Picture spending a week, alone, in a foreign country where you don’t understand the language and customs.
Everything is different, every action is a challenge – and even ordering food is a leap of faith. Doesn’t sound like the most pleasant experience in the world and yet, solo travel promises to be one of 2017’s biggest trends as more people see the advantages – or feel the need – to explore the world with only themselves for company.
If you’re on the fence about doing your own solo travel trip or are just wondering what all the fuss is about, here are five great reasons why you should give it a try.
1. It’s all about you.
Let’s face it, no matter how much you love and need them, people can get to you. So, every once in a while it’s good to disconnect.
On solo travel trips, the only person you have to care about is you so whatever whim or fantasy you’ve always had, now is the time to do it, far from prying eyes and judgment.
If you want to spend your time trying every café in Paris or reviewing Japan’s best sushi bars, or perhaps trekking in some far-flung corner of the world to discover new cultures, just go ahead and do it.
2. Planning your trip is a cinch. Just ask yourself what you want.
Holiday planning can be an exercise in compromise.
Limited time makes your partner’s dreams of visiting every museum in Paris, and your son’s Disneyland ambitions, the main reasons why you won’t be able to squeeze as many things as you want on your to-do list.
Yes, it’s selfish. So, do away with the guilt and just go solo.
Whether you like to calculate every minute of your itinerary or you’re a go with the flow kind of character, the only person you’ll have to consult on a solo travel trip is yourself, so planning is a breeze and you’ll be able to do whatever you want.
3. You’ll come back with a story to tell.
It’s your solo travel trip, so it’s your story.
Just like the best coming of age tales, traveling solo pulls you out of your comfort zone, kicking and screaming, until you’re able to stand on your own two feet and ready to face the world.
Have a chat with someone at your hotel bar and make a new friend, navigate a country’s public transport without knowing the language, or go exploring the countryside at the crack of dawn just because you can. If you travel alone and force yourself to experience new things, you’ll always have a story to tell when you get back.
4. It’s a great confidence booster
Travelling solo can be daunting.
If you imagine yourself frantically asking for directions to people who don’t understand a word of English, falling sick or getting scammed, congratulations! you’re normal.
Everyone’s terrified of the same things. But in reality, it isn’t that bad.
For one, if you’re booked into the right hotel you’ll be in good hands no matter how far flung the destination, and more often than not, people are nicer to solo travelers and go the extra mile to offer a helping hand.
Even if you do find yourself a bit lost, you’ll pull through and return from your travels with something that can’t be bought in boutiques or craft markets: Confidence. After all, if you can handle yourself abroad, you can do the same back home.
5. It’s the best time for some soul searching
No one can surprise you more than yourself.
Solo travel pushes your boundaries and makes you confront new situations and experiences on a daily basis, and without the expectations of others to color your reactions, you may just discover something about yourself in the process. Also, if you just need to disconnect from your normal life, there’s no better way to do so.