How many times have you travelled solo before? What did you think of it? Did you travel far from your country or stay close? How did you make friends? Didn’t you feel scared or lonely to be on your own?
These are just some of the questions I get people asking me all the time when I tell them I mainly travel solo.
I mean, I get it, it’s a scary idea for a lot of people, but there are so many positives to come from travelling alone.
My first solo trip was a month long, at the time I was working in a UK primary school so I went in the summer holidays. I took a couple of months to plan my trip, where I wanted to go, if I was going to fly or do Interrail, where I was going to stay, then of course I researched must dos in each place, downloaded an offline map app (as sometimes my sense of direction is awful). I was so so excited and I remember leaving work on the last day before the summer holidays and everyone wishing me luck and saying things like ‘we can’t wait to hear all about it when you get back, you won’t want to come back to work’ etc.
Where I went
I visited Barcelona (4 days) Italy (17 days), Budapest (3 days) and Prague (3 days). I can honestly say that I must have met around 100 fellow travellers during that time, some are still friends now, and others occasionally pop up on social media. It was the single most best experience of my life and it made me realise how much I love travelling solo.
Travelling solo opens you up to a whole other world.
When you travel with friends, family or in group you are restricted as to what you can do and when. But travelling solo, you can literally do what you want, when you want, everything is done completely on your terms, if plans change, that’s fine, if you don’t have time to do something, it doesn’t matter … the only person you have to think about is yourself!
One example, I was in Barcelona in 2016, I had arrived in the afternoon, so I went to the shop to grab something to eat and dumped my bag in my locker (I always stay in hostels when I travel solo), then my plan was just to have a little wander around the city for a few hours to get my bearings, as I was there for 3 more days. When I went into my hostel room there was another girl in the room so, we started chatting, (she was from Argentina) and within 20 minutes of speaking to each other we decided to go to Sagrada Familia together.
You meet people from all over the world with the same passions and interests as you.
If you’re like me then a lot of my friends at home like to travel but nowhere near as much as me. So when I travel solo I love meeting like minded people who love to travel just as much as I do.
I have so many stories and examples of this, but my favourite one would have to be in Costa Rica in 2018. This was my first solo long haul flight, so I was super nervous, but I was booked onto a group tour through G Adventures, so I knew I wouldn’t be alone during my time there.
I met THE BEST group of people on this tour, there were only around 16 of us, so it was a small group, but we all bonded so well. I never imagined that spending 2 and a half weeks with people I didn’t know would turn out to be one of the best experiences of my life and lead to some strong friendships. To this day there are 7 of us that still stay in regular contact and have been to Turkey together for a long weekend and plan to do other things in the future.
But there is one person I met who is someone I consider one of my best friends now. We only met 3 years ago but we have so many memories together it feels like we have known each other a lifetime. We have done 5 trips together now, I have been down to London to visit her numerous times and we are going to do many more trips together in the future.
If that isn’t enough to make you want to travel solo once, I don’t know what is!
You gain a sense of independence, which can be hard to forget once you’ve had it.
Some of you reading this may or may not have experienced what it’s like to be independent, for some people this could be moving out of home, buying a car, earning a good income, but for many others it comes from travel and travelling alone. Yes sometimes it can be scary and lonely, but that is always overshadowed by the amazing people and life long experiences you have!
Generally most of the solo trips I have done have been around Europe, as I feel more comfortable. When I go further away, unless I’m going with a friend, or it’s a country I know I have friends in, I usually book onto a tour with a company like G Adventures as everything is planned for you. If you’re still not sure about whether or not to do a solo trip, I would recommend booking onto a group tour, that way you will automatically meet new people and have a kind of solo experience. But I do think that everyone should travel solo at least once in their life.
I will always love solo travel and I will continue doing it as long as I can.
Have you travelled solo before? What was one of your highlights? Let me know in the comments box.