Don´t get me wrong, I love to travel with people and of course prefer to share travel moments with my boyfriend or my friends! But sometimes there were situations that made me decide to travel alone. Either because my boyfriend didn´t have vacation anymore or my friends didn´t have the time/budget or I simply decided spontanously to go on a trip. You have to be brave to travel alone, I know that. But also it can be a beautiful experience and I want to encourage you with 7 reasons why you should travel alone (at least sometimes):
7 Reasons To Travel Alone
1. Experience Freedom
When you travel alone you are totally free! Free to decide to do whatever you want to. You can do silly plans and no one will complain about it. When I travelled alone to South Korea for 10 days, I decided to combine it with a short trip to Taipei/Taiwan as well. I went there only for 2,5 days and had a great time. I know that even some of my friends think that my travel schedules are too crazy ;). If I go alone, no one can stop me :).
Also I love to walk around for hours and hours in a city and I normally don´t get tired. This is not for everyone, I know and understand that. If you travel with someone you have to respect the other person´s needs (because the other one can be a) hungry b) tired c) want to do something else d) want to rest or many other things). It´s a great feeling to have time ahead where you just do what´s good for you. We are doing compromises all the time, at work, with family, in relationships or with friends. When are you really free to do things your way? Think about it.
2. Meet People
As a solo traveller it´s more likely to meet people. You are more open to others than when travelling with a friend/partner. When I am alone I often start to talk to strangers. You are not distracted by your travel partner and you notice your environment more clearly. During my South Korea trip I started to talk to the girl next to me in the metro and as a result I spent a great evening with Lina (see my blog post about 1950 Hotel).
Another situation like this happened to me when I went on a day tour from Seoul to the North Korean border. I met Harry. He was also travelling alone and asked if he could sit next to me on the bus. We started talking and spent all the day together. We had lovely conversations and a fantastic, rememberable trip. These are just 2 examples of many. I would have never met these interesting people if I would have been travelling with others. I am so glad I did!
When I am travelling solo, I often sleep at hostels. It´s a great chance to connect with people from all over the world and also to get some suggestions for your trip (where to go, what to see, where to eat, …).
3. Have Time for Yourself
Normally when you you travel with someone you are busy talking to each other. When you are on your own you have time to do all the things you usually never have time for. You can spend your evenings (or long bus/train rides, …) to read good books, to do research in your travel guide/apps to plan your next days, to listen to music or simply to rest/sleep. It can be a really relaxing experience and it´s just about you to use it.
4. Be You
You can be yourself when you travel alone. No need to wear make-up (if you don´t want to), you can also wear your oldest, ugly clothes. Who cares? You can leave your hotel room unorganized or wake up or got to bed any time without bothering others. Try to think of things that you don´t do because of having regards of someone.
5. Overcome Your Fears
I know many people that would never travel alone (because they find it weird) or simply are scared to do so. Yes, it can be a scary thing. It is and has been for me as well. When I booked my flights to South Korea I was totally happy at first. A few days before leaving I got totally scared. I thought “Fuck, what did I do? What if something happens to me?!”. My mind can be really creative on all the things that could go wrong. When you are travelling with someone it´s not a big deal. You can help each other. But if you are on your own, thousands of km away from home, you can get scary thoughts.
I prepared myself well for South Korea. I took 2 credit cards, around 500€ in cash, I copied my passport (twice!), I hided money in different pockets and I really thought it through. “What if someone steals my bag and I don´t have money or a passport?”, “What if the ATM doesn´t work!?”, “Where can I hide things when staying at a hostel?” I had lots of these questions in my head and I would be lying if I say I wasn´t nervous.
One of my fears even became true. When arriving to South Korea I couldn´t get money at the ATM. I tried it again (again and again) and really started sweating. In the end I found an ATM that worked but this problem occured during all this trip (Harry also told me he had the same issue). One time in Busan I probably tried out about 20 different ATM´s and it was raining, I was hungry and really got angry. But I managed. That´s what matters in the end. South Korea was an unforgettable, amazing experience for me and I am so happy I made it happen.
6. Do Something Unusual
When I am in Berlin I would never go to a bar alone. Why should I? But when I am travelling alone I like to do unusual things that I wouldn´t do normally. Again, it takes courage to do that. I know the feeling to feel akward or even starting to blush, when entering a restaurant or a bar alone. Especially when everyone else around you is with someone. But it can be an expiring experience as well.
I remember especially one situation some time ago. I´ve been in Milan for work and stayed for the weekend. I wanted to see the city but also to go out a little bit. A colleague that had lived in Milan told me to go to one club that had a special event that night. I don´t know how I dared to really go there alone! When I arrived I got nervous and felt everyone was starring at me. I walked the street up and down, fighting with my fears and if I should leave or not. Then I gathered all my braveness and asked a couple that was standing outside.
I think I said something like “Hey, what´s going on there this night” and felt totally stupid and embarrassed. The girl was very nice and asked why I am alone and I explained her. The couple didn´t speak English well, but they invited me to go with them. I spent one of the best nights ever – dancing like crazy, singing songs I didn´t even know (in Italian haha) and just having a totally crazy, funny night. It was so much fun and I felt so great when I was walking to my hotel at the end of this precious night.
7. Learn Something About You
When you succeed to travel alone you can be proud. You will learn something new about yourself for sure. Also you will strengthen your skills. No one is solving anything for you when you are out there just on your own. You have to navigate yourself around in a unknown place and if you get lost you always can ask people to help. For sure you will get to know your fears better and you can try to overcome them. It will make you a stronger, independent person. You can learn more about what you really like, in life or just while travelling. I always find it inspiring as well, because I have time to think and I get new ideas.
So far I never regretted travelling alone. I always met nice people and had a wonderful time. My advise is, don´t wait for others. If you want to do something but cannot find a person to do it with you, just do it alone! We only have one life and it´s too short to not take opportunities to live your dreams. You will always rather regret the things you haven´t done than the things you actually did. And this can also effect your daily life. You want to see this one movie, but none of your friends wants to go? Just go alone and you will find out that doing things yourself can make you feel more intense.