Ten reasons to travel alone

  • SumoMe

I love travelling. Period. However, I’ve always been rather hesitant about travelling alone. It’s probably got to do with the fact that I’ve never liked eating alone. So, when I embarked on a solo five-month round-the-world trip in 2008, I was terribly excited but I was also a bit doubtful if I would enjoy it. I’ve travelled alone before but never for such a lengthy amount of time.

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Lone bird

I can tell you this now: within the first week, those doubts had evaporated into thin air! I had the best time of my life: I learned a slew of new things about myself, about our world and its people and about being a more open-minded, balanced and positive individual. Since that trip, I’ve become a solo traveller ‘convert’. Based on my own experiences, I can highly recommend travelling alone. To help convince the ‘doubtful’, I’ve compiled a short list below of reasons why one should travel alone.

  1. You get to do your own thing at your own leisure
  2. You’ll have more time (and less distractions) to reflect on your life (past, present and future)
  3. It’s a great confidence builder
  4. You’ll meet a lot more people
  5. You’ll learn to depend more on yourself
  6. It teaches you to become a better planner (if you weren’t one already)
  7. You’ll be more susceptible to new ideas and/or perspectives
  8. You’ll learn to better appreciate your own talents and skills
  9. You’ll learn to become a better decision-maker
  10. You might learn something new about yourself or discover a talent you never thought you had!

The list above is by no means exhaustive. If you would like to read more about travelling alone, please check out ‘Ten things to do when you travel alone’ on this blog or ‘Fear of Going Solo’ on the Kaleidoscopic Wandering blog. If you’ve travelled alone or if you’re thinking about it, I would be very interested to know your thoughts on this subject. Please share them by leaving a comment.

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56 Responses to “Ten reasons to travel alone”

  1. Sachin @ Safari In India 30/10/2013 6:28 pm
    #

    Well said Keith,, travelling alone is the real travelling unless you are one of those wannabes. Solo travelling the the way to go if you really want to feel the destination and its culture. As someone once said “When I travel, people say ‘Yet another place in this world’. But I see ‘Another world inside every place I go”.. Cheers & keep up the good world.

  2. Jessica 14/06/2012 4:49 pm
    #

    I totally agree that traveling alone would be a lot easier then going with the whole family. You could just do what ever you want to do and try to meet new people. I completely agree with #5, #6, and #7, it also does give you a lot of self-confidence. Once or twice it would be fun to go alone, but after a whileI think you might get bored. For myself I would never want to travel alone, i would want to hang out with friends and family and try to make new memories. Safe traveling.

  3. john 10/01/2012 6:26 am
    #

    I like traveling alone. I’ve traveled alone to Thailand,Europe and Vietnam (twice). I meet a few people while in those countries,however don’t count on them to keep in contact with you when your traveling is over. As its been said before, life is short see what you can of the world in your lifetime and enjoy the experience. Never rely on people for anything because most of the time they will be unpredictable and let you down. If you alone and looking for friends, forget travel, and stay at home with a good dog.

  4. velvet 09/06/2011 8:50 pm
    #

    Gosh! Hi CC! WOW, how awesome that you found me here on the net! Yes, I remember you. I’ll never forget those fabulous dinners we had with the rest in San Telmo! You might remember moments from my latest post on BA (“Chilling in BA”). 🙂
    Thanks so much for connecting. This is so amazing – still can’t believe this! What’s also amazing is the travelling you do on your own. Truly inspirational stuff!
    Keep on travelling and travel safe CC!

    Big hugs,
    Keith

  5. CC Huffhines 09/06/2011 8:41 pm
    #

    I’m the old guy who met you in Buenos Aires a few years ago. Just returned from a one month
    jaunt across China … Shanghai, Luoyang, Xian, Chengdu, Lesan, Lijiang, Dali, Kunming. This was
    my second trip in China, this time alone on trains and busses. Though 83 years old, I stayed in
    youth hostels … good for the budget and I meet active, interesting, young people … all good things
    to keep an old man feeling spry! I was alone in BA, have done so all over Europe, Peru and Africa.
    Good thing I enjoy traveling solo … all my contemporaries are dead! I really enjoy your website,
    you are immensely talented.

  6. April Thompson 15/02/2011 10:39 pm
    #

    By far the best way to travel because of #1 and #4. Still working on #6!

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Webjet.com 15/02/2011 6:12 pm
    #

    Great post! I just wrote a post this morning offering tips for solo travel, and I would love to hear your thoughts. I think a lot of people are turned off by solo travel because of the over-arching safety issue, but the positives most definitely outweigh the negatives 🙂

  8. walks of italy 15/11/2010 7:54 am
    #

    travel alone post really good , all reason’s are good and meaningful , so i like this post a lot and thanks for sharing information………….

  9. Sherry 22/08/2010 1:09 pm
    #

    Absolutely right on all ten items. Traveling solo is empowering; you make your way alone to return home a more confident, accomplished and self-aware person. Having just returned from a 68 day solo trip reaching two continents (without flying), your list reminded me of why I love traveling solo.

    Sherry

  10. allison 22/08/2010 1:05 pm
    #

    Im gna travel alone to melb next yr n it be my 1st time so you were right.. cz while im excited im feeling doubtful as well.. lovely post.. love it 🙂

  11. velvet 09/06/2010 1:43 pm
    #

    Hi Kay,
    Thanks for your comment. Yes, can be a bit scary in the beginning but once you’re out travelling on your own and you only have yourself to depend on, those fears will melt away very quickly.

    All the best & travel safe!

    Best regards,
    Keith

  12. Kay 09/06/2010 1:40 pm
    #

    Travelling solo has been in my agenda for the longest time. I finally convinced myself that i shall do it this year. I am determined and my mind is made up…

    I talked to ladies who have travelled alone and i feel very inspired. However, my mind is mixed with fear (yes, i worried about eating alone too!) I need a little push to get me going.

    Thanks for this helpful article : )

  13. velvet 08/06/2010 4:32 pm
    #

    Thank you Nelson for your beautiful comment. It definitely sums up the beauty of traveling alone. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Keith

  14. Nelson 08/06/2010 6:41 am
    #

    Great post! Have done a few long trips alone To South America and Asia and actually met some amazing friends. Something about going somewhere new and knowing no one that’s quite freeing. Certainly pushes the boundaries of what you thought was capable. Look forward to following along.

  15. Juno 17/04/2010 4:38 pm
    #

    Number 4 and 5. yes. a thousand times yes. 🙂
    I’m a huge fan of solo travel.
    Since very first backpacking i knew how great it is.

    Nice post Keith!

    Juno.

  16. Felipe 09/03/2010 4:00 pm
    #

    I like a lot to travel alone, but I’m in no way good at planning, administrating the money and punctual (a big reason why I travel alone). But for it’s not a negative thing, it adds adventure to my trips!

  17. velvet 27/02/2010 8:59 pm
    #

    Absolutely true. I like mixing it up – going on my own solo trips but also planning trips with friends and/or family, and the occasional group tour.
    Thanks for your comment Kirsten.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  18. Kirsten 27/02/2010 8:56 pm
    #

    I definitely agree that traveling alone has many perks and is almost always a good idea!! It’s my preferred method of travel. Certainly on an RTW especially.

    That being said – I do think there is value is traveling with one or more persons depending on the location and type of trip. Just for instance, going alone to a romantic destination can be less enjoyable than when you go with someone you are romantically involved with (since you can’t always depend on meeting someone, though that can be fun if it does happen). Also, I’ve had some very fun “girl weekends” in the past with my friends from high school & college and those weekends turned out to be some of the best memories I’ve ever made even if they were sometimes less spontaneous than a solo trip would have been.

  19. velvet 07/01/2010 1:57 am
    #

    Hi Maud,
    Thank you for your comment. I wish you all the best and lots of fun with your trip to Aussieland. You’ll love it and you’re right, the people you meet will inspire you in many ways. Keep an open mind and experience the trip as it is (and improvise along the way). It’ll be brilliant!

    Best regards,
    Keith

  20. mairead 06/01/2010 8:10 pm
    #

    inspiring words there…hav been tinking about it this last two years and finally booked my tickets today. im heading to oz for a year, flying into sydney and hav no plans from there…the word is my oyster. i will be travelling alone whic is absolutely terrifying but im determined. itl def build my confidence and the thing im lookin forward to most is all the cool people il meet along the way….

  21. velvet 03/01/2010 3:44 pm
    #

    You’re absolutely right! The only way to find out is to give it a go. Good luck! 🙂

    Best regards,
    Keith

  22. Ms.N 03/01/2010 1:31 pm
    #

    Hi Keith,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and chanced upon this old post of urs… travelling alone has been a debate i haven’t been able to win yet. 🙂 nice idea to list the benefits. guess, no way to conquer the fear but to do just do it for the first time!

  23. Hostelio 12/10/2009 3:00 am
    #

    I travel solo whenever I can – and do share your philosophy. I’m not unsociable at all, and often team up with other travelers along the way for a stretch, but the freedom of not quite knowing where I’m going next or what I’ll be doing or whom I’ll be meeting is for me a burst of energy.

  24. Sanjeev's Travel Guide 14/09/2009 1:38 pm
    #

    Great article velvet! Thanks.

  25. Alex 04/08/2009 1:29 pm
    #

    Great article; your ten reasons are dead on. I’ve come to appreciate solo travel — both the challenges and the rewards — doing some solo trips on my own here in India. In the end though, while I appreciate both modes, I tend to fall back to traveling with friends. If nothing else, they’re good for games of hearts to pass the time on long train trips! Feel free to follow along on my travels: http://twitter.com/budizzle

  26. velvet 04/08/2009 1:34 pm
    #

    Hi Alex,
    Thank you for your comment. I like both modes too but I’m quite picky about who I travel with… for pretty obvious reasons! 🙂

    Cheers,
    Keith

  27. velvet 10/07/2009 7:07 pm
    #

    Thanks Gwen! I never quite liked eating alone… until I went on a five month solo trip last year. You could call me a solo ‘convert’! 🙂 I wrote an article for the Solo Traveler blog about eating alone.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  28. Gwen McCauley 10/07/2009 6:54 pm
    #

    Hi Keith – I too love to travel solo, although I don’t get to do it too often. I enjoy the solitude, even when I’m feeling lonely. I like not having to share a bathroom with anyone else. And I like to dine alone. I don’t bring a book or other materials to distract me. I just enjoy watching others, thinking about life and deciding what’s next as I work my way through a meal.

    It is quite funny to see how other people react to a woman traveling alone; doubly so for the dining experience. Many can’t tolerate it and insist on inviting me to join them. I’ll often do that (dining with others), although I always insist on travel solo when I start off that way.

    Gwen McCauley
    http://www.ouicoach.com
    http://www.twitter.com/gwenmccauley

  29. gabybali 14/04/2009 10:15 am
    #

    My best travel buddy is my boyfriend, for sure, he’s always willing to slow down a little bit the walking if I’m tired or need to stop for a nice lunch or dinner. But maybe traveling alone to USA will be great, I’ve always wanted to do this.

    I love your post, Keith! Terima kasih!

  30. velvet 10/04/2009 12:00 pm
    #

    Thanks Wil! Great thing about travelling alone: you have the choice to either do something on your own or with your new-found mates.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  31. velvet 10/04/2009 11:48 am
    #

    Hi Laura,
    Thanks for the beautiful compliment. It’s inspiring to know that someone finds my site inspiring! 🙂
    Best regards,
    Keith

  32. Wil from Spot Cool Travel 10/04/2009 3:02 am
    #

    Whenever I start out traveling alone I find that I never go through the whole of my trip that way. Usually you come across other people to travel with (if you want to).

  33. Laura 10/04/2009 1:29 am
    #

    Lovely, inspiring site.
    Thanks for the lift today. LMc.

  34. velvet 10/04/2009 12:53 am
    #

    Hi Alisa,
    Thanks for your comment. That Australia/NZ trip must’ve been amazing. Have a great time in London!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  35. Alisa 09/04/2009 10:58 pm
    #

    I travelled alone around Australia and New Zealand for 7 months. It was spectacular! I went where I wanted to go when I wanted to go. I was also working, so I didn’t have to worry about a travel partner finding a job in the same city/town I decided to work in. I’m planning a short trip to London this spring alone!

  36. velvet 09/04/2009 6:57 pm
    #

    Hi Jen,
    It’s never too early to start! 🙂 Check out this article to prepare yourself: http://tinyurl.com/c82ogr

    Best regards,
    Keith

  37. jen laceda 09/04/2009 6:46 pm
    #

    I agree with all your points! Travelling solo is an experience everyone should have! I will surely encourage my daughter to it for herself (she’s only 2 y.o.–hahaha!).

  38. velvet 09/04/2009 3:20 pm
    #

    Hi Gray,
    Yes, I find that solo travel does build planning skills. The fact that you’re on your own means there’s no else to do it for you (oh, some travellers I know have their own private concierge but that spoils all the fun, I find). For my trip, I had to continuously plan where I was going to next, how I was going to get there, plan my budget, plan excursions and their sequence, etc… It was great fun and it taught me things like working with a budget, time-management and the importance of being punctual (or else you’d miss your bus/flight!). It takes great planning to do all that and if you don’t have the skills, you’ll certainly learn them very quickly! 🙂

    Best regards,
    Keith

  39. Gray 09/04/2009 2:14 pm
    #

    Good post! I’m a fan of solo travel, too. The first couple of times you eat alone, it feels a bit weird, but then you learn some strategies, and I don’t think twice about it any more. You know, because I’ve always been very organized and a good planner, it’s never occurred to me that solo travel builds that skill. There’s something new I learned today. Thanks!

  40. velvet 09/04/2009 1:53 pm
    #

    Hi Rich, thanks for your comment. I used to fret eating alone but when I went on that five-month trip, I seldom had to eat alone! I was meeting new people every day. I actually started to enjoy eating alone as a nice change from eating with others. Funny how that works out. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Keith

  41. Rich Alderton 09/04/2009 1:36 pm
    #

    Glad you’ve become a solo convert. I enjoy travelling with friends, but they can’t always be relied upon to join me on a last-minute cheap jaunt to some obscure European city.

    You do have a different experience travelling solo. Much easier to make friends. I’m sure I end up drinking more though…

  42. oliviaCpolo 09/04/2009 3:15 am
    #

    Thanks for posting this! I am thinking about traveling alone for the first time this fall.

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