For someone who has an entire blog dedicated to her love of solo travel, it seems strange that I have never actually written about why I love solo travel as much as I do.
2016 has been an interesting year in travel for me. I have had several solo trips, but I have also mixed things up a little and gone on a few not so solo trips too. As much as I have loved travelling with friends, doing so has really helped to reiterate why for me, solo travel will always best.
This is quite possibly my number one reason for preferring solo travel. There are no ifs, buts or maybes about it – when travelling solo you will have more freedom.
When you get up each day, you get to decide absolutely everything. If you want to get up at 5am and watch the sunrise – you can. If you want to sleep in until 11am just because – you can. If you want to eat gelato for the seventh time that day – nobody is there to judge you. If you want to go to that strange little niche museum – you won’t have to drag along a travel buddy who is obviously not enjoying it at all. If you end up loving a city – you have the freedom to alter your plans and stay longer without having to negotiate with another person.
Travelling alone means that you never have to compromise. You get to do whatever you want, whenever you want. You don’t have to negotiate, you don’t have to settle, you just get to be, and honestly, there isn’t anything much better than that.
When you travel with friends, unless you two share the exact same thoughts, desires, likes and dislikes, it is inevitable that at some point you will both have to compromise. It may be that you really want to go to an exhibition or it may be that you absolutely do not want to go to the Harry Potter Museum that your travel buddy is dying to see – at some point you will either miss out on doing what you want to do, be dragged along to something that doesn’t interest you, or get to go do what you want but have to be the one lugging along your disinterested friend.
The latter absolutely sucks. On one hand, you should be happy because you get to do whatever it is that you were so excited about, but in reailty, the whole ordeal has the potential to cause you a lot of stress.
When I am travelling with other people, I become hyper-aware of how they are feeling. So if I have brought my travel buddy to a destination that I am super excited about, my own feelings of excitement get squashed a bit, because I start worrying about whether or not they are enjoying the experience as much as I am. If they aren’t loving it, it seriously limits how much I can enjoy it also.
My stress levels are always higher when I am with another person (or people) and as such, I never enjoy non-solo trips as much as I enjoy my independent adventures.
More New Friends
When you travel in the comfort of a duo or a group, you have a wonderfully pre-made group of friends. This may sound convenient, easy and comfortable – which I am sure it can be. But if you feel nice and comfortable in a duo/group, chances are you are gonna stick to that group/person like glue and forgoe trying to make new friends.
This is definitely not always the case, but for the most part, solo travellers will put themselves out there and go out of their way to meet new people far more than their non-solo traveller counterparts.
I adore my friends at home, but part of the appeal of going somewhere foreign is to completely immerse myself in everything new – including people.
As I mentioned above, being alone is often synonymous with being far more open to meeting new people. But this is not just limited to meeting other travellers.
Going it alone also means you are more likely to meet and befriend locals – which is amazing! There is nothing better than hanging with local people to help you get fully immersed in a new culture, to share all the hidden local gems and to really let you get a true taste of the place.
While in some places travelling with others can have significant financial benefits (anywhere where hostel and/or couchsurfing options are limited) for the most part, travelling alone will cost you less.
It is far easier to stick to a budget when you are the only person you have to consider. You don’t end up spending money on things you aren’t that keen on. You spend less on eating out because solo travellers are way more likely to choose cheap street food over a traditional sit down restaurant meal.
There is a huge sense of community amongst solo travellers, which leads to a tonne of sharing and swapping of items, currencies and foods that we no longer need – which can also save moolah.
Travelling with someone is a sure-fire way to put that friendship to the test. Being around the same person 24/7 with little relief can be incredibly trying. Fights, conflict and resentment are more than likely to ensue!
If you are lucky enough to have found a travel buddy with whom you can happily spend extended periods of time – you are one of the lucky ones. For most people, travelling in duos or in small groups will inevitably lead to drama that a solo traveller can completely avoid.
Ever just wanted to dissolve into a new environment? Travelling alone allows you to completely fall off the radar. You get to choose how and when you interact with people, you get to choose what you share with others, you choose what you want to reveal about yourself and how you want to portray yourself.
Travelling alone lets you be who you want to be, without anybody having any preconceived notions about your personality or who you are as a person. It’s a rather liberating experience.
There are endless reasons why I prefer travelling independently – this is just a little handful – but I feel like this gives you the gist of it.
However, I would love to hear from you! To all my fellow solo travellers, what is the best part of travelling on your own?
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