People seem to generally fall into one of two categories when it comes to solo travel: either they adore it or they dread it. There are benefits and drawbacks to traveling alone, of course, as nothing is ever truly black and white. So, regardless of your age, gender, or sexual orientation, here are 10 lessons you can expect to learn when traveling alone.
1. Everyone’s doing it.
Okay, maybe not everyone, but probably far more people than you would expect. When you start to travel solo, your eyes open up to the wide range of travelers out there—don’t believe people only travel in couples or families.
2. It’s not as scary as you think.
Sure heading out into the big wide world by yourself can be a bit intimidating, but usually the anticipation of the unknown is far worse than actually doing it.
3. You’re never alone if you don’t want to be.
If you’re traveling alone and want to meet people, you will. There are plenty of ways to meet other travelers and locals through the places you stay, tours, activities and networking. Also, people traveling by themselves are usually more open and approachable than groups or pairs and you’ll find that people will want to help and look after you when you’re by yourself.
4. But, you may have some lonely moments.
That said, if you’re traveling long term, you’ll undoubtedly have some lonely moments. In travel, as in life, you have good days and bad days. Unfortunately, when you’re having a bad day by yourself in a foreign country, it can be pretty disheartening and frustrating. When you’re traveling with someone it’s often easier to laugh off mishaps or miscommunications, but when you’re on your own they can quickly become just plain depressing. The trick is not letting the lonely moments get to you and to just keep moving—there’s another incredible experience waiting for you around the corner!
5. Sitting alone with a meal, a beer and a book is a pretty nice way to spend your time.
Think it’s sad eating dinner alone? Not so much when you have good food, good drinks and a good story to get wrapped up in. You’ll miss these quiet moments to yourself when you’re back home.
6. You love the freedom of completely being your own boss.
When else have you totally been in control of what you do, where you go and when you eat? The freedom of traveling solo and doing whatever your heart desires is addicting. Want to eat cake for breakfast? Go ahead. Choose to spend the afternoon at a watering hole getting to know the locals instead of a museum? No one’s going to judge.
7. However, always being the decision maker can be exhausting.
Of course, being completely in charge means…well, you’re always in charge. You constantly have to be the one making decisions, organizing logistics and dealing with any issues that come up instead of tag teaming them with a travel partner.
8. Sometimes selfies are unavoidable.
You’ll learn to embrace the selfie, otherwise you’ll be left with no evidence of your amazing adventures!
9. There will be things you wish you could share with others.
A funny encounter, an unbelievable view, an amazing accommodation find—there will be times when you wish you could share the moment with someone else instead of just enjoying it on your own.
10. You’re more open to unexpected experiences and travel twists.
By being in charge of your own schedule you can see where your journey leads you instead of having to work around someone else’s plans. It’s easier to do something different, make a last-minute travel change or alter your course when you only have to worry about yourself—embrace it!