10 Reasons Why You Should Travel Alone

Though solo traveling is common among the Westerners, it is still not so popular among Asians; definitely not in India. When I first began traveling alone, my family and friends found it strange. Most people in India travel with their family or friends. While some found my behaviour strange, others thought it was extremely dangerous to travel alone. Of course, there were some who thought I was crazy. But safety was the biggest concern for almost everyone. I had to explain to them that I voluntarily chose to travel alone and that there are several advantages of solo traveling.  

I have been traveling alone for almost 6 years now and it has been a great experience. Here I share some of my experiences and elaborate on why I enjoy solo traveling so much. If you want to overcome your fears, clear your misconceptions or want to articulate your thoughts and interests about solo traveling to your family and friends, then here you go! 

1. Do what you want 

When you travel with someone, it is evident that you have to make compromises and adjustments to your itinerary based on the interests and mood of the others. Sometimes, that can be frustrating. On the contrary, while traveling alone, you can do all that you expect from a perfect holiday. There are no dependencies and no alternate opinions that will delay your decisions. For example, if you like a place and want to stay there longer, do so without any consultation. 


2.  Go with the flow 

Too much planning might actually ruin a trip. The best moments of a journey are those which happen to us unexpectedly. So, I recommend that you wake up in the morning and decide where to go or what to do. One thing may lead to another and turn this day into a memorable one. Such a lack of planning may not work well with a group.  There are times, when I would spend all day hanging out in my favourite café in a given town or I would turn myself into a flâneur. Believe me, there is no better way to understand a town, city or a village than spending some time there; observing the day as it unfolds.

3. Overcome your fears 

Since childhood, we are taught that there is a dangerous, evil world out there. The fables promote fear in us since a very young age. And therefore, every time you are alone, you are scared of being cheated, robbed, mugged or killed. To add to that fear, media has created such simulations of reality that we have formed numerous prejudices about every other country, place or people. It is only when we travel that we realise how wonderful the world is; how helpful people are. When I visited Jaffna in Sri Lanka, people warned me about the civil unrest. When I visited New Zealand, there was a threat of earthquakes; in Barcelona, of unrest in Catalonia. None of these places were anything like what I had imagined or what I had been told. Because, even in the countries undergoing civil unrest, normal life exists.

That does not mean that I have not had bad experiences at all. I sure have had a few. But they are negligible as compared to the great ones I have experienced. Moreover, bad experiences have taught me something profound and has only made me stronger. I have emerged out of them, more confident than ever before. 

So, to overcome your fears that you have acquired since childhood and to find ways to deal with difficult situations, you have to explore the world on your own. Security and comfort will only reinforce this fear. 

4. Know who you are

One of the most important results of solo traveling is that by the end of a journey, you have known a lot about yourself, let alone about this world. Only when you move out of your comfort zone, you are aware of your level of adaptability, your interests, your dislikes, your communication skills etc. In short, you have all the time to analyse yourself, which may lead you to great realisations and plans for the future. 

5. Notice the changes in you 

When you are alone, you are forced to develop your interpersonal skills. If required, you have to change your attitude to interact with people. You are now willing to learn a new language or make efforts to communicate with the locals in their language. For example, I make it a point to learn a few phrases that will help me find vegetarian food in countries that do not speak the languages I know. In the end, you are open to possibilities and less sceptical about things. Therefore, negativity takes a backstage and you feel positive about life. 

6. Meet like minded people  

One of the most interesting parts of traveling alone is that you are open to new friendships.  It is highly likely that you meet like-minded people who are also traveling alone. Hostels are often a great place to socialise. I have teamed up with some amazing people to explore a town or go on a trek. While you ensure to respect each other’s privacy, it’s nice to have a company of someone who shares your enthusiasm to explore the world. 

7. Get more attention from the locals  

This is something I have noticed often. While I am with someone, the locals normally tend to let us be. But when I am alone, they are curious to know more about me. They want to know where I come from, what I do for a living or why do I travel alone. I have had a lot of candid conversations with locals and many have invited me over for food or drink. I see less value in traveling to a country and returning without interacting with its inhabitants, apart from those in the tourism industry. 

8. No distractions 

When you are traveling alone, you tend to be more observant. You are keen to explore and you are willingly friendly to people. By the end of the day, you are reflecting upon your experiences. In short, you have fewer distractions. You are not engaged in constant conversations with your travel companion and thus aren't missing out on observing the details.  Hence, you are more aware of your surroundings while traveling alone. 

9. Explore budget options  

If you are tight on budget, then you can find some really cheap options for accommodation, food and transport. You can walk to places, visit museums on free days, find campsites, try couchsurfing, eat at local joints, take public transport, hitch-hike, avoid parties to stay within your defined budget. Though it is possible to do the same even with a travel partner, it is much easier to maintain it while traveling alone.  

10. Learn to be Independent 

Finally, you are responsible for all the decisions you take. You are alone in dealing with the problems and road blocks that you encounter along the way. This will undoubtedly develop your problem solving abilities.  You will walk out of this experience, more confident than ever before and as an independent person for sure. 

Well, these are some of my experiences and observations. I am sure there are more reasons why one should travel alone. If you have something interesting to share, let me know in the comments section. Also, if you have any questions about solo traveling do not hesitate to ask. 

Cheers to solo traveling!