16 Reasons to Travel Solo

It's really hard to have an Eat, Pray, Love-epiphany if you're busy fighting with your boyfriend all the time.

Quick+Dirty!

Travel solo and enjoy all sorts of benefits that people with travel partners miss out on. You know, like having impromptu love affairs with people who don’t speak English, and taking naps whenever you want.

Here are just a few of the zillions of reasons to travel solo when you travel abroad:

1. You can be selfish

How often do you get to go wherever you want, eat whatever you want, spend your money however you want and sleep until you wake up?

My guess is not very often. When you travel solo, the only person you have to answer to is you.

You can choose the restaurant, the activities, and the people you interact with based solely on how you feel. This allows you to be completely spontaneous, which in turn will lead you to the incredible, unexpected experiences that will come to define your travels.

The freedom that comes with taking no one else’s feelings or opinions or preferences into account is mind-blowing, empowering, totally addicting, and only available when you travel solo.

2. You’ll never get sick of anyone

I see it all the time. It happens between couples, family members, friends and roommates. It even happens between backpackers who’ve just met.

When you spend 24/7 with someone – even with someone you really like – you’re bound to become completely sick of them at some point.

The problem is that there’s no escape from each other – if don’t travel solo, you’ll have to face the irritating party much sooner than you normally would if you were back time. You don’t have enough time to cool off, which leads to travel tension and a soured trip.

It takes a very special interpersonal dynamic to be able to navigate this kind of travel tension. If you decide not to travel solo, make sure you’ve spent a lot of time with your travel partner in the past and know what you’re signing up for.

Travel can bring out the worst in people  because you end up in highly stressful situations about every 5 minutes.

Just make sure you can handle Danny’s dark side or Karen’s sneaky drinking habits without losing your shit.

If it’s annoying at home, it’ll be 10x worse on the road.

Travel solo and take copious amounts of selfies

Travel solo and take copious amounts of selfies

3. You can change your mind

Last night you planned to wake up early and go to the museum. This morning, you’re in more of a lazy beach mood.

Because you chose to travel solo, that’s no problemo! Let the wind blow you where it may, and start to understand the meaning of the phrase “go with the flow.”

4. You can plan ahead

When you choose to travel solo, you can start planning your trip today.

The only person’s schedule that matters is yours. The only preferences that matter are yours. You don’t have to wait and see if your man can get off work or consult with Stephanie to see if she’d rather do Paris in July or October.

This makes it infinitely easier to plan your trip. It’s also a bit scary, really empowering, and really exciting!

While you may not be able to get on a plane today, the choice to travel solo frees you to book the ticket today. Do it and don’t tell anybody. Walk around with a little travel secret in your pocket for a few days, and bask in the glow of your upcoming journey.

5. You’ll never be “that couple”

They’ve been sitting there for 27 solid minutes without saying a word to each other. In fact, they’ve barely looked at each other. She’s on her phone, he’s looking anywhere but at her. They both breathe a sigh of relief whenever the waitress comes to refill their drinks or take their order.

It’s the dreaded Fighting Travel Couple.

An FTC is easy to spot. If they’re not ignoring each other over some fine dining, she’s storming 6 feet ahead of him down the street, or trying to hold back tears as he yells at her in front of a crowd of baffled locals.

It’s a scene I see even more often than the fighting friends or sisters or roomies featured in reason #2. And it’s terrifying.

Whenever I’m sitting in a restaurant alone, sipping a glass of wine and listening to my waiter weave fascinating tales about his family’s village, I always thank my lucky stars that I chose to travel solo. I’d rather spend 30 years alone that experience one night as an FTC.

These two haven't spoken since they left Chiang Mai.

These two haven’t spoken since they left Chiang Mai.

6. You can save money

When you’re traveling with others, whether it’s your partner or your parent or a group, there is this pressure to do stuff, and see stuff, and spend all sorts of cash.

The group wants to do a full day motorbike tour, so you’ll do the full day motorbike tour. Your friend wants to try the fancy restaurant, and before you know it you’ve blown half your budget on a single bottle of wine.

When you travel solo, it’s a lot easier to find financial balance.

You can stay in cheap guest houses for a few weeks, then treat yourself to a night in a five star resort. You can opt to take the bus instead of fly, or vice versa, depending on how much you’re willing or able to spend at the time.

7. You can work abroad

Speaking of saving money, when you travel solo it’s a snap to work abroad. This is especially true for digital nomads, who may have to spend 40+ hours a week working even though they’re traveling at the same time.

But this sort of set up is not conducive to group or partner travel, especially if no one else in the group is working.

While everyone else is headed out to sight-see, you’re stuck in the hotel room finishing a project. You’ll be pissed you’re missing out, and your friends won’t understand why you’re in friggin’ Laos but are spending 12 hours a day cooped up in your guest house.

When you travel solo, you can make your own schedule, work when you need to, then go out and see stuff when you’re finished (and no one will give you any crap about it!).

8. Your budget can fluctuate

When you travel solo, it doesn’t matter if you’re flush with cash or are living on a backpacker’s budget. You stay where you can afford to stay, you eat what you can afford to eat, and you make decisions based on your own income and budget constraints.

Not so when you’re with someone else. It’s super awkward to be flash-packing with a bunch of backpackers, or to be broke when everyone else wants to do the $3,000 cycling tour.

You may also find that your budget fluctuates over time, making it even more important to travel solo. If you’re suddenly broke or suddenly rich, you can change plans accordingly without creating an uncomfortable situation between travel buddies.

9. You can take naps whenever you want

And no one will wake you up. Or give you shit for taking a nap in the middle of the day.

10. You’ll meet people in restaurants

When I eat with friends, I eat with friends and that’s that. We go to the restaurant together, we talk to each other, and we leave together.

When I eat alone, I make friends with the restaurant staff, I get invited to sit at stranger’s tables, strangers plop themselves down and sit at my table, and I begin to collect what always end up being my favorite travel experiences.

It's much easier to meet locals when you travel solo.

It’s much easier to meet locals when you travel solo.

11. You can fall in love

Travel solo and you just might have the chance to fall in love. Sometimes it will be with a handsome stranger. Sometimes it will be with that special someone waiting for you at home. And in the best of circumstances, it will be with yourself.

  • Your relationship back home will be put into perspective when you travel solo, and you’ll know whether it’s a good fit for you or not. If it’s not, it will be easy to let go. If it is, you’ll be more appreciative and more in love than ever when you return home.
  • You’ll learn to enjoy your own company when you travel solo. You’ll begin to feel as fabulous as your new friends think you are. You’ll see how little you need, how much you have to offer, and how whole you are, exactly as you are. It’s just a corny line until it actually happens – you’ll fall in love with yourself.
  • You are going to meet so many wonderful people when you travel solo that you heart might explode. You will meet men who change everything you’ve ever believed about “how men are.” You will meet men so wonderful that instead of trying to change them, you’ll want to be more like them. Falling for a handsome foreigner is a deceptive cliche – it’s not about the accent or the cultural differences. It’s about meeting the love of your life. You know, the soul mate kind.

12. You can leave when you fall out of love

And then, when it doesn’t work out and your heart is broken to pieces and it’s super awkward seeing him with his new girlfriend, you can peace out and move on to the next country.

13. No one will see you at your worst

Travel solo and don’t be surprised when it brings out the worst in you before it brings out the best. You’re lonely, the menus aren’t in English, and the diarrhea medication the doctor gave you is not working.

At times like these, it’s nice to be alone and regroup without having the added stress of your irritated lover or your judgey sister watching you vomit or cry or have a major freak out.

Travel solo and wear ridiculous hats.

Travel solo and wear ridiculous hats.

14. You’ll work through all your shit

You’ll return from a group trip remembering how much fun you had. You’ll return from a solo trip as a more evolved human being.

15. You’ll realize you’re never alone

When you look back on the time you chose to travel solo, you’re not going to picture all those nights alone in bed or all those meals taken alone in basement restaurants.

You’ll remember the lovely woman you befriended in Laos, or the welcoming restaurant staff at that hotel in Cambodia, or the couple you ended up traveling with for two weeks straight in Vietnam.

You’ll see that wherever you are in the world, you’re never really alone – it just takes going alone to make you realize it.

16. You’ll find God

If God speaks to us in the silent spaces of ours hearts, our only job is to listen. When you travel solo, spend time with yourself, and spend time in silence, that job becomes easier and easier.

If God exists right now, and not in the past or the future, then travel is one surefire way to connect with the divine.

When you travel, you are shocked into the present moment again and again. Every sight, every sound, every smell is new. You’re a child looking at the world with wonder and awe, and from this headspace, God is everywhere.

Would you travel solo to see the world?

What are you most afraid of?

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Quick+Dirty Takeaway

When you travel solo...

1. You can be selfish

2. You’ll never get sick of anyone

3. You can change your mind

4. You can plan ahead

5. You’ll never be “that couple” (AKA a "FTC" or "Fighting Travel Couple")

6. You can save money

7. You can work abroad

8. Your budget can fluctuate

9. You can take naps whenever you want

10. You’ll meet people in restaurants

11. You can fall in love

12. You can leave when you fall out of love

13. No one will see you at your worst

14. You’ll work through all your shit

15. You’ll realize you’re never alone

16. You'll find God

Want to dig deeper? Go for it!

2 comments on “16 Reasons to Travel Solo

  1. Luke

    You are never truly alone when you travel. You will always meet fellow travelers and make part-time friends. Also, depending on which country you are in, foreigners can be a bit of a novelty and get a lot of attention from the locals. I am currently in a small town in Colombia (about 10,000 people) and I am the only “gringo” in the whole town. It bwas a bit intimidating to start with, but most of the locals now say hi as I walk down the streets.

    Reply
    1. Rebekah Voss

      Luke, that is so awesome! I bet you feel like a celebrity in that town. I completely agree with you that you’re never truly alone when you travel. I find it much easier to meet people traveling than I did back home, especially since I’m usually holed up working for most of the day. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

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