By Jessie Festa. This guide to solo travel advantages contains affiliate links to trusted partners I think you’ll love!
When I was a junior in college, the idea of solo travel and the various benefits of traveling alone had never crossed my mind.
What I had been thinking about was the epic summer Europe trip my roommates and I had been talking about going on. If you had gone into my room at the time, you would have seen a messy desk piled with guidebooks, travel magazines, and printouts of hostel recommendations.
(Notice I didn’t mention any textbooks or homework, but I digress.)
Looking back, I’d been so excited about the trip that I hadn’t stopped to consider why I was the only one planning it.
And so, when it came time to book the flights and everyone suddenly couldn’t go anymore, I probably shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was.
As I laid in bed shrouded in blankets and disappointment, an option popped into my head that I hadn’t considered:
Instead of giving up on the EuroTrip that I’d been fantasizing about for months, why not go solo?
The thought lit me up. Sure, I felt scared, but also…limitless; like the upcoming summer was a journal of blank pages for me to write my next adventure. And the one after that, and again after that.
Because that’s the thing about traveling solo; it truly opens up the world for you.
The truth is, that EuroTrip had always been my trip. It was mine to plan and mine to savor (and, if I’m being honest, mine to worry about).
And now, it would be mine to enjoy fully in the way that I wanted.
This, by the way, is one of the many benefits of solo travel that we’ll be diving into below.
Enjoy The Benefits Of Solo Travel [Free Course]
But first, before we get into our list of advantages of solo travel, I invite you to grab a seat in my free Savvy Solo Traveler E-Course.
The 6-day course is designed to help you feel confident about booking your first solo trip and exploring the world alone.
- Common solo travel fears and how to overcome them
- How to choose your perfect solo trip
- How to tell loved ones you’re hitting the road solo
- Mentally preparing for your solo journey without losing your mind
- Essential steps for staying safe on a solo trip
- How to take amazing solo selfies
Once you’ve grabbed your seat, read on to learn the perks of traveling alone.
14 Benefits Of Traveling Alone
There are many pros and cons of solo travel, but in this article, we’re focusing on the positives.
Now, as we go over some of the top solo female travel benefits, realize that this list is in no way exhaustive.
Also understand that it’s totally normal if you’re feeling scared to travel alone, but also that some of life’s most rewarding experiences come from facing your fears.
My goal is that by the end of this article, you feel excited about the idea of solo female travel. I’ll also be sharing some additional tips for traveling solo that will help you confidently book your solo trip.
On that note, let’s kick off this list of solo trip benefits with…
1. Solo travel pushes you out of your comfort zone
One major benefit of travel in general is it gets you out of your usual routine — which also pushes you out of your comfort zone.
Well, solo travel can take you even farther out, which can be a good thing, especially in terms of the psychological benefits of traveling alone.
In fact, according to a Yale research study profile by Inc., stability is like an off-switch for your brain. It is when you’re feeling even just a little bit of stress and uncertainty that your brain is put in learning mode.
Of course, you don’t want to be stressed 24/7; however, by traveling solo you can add some strategic uncertainty into your life that can help you learn and grow.
2. It’s easier to meet new people when traveling solo
Not only do the traveling alone benefits you’ll experience extend to your brain health, but also your social skills.
Often, people worry that they won’t make new friends; however, the truth is traveling solo makes you more approachable.
Not only that, but when traveling with other people it can be easy to just stay with the group instead of mingling. On the other hand, when you’re on your own, you’ll need to be more proactive.
Luckily, there are many ways to meet locals while traveling as well as other travelers. A few ideas:
- take a walking tour or interactive class (which tend to be social)
- attend local meetups (CouchSurfing and Meetup.com are helpful resources)
- opt for a shared Airbnb or hostel (many of which have private rooms)
- join local Facebook groups (especially ones focused on group gatherings)
I once spent a birthday alone when traveling in Mendoza, Argentina.
After posting on a local CouchSurfing forum that I didn’t want to be alone on my big day, a group of locals and travelers took me out for a delicious dinner followed by dancing until the sun came up. It’s one of my most treasured travel memories!
Here’s another interesting traveling alone experience:
I once had my very own travel love story when visiting Amsterdam solo. After forcing myself to go to the hostel bar and socialize, I met a guy — and we ended up traveling together and then dating for a year. If I had been traveling with friends, I wouldn’t have been forced to mingle with new people.
3. Solo trips help you grow your relationship with yourself
While group travel often leads to less alone time than usual, when it comes to solo travel, you’ll be spending more time with yourself than ever before.
- As you wander and explore, notice the things around you and how they make you feel
- Acknowledge your thoughts and opinions as you try new things and have interesting conversations
- Practice gratitude at the end of each day, which will also help you appreciate your trip
- Talk to yourself in your hotel room — you’re alone, so nobody will judge!
I find journaling — daily, if possible — is a great way to both process and appreciate my solo trips.
If you’re also a fan of journaling, I’ve got a free gift for you — in the form of a free printable travel journal with 65 prompts!
Even if you’re not traveling right now, it’ll help you relive your favorite trips!
Also, check out some of these self-care tips for travelers, which include rituals I practice when traveling solo:
4. Solo travel teaches you what you’re truly capable of
When traveling in a group, you may be tempted to rely on others. Maybe Jane is great with maps, so she leads the way, and Joe is great at learning languages while traveling, so he does all the talking.
But when you’re traveling solo, you’re forced to rely on yourself.
While this may seem daunting, the truth is you’re capable of so much more than you think.
“But, Jessie, you don’t even know me. How can you know what I’m capable of?”
Great question! I know this because when forced to solve a problem or navigate a situation while traveling solo, you’ll have no choice but to figure it out yourself.
You’ll need to show up on time in foreign places to meet your tour guide, keep your travel itinerary organized, read train and bus schedules, navigate unfamiliar streets, and handle issues as they arise.
And for all of this work, you’ll be greatly rewarded with the trip of a lifetime.
Want to hear something crazy?
When I was driving around Guadeloupe solo, I accidently backed my rental car up into a ditch on a quiet side street. With no working phone and nowhere near enough strength to lift a car (I tried), I weighed my options.
Just as I had decided to walk to the main road and flag someone down, I spotted a group of guys working on a nearby farm. Despite not speaking their native tongue of French, I was able to somehow get my point across (I’m good at charades) and have them help me.
Not only that, but I was also able to take directions from the men — again, in French — as they instructed me on what to do to resolve the situation.
In the end, we were able to get the car out unscathed. I felt grateful for the help of these men, and also proud of myself for navigating the sticky situation.
If only I could have navigated the car that well, but alas.
By the way, if you’re curious about this experience, I actually did a storytime video on being helped by locals in Guadeloupe:
5. Solo travel helps build confidence
Building on my previous benefit of traveling alone, as you learn what you’re truly capable of, you’ll also build confidence in yourself.
When I think back to my first solo trip, I was terrified of everything; sounding dumb ordering off a menu in a foreign language, getting lost and missing train connections, losing my passport or wallet. Heck, on my first solo trip it took me days to work up the confidence to venture beyond the street my hostel was on!
But now that I have years of solo travel under my belt, I feel confident to set off and explore.
This isn’t because I think I’m too smart to make mistakes or too perfect to run into issues. Quite honestly, I’ve got a ton of embarrassing travel stories that prove my trips are often far from smooth; however, I’ve come to learn that:
It’s better to accept that incidents will arise than to live in fear of them. That being said, I do recommend planning ahead where you can, such as by saving copies of your license, passport, and credit cards to a cloud storage device in case your valuables get stolen.
He saw I was trying, and not only gave me a language lesson, but also encouraged me to try to create a poem in Spanish — which ended up being so hilarious we both laughed the entire ride.
Not only did I get a funny travel story out of the encounter, but I also left the ride with a few tips to help me better converse next time.
Of course, it can be difficult to believe someone when they tell you “everything will be alright” and “you’ll figure it out”; but once you experience it for yourself on a solo trip, your confidence will grow.
This confidence will not only help you better navigate your travels, but also your life.
In all honesty, I don’t think I would have ever felt self-assured enough to put myself out there and start a travel blog had I not been a solo traveler first.
6. You’ll learn to practice patience while traveling solo
Solo travel is a beautiful and life-changing adventure mixed with mishaps and moments of anxiety. Please don’t go into your solo trip thinking it’s going to be a recreation of your favorite influencer’s Instagram feed.
That being said, as mishaps arise, you’ll be forced to practice patience — which can benefit you in the long run.
I’ve absolutely lost luggage, been scammed, and missed travel connections; however, instead of locking myself in my room to stop these issues from ever happening, I resolve to deal with them as they arise.
For instance, one trip that required a ton of patience was my South America backpacking trip, particularly because I was traveling the continent via their extremely budget-friendly but painfully slow bus system.
I have a ton of South American bus stories — like when my bus in Bolivia got stuck in traffic and doubled our transit time.
As the driver turned off the gas to sit idly in the swarm of unmoving cars, my blood boiled.
“MOVE ALREADY!” is what I was really thinking inside as anxiety cramped my stomach.
But once I took a few deep breaths and realized that unless someone on the bus was about to invent teleportation, there was nothing I could do about it.
And, in a really awesome turn of events, the woman in the seat next to me asked if I wouldn’t mind practicing English with me. We ended up using the extra time for an impromptu language exchange, which I was very grateful for.
Speaking of which…
7. You’ll learn to practice gratitude while traveling solo
Remember, travel is not a right. It is a privilege. There are people who never get the opportunity to leave their home to see new places, so please cherish every beautiful moment along with every mishap — which will only become stories and learning experiences for later.
I once missed a train connection when traveling Italy because I didn’t understand the local language — and thus, missed the memo that there was a platform change. What made things even worse was that there were no trains again until the next day.
Because of this, I had to spend a night in a random city and skip a stop on my itinerary.
Was it ideal? Not at all.
But after quickly grieving my “perfect plan” (spoiler: aiming for perfection often lets you down), I accepted the situation and leaned into gratitude instead.
I felt grateful for the spontaneous adventure and the chance to explore a new place in Italy — even if it wasn’t the place I originally planned on.
A solo trip is a great time to incorporate a gratitude practice into your routine if you don’t have one yet. There are a number of gratitude journal apps if you like using your phone. Or, you can go old school and simply note three things you’re thankful for each day in a paper journal.
8. You can stick to your budget on a solo trip
Not everyone will have the same idea of what a reasonable budget is when planning a trip with a group.
While one person may want to spend less than $100 per night on accommodation, someone else may think $300 per night is reasonable.
Moreover, when it comes to travel splurges, it’s unlikely that everyone will truly agree on what they deem worthy of those extra dollars.
But when you travel solo, you make the budget — without anyone else pressuring you to scrimp or splurge where you don’t want to.
During a 3-month trip to Europe I traveled for a few weeks with a woman I met on a solo female travel message board. She ended up being on such a tight budget that we couldn’t even take public transportation — meaning we walked everywhere.
While I usually love walking, it ate up so much extra time that we missed many of the attractions I was hoping to see.
Let’s just say my trip was a lot more enjoyable once we separated and I was on my own.
9. There is no need to wait for others to book a solo trip
Want to start conquering your bucket list right now? With solo travel, there is no need to wait for someone else to be available to go with you!
And when that happens, the world can really open up for you.
When you see those cheap flight deals, you can book them instantly, knowing that, sure, you can invite family and friends to join you, but if they can’t go you’ll be fine.
Actually, you’ll be more than fine — because you’ll be living your dreams, whether that’s road tripping the South of France, hiking in the Himalayas of Nepal, going on a Galapagos yacht cruise, or something else.
10. You’ll become more independent as a solo traveler
If you are the type of person who is uncomfortable with the idea of going out alone, hates making decisions, or feels easily influenced by your peers, solo travel can help to change that.
When you travel solo, you are forced into independence as you navigate unfamiliar landscapes on your own.
Personally, this has been one of the greatest benefits of traveling solo because it has led to me becoming a business owner who truly believes in her ability to succeed and monetize a travel blog.
While imposter syndrome does creep in from time to time, solo travel has helped me prove to myself that I am capable of paving my own path and making my dreams a reality.
While I don’t think travel is a magic pill for fixing your problems, it can be therapeutic.
For instance, I once took a solo trip after a bad breakup. While before the trip I wondered what I would do without my former partner in my life anymore, the trip helped to remind me that I am more than capable of making my life a beautiful adventure without anyone else’s help.
*Cue Destiny’s Child “Independent Woman”*
11. Solo travel helps improve your communication skills
One fear many new solo travelers have is not being able to communicate with locals; however, what I have found is that when you need to express yourself — whether you’re trying to purchase a bus ticket or order food at a restaurant — you will figure out a way.
Hunger is a great motivator for getting your point across!
When I was traveling Africa and spending time in Ghana, it was hard to find locals who spoke English. So I learned a few Twi phrases and also started carrying around a pen and paper to draw what I needed to say when necessary.
For instance, if I needed a bus ticket from Accra to Cape Coast, I would simply write out the city names and draw an arrow going from one to the next.
12. Solo travel forces you to become safety savvy
Of course, one of the most important things when it comes to traveling solo is safety.
When booking a trip on your own, you’ll inevitably research travel safety gear and solo travel safety tips — like researching local scams before you arrive in a destination and always carrying your hotel business card to quickly give to a cab driver when you need to get away from an unsafe situation.
Not only will this benefit you on the road, but you can use this research and knowledge at home, too.
By the way, this video shares some important tips for staying safe when traveling alone:
13. Curiosity becomes your guide on a solo trip
Because you’re not distracted by a group, you’re able to really allow your curiosity to lead the way.
Instead of walking down the street chatting with your travel buddies, you’ll notice how people greet each other, the way people order their coffee from sidewalk carts, and the unique architecture of a certain place.
Everything becomes fascinating and another opportunity for exploration and enlightenment.
And because of this, you really get to learn about and experience the destination you’re visiting fully.
14. Solo travel gives you ultimate freedom over your itinerary
I’ve saved the best solo travel reward for last! People often ask, “Is solo travel boring?” but this major benefit is the reason it could never be dull.
When you travel on your own, there is no need to compromise. You can stay anywhere you’d like, sleep in or get up early, eat at fancy restaurants or cook your own meals, spend time wandering museums or hiking mountains, book a 7 day Cancun itinerary or a solo trip to Bali, or opt to hiking mountains or go to the beach alone.
The choice is 100% yours.
Especially if it’s your first solo trip, I recommend thinking about what you ultimately want to get out of the trip so you can plan accordingly.
Sometimes it can even be fun to set a trip mission. For instance, on my California road trip I had a goal of doing as many hikes are possible. So I spent a day in Sequoia National Park, enjoyed an active Yosemite National Park itinerary, hiked to Lost Horse Mine in Joshua Tree National Park, and explored trails while driving Big Sur.
By the end, I felt like I’d truly gotten a lot out of the trip!
Bonus Tip For Overcoming Solo Travel Fears
Okay, so we’ve gone over the advantages of traveling alone; but, maybe you’re still nervous about booking a solo trip? Or maybe you’re scared about flying alone for the first time?
Remember, nothing you do in life is without risks.
Plus, get this:
Fear and excitement are both arousal emotions.
Keep this in mind when traveling solo and stepping out of your comfort zone. When your palms start sweating, you can do an “anxiety reappraisal” and swap that “I’m so anxious!” with “I’m so excited!”
In short, if you were wondering “Is solo travel worth it?” the above tips hopefully helped you see that it absolutely can be.
Your Next Steps For Planning The Perfect Solo Trip
Alright, so now that you understand the benefits of a solo trip, where do you start? Here are your action steps:
- Join the free 6-day Savvy Solo Traveler ECourse for a full solo travel strategy and tips for overcoming a fear of traveling alone
- Learn about some of my favorite solo female travel destinations for inspiration
- Bookmark my regularly-updated Ultimate Solo Female Travel Guide for solo travel tips and tricks and bonus travel alone benefits
- Watch the below video for a step-by-step strategy for planning a solo trip abroad
Bonus Solo Travel Benefits Resources:
What benefits of traveling alone would you add to this list?
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