or hurt their feelings. It is better to be safe than to be nice.
A lot of times, you’ll get a gut feeling that the stranger who approached you isn’t trustworthy. Go with your gut. Resist giving away personal information, give curt replies to anything they ask you, and try not to engage with them.
2. Carry Cash
Some countries aren’t technologically developed to where you can use a mobile app to make payments. Getting stuck in an unknown place without any way to pay for things is the last thing to want for yourself.
Scope out an ATM near your hotel and withdraw cash in small amounts every morning. Only get enough to get you through a single day. This way, if you lose your wallet or it gets stolen, you won’t be losing very much cash.
When you’re taking out the money to buy something, try to be discrete about the contents of your wallet. You don’t want to attract muggers.
3. Be Careful With Alcohol
Being in London and not visiting a pub is difficult, but when you’re traveling alone, try to resist the urge to get completely inebriated. Limit yourself to one or two drinks per night. If you’ve made bar friends and they’re encouraging you to keep drinking, decline anyway. You never know what people’s intentions are, and it’s easy to make a target of an intoxicated person.
Remember to always keep an eye on your drink. Never set your glass down unattended, and if you do, get a new drink. It’s very easy to spike a drink. Very often, perpetrators target those who are alone and don’t have someone watching out for them. On that note, try to make friends with the bartender. Most will be great talking companions who can tell you a ton about the city.
4. Research The Destination
Walk with purpose. Don’t stop to look confused and consult a map. Be confident in where you’re going, and if you do need to check a map, pretend you’re sending a text. Confidence is what will fool people into thinking you’re a local, and this confidence comes with research.
Look up routes before you leave your hotel room. It’s also a good idea to have emergency numbers, like police and medical services, saved on your phone’s home screen. Always check the safety index of the city you’re traveling to, and be aware of government-recommended safety measures.
5. Buy Travel Insurance
One of the biggest annoyances of solo travel is not having anyone to watch your bags when you take a quick bathroom break. If you’re a neat freak, taking your bags into the restroom with you may not be a desirable option, and an unattended bag has a very high risk of getting stolen.
That’s where a travel insurance plan can help. You can claim the loss with your insurer and get some of the cost reimbursed if the situation is covered by the policy. Make sure to take a photo of everything you’ve packed, as this will make the claims process simpler.
Check out Insubuy for various travel insurance plans, compare your options, and purchase one all on the website.
6. Documents And Valuables Safety
Your Cartier bracelet doesn’t need to come with you on your day out. Take off all of your jewelry and leave all of your valuables in the safe in your hotel room. The more bling you flash, the more people will target you.
As for documents like your passport, always carry that with you. Buy a slash-proof purse or bag where you can put your documents, cash, and cards. Have the bag slung across the front of your body where you can always see it. This will protect you from theft.
7. Learn Popular Scammers’ Tricks in That Location
Different cities have different scamming styles. Do a little research on this before you head out, so that way you know what to look out for.
In general, it’s a good idea to always be on high alert. Be aware of your surroundings and what’s going on around you. Having a moment’s notice to flee a scene is better than no notice at all.
The benefits of traveling alone make the activity nearly addictive. You do it once and you’ll never want to go back to waiting around for others. Be safe when you travel, and remember to have a lot of fun.
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