There’s something about being alone that makes us uncomfortable. It’s odd, offbeat, and scary. Just the thought of getting on the plane alone, while silently hoping that no clumsy or rude passenger sits right next to you, is enough to turn people away. The thought of getting off the place and seeing everything for the first time and then looking around in search for a familiar face but sees no one is what makes traveling solo such an impossible feat for some people.
But there is beauty in it, too. Solo travel is something that you should do at least once in your life, so says travel blogger Jaimee Ratliff. Leaving your comfort zone, embracing different cultures, getting lost, and never going home the way you left are just some of the things that put off some people. But for some, these are the very things that excite people like me. You see, it’s just a matter of insight and perspective.
Traveling on your own has some serious benefits, as well as setbacks if you weren’t so prepared for it. It’s more than just buying a ticket and booking a hotel; it is about really getting out there—curious, open-minded, and hopeful.
If you are thinking of taking the leap and becoming a solo traveler, here are the thrills and frills of traveling alone, including the challenges, the adventure, and the lessons.
It’s not easy, but not scary either
The renewed appreciation for solo travel was large because of the interest of millennial travelers. I read a survey from MMGY that 37% of millennials intend to take a leisure trip on their own in the next six months – see where not alone on our dreams!
The idea of traveling on your own obviously wakes up the adventurous and daring person in you. But I remember that it’s not as simple as going online, choosing a travel date, and booking an accommodation. Your research has to be extensive, including laws and peculiarities of the culture in the place you intend to visit.
Our safety is a primary concern when traveling alone. You should be ready with emergency numbers, an emergency plan, and even a first-aid kit. Go around with caution, but don’t let all those Hollywood movies keep you paranoid.
Believe me when I say that it is not as scary. You will get lost and maybe you will get scared for a while, but get a hold of yourself, because everything will be alright.
Leaving your comfort zone for a whole new world
Routine is easy and comforting. But it gets boring. No one grows in a routine. Among the benefits of traveling solo is giving you the much-needed push to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It gives you space to grow and be better.
Seeing places for the first time, experiencing different ways of life, and meeting new people will make you realize that there’s so much to learn about the world. The way you look at things will change. Be ready to take it all in.
Look around, you’re not really alone
If you have a rule against talking to strangers, you have to relax that rule a bit. Solo travel is never really spent alone. You will talk with locals and share the road with fellow travelers. If you are traveling to famous destinations such as my travel experience in Boracay Island, chances are you’ll never really feel alone. Solo travel in Boracay means spending your nights in fun-filled spots, relaxing on the shore with other travelers, and sharing a water activity with other groups. In fact, traveling alone means spending most of your time with other people, unlike traveling as a couple or as a group, wherein you are most likely to do things almost exclusively with each other or within the group.
Emergencies, logistics, and responsibility
What if you are suddenly short on budget? What if you feel sick and feel like throwing up all the street food you ate? What if you fall victim to a scam? What if you get lost? What if, what if, what if. You’ll never run out of what-ifs. If you can’t even take care of yourself, then pause, re-assess your sense of responsibility, and prepare. Some need more “preparation” than others and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Among the practical solo traveling tips that I can share with those afraid of what-if’s, is to prepare carefully. Call your banks and ask them of services they have abroad, tell your relatives about the trip, drop by tourists centers in the country you are visiting and ask for emergency numbers, know where your embassy is, research on admission fees and food rates ahead of time, pack medicines, and stay cool.
You will get to know yourself better
There are those who are afraid of contemplating on their life. They are scared to reach deep inside the depths of who they are. Traveling solo will help you become more comfortable with yourself, and whether you are aware of it or not, no one goes to another part of the world and then come back the same person.
One of the most important tips I can give when traveling alone is giving yourself a chance to slow down and reflect. You don’t have to keep up with a group; you can tour the city at your own pace. You will discover just how strong you are as you go day to day at a different place with different expectations.
A solo trip can be as powerful and introspective as you want it to be. For those of you who are afraid and uncomfortable just having to eat dinner by yourself at a restaurant, traveling solo can be daunting. But know that it is every bit empowering. At the end of the trip, you will realize that you’re a great company, and that’s all you ever need to know.
Emily Harper is a busy housewife who finds the time to blog. She loves to travel, explore new places and experience new cultures.