6 Unexpected Benefits of Solo Travel


Many people are apprehensive about traveling alone, yet it can be an exhilarating experience. You get to set your own agenda, save or splurge whenever you feel the need, and you're likely to meet new people from different parts of the world. Instead of dreading that next solo trip, here are a few reasons you should look forward to it.

1. Enjoy total flexibility

Deciding where to go and what to do on your trip is harder when you have to take into account more than one person's opinion. Unless your travel companions all share exactly the same interests as you, you'll end up negotiating priorities and compromising.

When you're traveling alone, you can make completely autonomous decisions about your agenda, and you can often change them quickly. Don't like your accommodations? You can move more easily on your own. Hear about an interesting excursion you're dying to try last-minute? You won't have to worry about spoiling someone else's plans. You're flexible to be as spontaneous as you want.

Also, if you're traveling by plane, you won't have to agonize over finding a flight that fits into everyone's schedule, or worry about whether you'll get to sit with your group. No more paying extra for seat reservations!

This added flexibility has the extra benefit of potentially saving you a lot of money on airfare. (See also: 10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds)

2. Personalize your budget

Budgeting can be one of the most difficult parts of a trip, and it's even harder when you have to accommodate someone else's priorities. Traveling solo means you get to decide whether you'd like to set cash aside for some ritzy dining, or eat simply and go for nicer accommodations.

And if you want to go completely budget, you don't have to take into account how anyone else will feel about it. Sometimes traveling alone can actually be less expensive than with a partner or group because there's no social pressure to spend on something you don't want.

While you're planning your finances for the trip, keep in mind that having the right travel credit card is an important part of the process. You can earn points toward free travel, and if you get a card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, you'll save money. Plus, a good card comes with lots of travel perks such as free checked bags and travel insurance.

Don't forget to bring along a fee-free debit card as well, for easy money withdrawals from anywhere. (See also: 11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling)

3. Connect with locals

Undoubtedly one of the greatest benefits of solo travel is that by removing yourself from your normal social circle, you'll be more apt to strike up conversations with locals. In some cases, this can lead to a more immersive experience.

You can use online resources like Facebook groups to help connect with locals who are interested in showing people around their area. Don't forget that the old-fashioned way of meeting people — face-to-face — still works well, too (especially if you stay off your smartphone when in public). (See also: How to Tap Into the Local Scene While Traveling)

4. Optimize language learning

If one of the goals of your trip is to learn a foreign language, there's no better way to approach it than by traveling alone. When traveling with friends or family from home, you're much more likely to slip back into communicating in your native tongue. But when you're by yourself, you don't have the option. You'll be surprised how much you can pick up in a relatively short amount of time. (See also: How Learning the Local Language Will Save You Money When You Travel)

5. Increase your confidence

Often pushing yourself to do something that feels a little uncomfortable at first can lead to a surprising amount of growth. Once you've traveled alone, you'll have a greater sense of independence and the confidence to know you don't have to be joined at the hip with someone you know all the time. You will never again have to fear eating at a restaurant alone.

6. Indulge in some "you" time

Taking a step back from your normal routines and social habits can be the perfect way to reconnect with yourself. For many, traveling alone provides a much-needed recharge. By exploring on your own, you're giving yourself a valuable opportunity to think, meditate, and just enjoy some quiet time when you need it.

Solo travel can be the perfect way to escape from a routine of constant negotiations, whether it's in the workplace or at home. It's a unique and often very memorable experience that everyone should try at least once in their life.

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