‘That’s so brave'. ‘I could never do that'. ‘Aren’t you scared?’ 'Is it safe?’ ‘Why don’t you go with a friend?’ ‘What if...?' If you’ve never heard these before, then you’ve obviously never told friends and loved ones you were taking off to parts unknown on the most frigin' awesome solo trip of a lifetime.
You’ve seen that lone soldier, sitting alone in the coffee shop without a care in the world. They're somewhat mysterious, confident, and they don’t check their watch every five minutes to see if they're late for something. That is the mindset of a person who has travelled solo. Maybe they're even flying solo right now? They don't have to wake up early in Paris after a fabulously late night out just because their friend wants to see all the sights. They don’t have to pass up on the street food vendors in Bangkok just because their partner has glutenphobia. They don’t have to cringe because their mother is wearing crocs (although they’re pretty darn comfortable!...did we just say that?!), a bright yellow fanny-pack, and more cameras around her neck than an electronics store.
It's a sense of freedom, a time for you to discover yourself and it’s easier than you think. Just imagine any trip you’ve taken with your bestie, boyfriend, or parent and take them out of the picture. Don’t panic! Travelling solo doesn’t mean being alone. It means that when someone strikes up a conversation and invites you to the local music joint, you don’t have to check with anyone before you take off. It means you can head north to Brussels instead of south to Madrid, no worries. It means freedom and complete control over your life. It's the ride of a lifetime.
You’ll become more confident...
Travelling alone makes you more capable, and capable means confident. You learn that yes, you can do that. Maybe you’re unsure of your current location in relation to any other location (others call this lost, but not you!). When you navigate your way back to the hostel by instinct, because your smart phone died hours ago while you were snapping some awesome shots, you will feel like a total rockstar. And let’s face it...who doesn’t want to be a rockstar?
You’ll become more adventurous...
Flying solo makes you more adventurous. Or maybe it just releases those pent up adventurous feelings you’ve been stomping down for, wait, how old are you again? Either way, it gets you off the beaten path. When you notice a cool looking shop or an interesting piece of graffiti tucked out of the way, there’s no one to keep you from detouring to check it out.
You’ll become a social butterfly...
Travelling alone forces you to be social. If you’re not already a social person, you will learn to be, and fast. When faced with the options of approaching a stranger for a chat or sitting in the corner by yourself, the choice is obvious. And it gets easier every time you do it.
You’ll become yourself...
Taking a trip alone teaches you about yourself. Without the familiarity of home and your loved ones, there are no expectations to conform to. Maybe you’ll discover that you’re a fan of Latin pop music. Maybe you’ll discover that you’re a fan of Latin men. Who knows. You can’t know if you don’t go, and going alone frees you from being the person other people know you as so you can just be yourself.
Solo travel is a life changing experience, and you want it to be a good one. So, to make sure you only have good stories to tell, stay safe with a few pieces of advice.
Soak up as much of the local atmosphere as you want, but don’t get so absorbed in great photos or delicious food that you forget to keep your eyes open. Make sure you know where you are, where your things are, and who’s around you.
Protect your valuables
Your valuables should either be locked up in your hostel, or they should be on your body. No exceptions. No one wants to spend their vacation applying for a new passport or talking to the credit card company.
It's ok to say no!
If someone is bothering you, or pushing your boundaries, you’re allowed to get vocal and say no. Asserting yourself doesn’t mean you’re bitchy, it just means you’re smart enough to stay safe. Make sure that you obviously don't get too aggresive, but stand your ground if you need to.
Now that you know all the ways solo travel will make you an even more awesome person, and how to stay safe doing it, the only question left to answer is...where to next? Let us help you decided via the little blue button that leads to amazing places below.