5 Reasons You Should Solo-Travel… and 2 Reasons You Might Not Enjoy It.

In these trying times, I’m sure many people are planning their future travels – I certainly am. Of course, I’m excited to meet my friends and see them all in their homes around the world, but I’m also excited to go to places on my own.

Solo-travel is something that many people are scared of – in fact, when an example was used in class, a classmate of mine said they thought it was weird and sad that someone would travel on their own. That was a great comfort for me, as someone who had just booked a flight and hotel for a trip by myself to Kumamoto for five days. I’ll be honest, I had also thought this for many years before I started university, but when I came to Japan, something changed. I’d done the biggest (and possibly bravest) thing in my life, and goddammit I wasn’t going to waste my time in Japan. There were so many places I wanted to go, and so many things to see, I simply couldn’t just sit around every holiday or long weekend. I did mostly travel with friends, but there were times that I had somewhere to go, but my friends didn’t want to come along, or didn’t have the time or money.

 

 So, I took matters into my own hands and decided to take the plunge into solo travel. It was scary and sometimes I found it hard, but I loved it! I got to see and eat new things—things that I would have missed out on otherwise. Most importantly though, I proved to myself that I was brave enough to do it. And so, here is a concise(ish) list of why you should solo travel too!

  1. It’s Not Actually That Lonely

Sounds crazy, I know. You are literally on your own, what’s not lonelier than that? But there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. I often found a strange sense of peace from being alone. Of course, I am an introvert and can have too much of people, especially on holiday, so I might be slightly biased. If being lonely is a worry though, start small. Take a day trip on your own or maybe a weekend away.

  1. You Control the Price

Ever been around friends who have more money than you? That awkward feeling that comes over you as everyone agrees to a restaurant that’s a bit out of your price range, or they suggest shopping when you can only afford to window shop. Or the reverse; maybe you want to have an expensive meal or go shopping, but you know your friends can’t afford it or are reluctant and you don’t want to put them in an awkward position. Well, if it’s just you, you get to control the price.

  1. You Can Do LITERALLY Anything You Want

That museum people think is boring? That shop that sells weird trinkets? A beach in winter? The park in the rain? If you want it, you can have it. You decide everything and anything that happens on your holiday. And along with that…

  1. Plans Can Change on A Whim

You’ve decided after the first five minutes that this museum is boring? Or you wake up and you don’t feel like doing what you planned last night? Then you do you girl! You can change your plans for whatever reason – even if there isn’t one.

  1. You Discover Things About Yourself

Not to get sappy, but you really do. I’ve always been anxious about eating out alone at a restaurant or being surrounded by strangers with no support. But I realised that I could in fact do all those things and more when I traveled alone. And I had the benefit of being able to pull myself out of any stressful situations when I wanted or needed to. If I found one day too stressful, or I felt I had pushed the boat out a little too much then I could simply pull back in the evening and eat junk food in my hotel room while watching TV.

 

However, there are two things that I think should also be considered, both of which directly contradict two of the above reasons. These are negatives that you should think about, but they definitely shouldn’t dissuade you from taking that solo trip.

  1. It Can Be Lonely

I know I said it wasn’t really lonely, just that you’re alone. However, this doesn’t mean that it can’t get lonely. When my anxieties got the best of me on one trip, I ended up spending far too much time in my hotel room. I wished I had someone there to push me to go out, someone to be a safety blanket when I felt a bit too nervous to walk into a restaurant. Which leads on to:

  1. It Can Be A Bit Too Revealing

Of course, being in touch with yourself and your emotions is a great thing, but you could be confronted with the fact that you maybe are a bit too anxious to always go out to eat or go to a bar alone. Only talking to the hotel concierge or restaurant workers means you have almost nothing to distract yourself from, well, yourself.

 

HOWEVER. Don’t let any of this stop you from traveling solo. Like I said, start small. Do something you’re comfortable with and just see where it goes. Traveling on my own has opened up the world to me and truly made me realise how brave I can be, even if I don’t feel it most of the time. Once the world has returned to normal (or at least some sort of bright new world) I can’t wait to start exploring the world on my own.