5 Incredible Benefits of Exploring as a Solo Traveler

Eileen Cotter March 20, 2020

My travel fortune has been abundant this past decade, reaching a couple dozen countries across the globe. Some of my most memorable journeys, from Sri Lanka to Aruba, have been the ones where I'm on my own. Traveling solo is such a thrilling way to experience new places, rise to new challenges, and get to know yourself on a deeper level. Not convinced yet? Here's my favorite benefits of traveling solo!

Freedom of Choice

Ah, sweet freedom. Have you and your cruise buddies gone back and forth for weeks over where to go? Not anymore! If you have a window of opportunity to travel but your pals have other obligations, traveling solo means you'll never miss a chance to explore.

I think this is the biggest benefit solo travelers have. Traveling solo, I was able to ski in Turkey, hang on the beach along Germany's northern coast, and stay in a blue-and-white abode on the island of Paros, Greece — all things that interested me personally. I was able to do all these things alone without compromise or worry, and enjoy my travels with ease.

Meeting New People

Making friends while traveling alone seems counterintuitive, but it's true! I have made some close connections when not relying on others I'm traveling with to chat.

But that's how I'd made friends while sitting in a cafe in Belgium, or on a boat tour in Thailand, because being on my own makes me more approachable. It also forces me to interact with others I might not normally approach. I rarely feel "alone" when I'm traveling solo.

New friends can both be people who live locally, and also fellow solo travelers. Those traveling alone are all in the same boat, so band together and make a new group, as it's always fun traveling in packs, too!

Control of Your Travel Budget

While I'm always happy to go half on dinner bills, costs can add up quickly if your friend keeps ordering a bottle of wine at every meal — and you're not imbibing. I can determine what I'd like to indulge in and what I'd like to skip when I'm handling my own travel funds.

Not to mention, the world is embracing a rise in solo travelers. So companies (like us!) are offering cabins specialized on ships for the solos that cost close to the same as if you were traveling with a partner. Other options allow you to be paired with a roommate, so you can go by yourself and have a buddy ready upon arrival.

Trying New Things

You only have to convince yourself to be adventurous when you're on your own. Try any new and exotic dish, brave an encounter with wildlife on safari, or maybe test your limits with a local dance lesson! There's no partner or friend to convince — you get to pave your own way and check off those goals while solo. For instance, some of my friends are afraid of heights, but I'd always wanted to go in a hot air balloon. If I had traveled with others to Sri Lanka, I might have said no to fulfilling my dream of a hot-air-balloon ride, but because I was alone, I had an incredible experience.

Finding Self-Confidence

My real first trip alone was for work to the west coast of Mexico. I had no idea where I was going, who I'd meet when I got there, or even if anyone would understand my terrible Spanish! Only a few days later though, I was chomping on tacos and toasting the good life with new friends. Then, I was invited to a music performance by some people who lived in town, to a venue I'd never find on my own. I found an independence in myself I never knew I had, just by trying something fresh and letting life take me to new places. Traveling solo quickly became one of my favorite ways to see the world, and I can't wait to plan my next adventure!

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