Last summer I went on quite a few solo adventures. Since then, I sometimes forget how scared I used to be to do basically anything alone. I used to hate going to stores alone, I never would even think about going out to dinner alone, and I definitely didn’t think I could travel to 7 countries by myself. But I’m here to tell you, it’s possible and sometimes a little push is all it takes. Most things are scarier in your head than in reality…which is exactly what I learned.
Since it has almost been one year since my Europe adventure last summer, I thought I would share the benefits and tips I learned from traveling solo!
- Learning How to be Alone is One of the Most Valuable Lessons in Life. Before I left, the thought of traveling alone and being alone was scary to me. What if I ran into trouble? Who would I talk to? Who would take my pictures? Would I be lonely? I quickly came to realize that traveling alone made every new place and adventure a bit more meaningful because I didn’t feel pressure to experience it all with anyone other than myself. The first time I went to Florence, Italy, I visited Michelangelo’s magnificent ‘David’ and I ended up staying for two hours! I didn’t have to share that moment with anyone and it was magical.
- You Get to Know Yourself. I honestly don’t think there’s any better way to get to know yourself. I learned more and more about my fears, limits and joys all while having the time of my life.
- The Trip is YOURS. This is the BEST part of a solo adventure! I made my own itinerary, ate when I wanted to, spent extra time here and there, went back to places more than once…the list goes on. The trip becomes what you want it to be. I typically always have a long bucket list of places I want to see in a new place and it’s usually not very exciting to people I would normally travel with. Traveling alone allowed me to freely check items off my personal bucket list!
- You’ll Feel Liberated. There’s nothing better than looking back and thinking “I did that!”
- You Are Able to be More Aware and Present. Personally, I felt like I had the opportunity to take in my surroundings more than usual because I was experiencing everything alone. It was a rare experience where I truly felt present in the moment.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out to Strangers. This is something I learned to do slowly because it’s outside of my comfort zone to strike up a conversation with strangers. But, sometimes strangers can be comforting while visiting a new place. I met a lot of people who reminded me of my family members or friends back home and it felt nice to have small talk with someone who brought me familiarly. Also, reaching out to strangers is helpful as a solo traveler if you need a picture taken!
- Reflect Everyday. When I traveled last summer, I kept a journal with me and wrote about my day each night. There are so many little details that can easily be forgotten so it’s nice to have a written record of your adventure.
- Take a Lot of Pictures. Some of the best memories can be captured with a photo and later bring you back to the feeling you had in that moment.
- Pack Comfort Items. Although traveling solo is liberating and fun, it’s normal to miss home. I suggest bringing along something you can wear or carry that reminds you of home.
- Research, Research, Research. When traveling to a new place, especially alone, it’s important to research safe areas and recommendations. During my time in Europe there were a couple cities that I should’ve researched more carefully when choosing a place to stay overnight. Last minute changes are even more stressful alone too so it’s best to be extra prepared.