I consider traveling as one of the most important types of experience essential to self growth and personal development. Through travel, we are able to openly see how big the world truly is, and how there is so much more to living than what we initially thought. Needless to say, traveling creates memories that last a lifetime through the adventures we have.
Most of the time, we like to travel with other friends and family. It’s more fun that way – we have someone to talk to, someone to explore with, someone to make memories with.
So that’s why traveling solo is something most people don’t even want to consider. The fear of boredom and loneliness make the idea of solo traveling super unattractive.
But honestly, traveling solo is an experience that has a much greater impact on your personal development than if you were to travel with another person.
The entire trip is drastically different from a regular trip with other friends/family, so the growth you experience is drastically different as well. Your entire perspective, the way you view and experience your trip, changes completely.
I have traveled by myself quite a few times, including a few cities in the United States, Bangkok, Cuba, and Sri Lanka, and I am planning to add more to that list in the future.
From these experiences, I realized that there are about a million reasons why traveling is so important for the soul, but here are the top 5 that I feel are the most impactful and should convince you to go ahead and book that solo trip ASAP.
You are basically taking yourself out on a big date.
My standards might be a little high, but my idea of a “perfect date” is getting on an airplane to go off to some other country. When you travel with your boo, you make lasting memories with them, get to know them on a deeper level, and probably come back from the trip with even stronger feelings for them.
Travel is the perfect date (and definitely the way to my heart).
But, whether you are in a relationship or you are single, dating YOURSELF is something you HAVE to do and do often. It is essential to building self-love, compassion and confidence.
The reality is that you can’t really rely on anyone. I know how much you might love your significant other and your family, but at the end of the day, YOU need to have your own back. You gotta be the person who loves you the most.
Just think about it… would you date someone who is exactly like you? No matter what, your answer to that question should be HELL YEAH.
If it isn’t, then you must, must, must work on getting to know yourself and loving yourself – so date yourself.
If it is, then keep taking yourself out on dates! And like I said earlier… traveling is the perfect date.
So fly yourself out to some other interesting country, take yourself out to dinner dates, explore the area with yourself. Make some lasting memories with yourself. Get to know yourself at a deeper level. Become completely comfortable in your own skin.
You will come back from your trip with even stronger feelings about yourself, as you should, because you are YOU and you are AMAZING.
You learn “travel street smarts.”
One of the biggest concerns people have about traveling solo is safety. And it makes sense. It is scary being completely alone in a foreign country where you don’t really know anyone. But that’s where learning how to travel SMARTLY comes in.
First, you learn how to effectively do a thorough research into whatever place you are deciding to travel to. You’ll learn about the safety precautions you have to take, what to do there, how to get around, where to stay, etc. You are able to make a travel plan/itinerary all on your own.
Second, you learn how to actually plan the logistics of a trip. You learn how to search for and buy plane tickets, and how to find and book the right hotels or AirBnb.
And lastly (and most importantly), you begin to put all of it in action.
You go through the airport BY YOURSELF. Yes, that means finding your gate by yourself and getting on the airplane on time – by yourself.
You figure out figure out how to get around with public transportation and get to where you want to go.
You learn about how much you should pay for taxis. You learn how to bargain at souvenir stores (if you are in a country where that’s a thing).
These are all things that a lot of the time, other people have it all planned for you. When we travel with family, our parents often handle all this stuff. And when we travel with other friends, we work together to figure out all of this.
But since you are traveling by yourself, it is ultimately up to you to get all this stuff figured out ON YOUR OWN.
You also learn how to keep yourself safe using common sense – not wandering around alone in the middle of the night, not getting wasted drunk by yourself, not going off into weird places with strangers. This is essential to solo traveling.
Even though a lot of these skills seem pretty simple, they are still really essential to learn and practice. The more you learn it, the easier it gets, and the more comfortable you become with traveling, whether it is by yourself or with others.
You are completely free to do whatever, whenever.
Traveling by yourself means that you do not have to consider anyone else’s feelings, opinions, wants or needs during that time. You are only thinking about YOU. And trust me when I say that it’s actually a pretty comforting feeling.
You want to sleep in one day? Or do you want to wake up early to catch the sunrise?
You want to eat at that little hole-in-the-wall, mom and pop restaurant with $2 meals? Or do you want to splurge and eat at that fancy, 5-star restaurant?
You want to stay at a fancy hotel with amazing views? Or a bunker hostel where you share a room with 3 other people?
Do whatever YOU want to do. When you are traveling by yourself, you will hear absolutely zero complaints about whatever you are doing, simply because you are the one choosing what to do.
You plan your travel itinerary and where to go, what to do, and when to do it. You can add in whatever excursion or event you want to add in, and opt out of whatever you don’t really feel like doing.
My personal favorite is being able to take my sweet time when it comes to shopping for souvenirs, because I’m the type who takes forever to choose what to buy and I ALWAYS feel so guilty making people wait on me.
Traveling solo is ultimate freedom. And honestly speaking, being able to do exactly what you want to do with no restraints, guilt, or complaints is one of the best and happiest feelings.
You are more open to meeting people.
In my solo travels, I have met people through several different ways – volunteering in Sri Lanka, staying at a “party hostel” in Bangkok, and just spontaneously at restaurants, bars, etc. All different experiences with different types of people, but yet still amazing encounters that I might not have had if I were not traveling by myself.
The main reason why people do not want to travel solo is because they think that it is too lonely. However, feeling alone pushes you to become more open to meeting others.
The fact is, when we are with other people, we tend to just stick to talking to that person. We don’t feel the need to meet other people or talk to them, because we already have people to talk to.
It honestly can get lonely and boring traveling by yourself. But that’s why when you are alone, you are kind of forced to meet and talk to other people.
And this is actually a really good thing, because you really do meet amazing people from all over the world. You get into interesting conversations, learning things you might not have known before You can even find people to go on adventures with you, or get travel tips from.
Traveling solo does not mean you have to be alone the entire time. You WILL meet people through your travels, and whenever you do, spark that conversation and get to know them. You’ll be glad you did and it will become a part of your entire travel experience.
You push yourself out of your comfort zone into a better version of you.
I’m not going to lie to you – traveling by yourself really can be a scary thing at first. And that’s because it is the farthest thing from our comfort zone.
One, we are in a whole different country, with a whole different culture. You might be somewhere where the people look different, speak another language, the food is different. They might not even drive on the same side of the road as where your from!
And then two, you are completely by yourself. You don’t know anyone there and it can get overwhelming to have to figure everything out on your own.
You will feel that initial stage of discomfort, but it’s actually a good thing. Feeling this discomfort is a sign that you are stepping out of your comfort zone. It means that at that moment, you are pushing yourself into doing something you don’t usually do. You are transforming and growing into someone new, someone better.
Growth isn’t comfortable, and it isn’t supposed to be. But once you grow, there is no reversing backwards. You are a new person, with new skills, mindset, perspectives and experiences. But you can’t become that person by staying stagnant in the area you are most comfortable in.
The growth you have through solo travel is absolutely priceless, and that is why I truly believe that it is essential for everyone to do at least once in their lifetime.
You learn to become comfortable in your own skin. You learn to truly love yourself first and foremost. You discover so much about yourself and who you are as a person. You learn crucial travel skills and how to meet people.
So what are you waiting for? Go book that trip, sis.