Travel is an exciting, educational, trans-formative and wonderful experience… but it can also be very stressful. If you have family then you’re no doubt familiar with the frenzied pre-airport dash, the icy cold feeling of terror when it looks like one of the kids’ passports is missing, and the sheer embarrassment of hoping that nobody else on the plane minds sharing in your partner’s deep, resonating snore.
Maybe you know these dilemmas all too well and fantasise about exploring the great wide somewhere without the added pressure of project managing the family… but doubt you’ll ever be able to.
Or perhaps you’re unattached and wistfully contemplating exploring the benefits of travel but feel that you can’t because of the safety and logistical considerations of travelling solo.
The good news is that whether you’re single or not; the singles holiday is actually a thriving market that caters to those who’ve been bitten by the travel bug and want to explore the world alone, whatever their circumstances. It’s now easier than ever for singles to travel alone to just about anywhere in safety and comfort.
Still not convinced? Check out these unexpected benefits of travelling alone…
You can tailor the holiday around you!
Those travelling with family are limited by what their partners, kids, parents or in-laws might consider boring or not relevant to their interests. Solo travellers have no such restriction.
Everyone approaches a holiday with different gratifications in mind but travelling solo you can concentrate solely on what you want to see and do.
Want to spend four hours in one museum or trek for ninety minutes in the rain? Who’s going to stop you? Nobody, that’s who!
You’re far more likely to make new friends
When travelling with family you tend to think and act as a unit and insulate yourselves from locals and fellow travellers. When you think about it, that’s a great shame because meeting new people and making friends of them is an incredibly exciting and enriching experience. Think of all the personal anecdotes, insider knowledge and handy hints you’d be missing out on!
Getting to know the locals, in particular can give you a real inside track and if you meet someone you trust they can maybe even show you around some sights.
You can take time out without feeling guilty
If you’re feeling a little peaky, pick up a minor injury like a sprained ankle or just plain get tired then, unlike your attached counterparts, you can take as long as you need to rest.
There’ll be nobody to drag you round bustling cities in flip flops until you get blisters or drag you along sightseeing tours if you don’t feel like it.
Instead, you can enjoy a guilt-free afternoon nap or even a whole afternoon in your hotel lobby sipping coffee and reading. Which brings us to…
You can blitz through your books
Voracious readers will know the unique pleasure of selecting, packing, unpacking and reading a selection of books to consume while sipping by the pool or lounging on the beach.
When travelling with others, you might often be yanked unwillingly away from your reading to remark on a conversation or intervene in a potential unfortunate encounter with a jellyfish.
When travelling alone, missed places and reading the same sentence over and over again become a thing of the past.
You’re actually less likely to be bothered
It’s likely that you’ll expect to feel more vulnerable when travelling alone and while you should take all of the usual precautions in terms of safeguarding yourself and your possessions you’re actually far less likely to be hassled by street vendors, restaurateurs and the like. Families are goldmines for these people but since you’re travelling alone you’ll be spending less and therefore your business will be of less value to them.
Journeys of self-discovery
As much as we love our families, when our attention is focused on them, their needs, their wants and their goals then travel becomes a means for you to help them facilitate that. When travelling solo you get to turn your attention inward.
Travel is a great way to get to know yourself better, experience new places, foods and people and react without the lens of how you might modify your behaviour around your partner.
Our time alone is the truest reflection of who we are but we very rarely get to experience life in this way.
There are fewer sources of stress
Travelling with family can be stressful and distracting because your attention is split in so many different directions. If you have kids, however beautifully behaved they may be, then you know how you have to dedicate a significant portion of your attention on everything they’re doing and where they’re going.
When travelling with friends, your mind is constantly preoccupied by the unknown variables of how they will behave under certain circumstances (especially when alcohol becomes involved).
When travelling alone you’re free of the drama and stress created by others.
There’s no stress but what you make for yourself.
You’re more likely to embrace adventure
They say that life begins outside of your comfort zone and nowhere is this more applicable than when travelling. Others might limit our activities because they’re risk averse or fundamentally unadventurous but when you’re on your own you’re far more likely to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things.
If you encounter hiccups along the way then so much the better, as dealing with them will strengthen your confidence and self-belief.
You’ll probably spend a lot less
Only booking one flight, smaller accommodation and spending less on activities, drinks and meals makes travelling alone intrinsically cheaper and as you’re on your own you’ll have total control over what gets spent and where.
You’ll have time to work on creative projects
Being among new surroundings and experiencing new things are extremely conducive to creative productivity and can unlock new creative urges that you never knew you had.
Starting a blog that documents your travels can be extremely fun and rewarding, or if you’re more artistically inclined you might want to take some art supplies to do some sketching or even watercolours to capture the locations you’ve encountered far more intimately than in a photograph.
You’re more likely to improve your language skills
Without the protective bubble of the presence of others you’re more likely to be immersed in local language and culture which are great motivators for learning a new language. Expanding your lingual repertoire is great for your confidence and will no doubt endear you to the locals who will be all too happy to help with pronunciation.
You will grow in confidence
When you travel alone, the chances are that you’ll come back changed by your experiences and feeling stronger, smarter and more capable. Travel is a wonderful crucible that can help you to better understand yourself and trust in your ability to negotiate unfamiliar terrain without the social safety net of travelling with others.
You’ll likely find that your problem solving and decision making skills will have been improved by the necessary every day challenges that travel presents.
Travelling alone can be far more immersive than travelling with others (no matter how much you love them), and it’s certainly something that nobody should shy away from. Alone you’ll feel more part of the experience because you will be able to focus more attention on the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of your destination and return changed and enlightened by your experience.