So here’s the deal. You want to get out and see the world but maybe your friends are flakey, everyone always seems busy, or there’s just no-one thats quite ready to travel the world with you! I know, I feel your pain. And there’s a lot of people in the same shoes as you. But it doesn’t need to hold you back, stop your plans, or stand in your way. Here’s why you should consider solo travel, with a few tips and advice that will help to ease you into it (baby steps now, baby steps!)…
- Start Small: You don’t need to pick the biggest, longest trip to try to prove a point, or end up biting off more than you can chew. Ease yourself into it. Maybe a weekend away to begin with, or a short city break. There’s no pressure. Traveling anywhere by yourself is a major achievement. (Even if it’s just a trip to the cinema, or zoo!) So remember: you’re doing amazing for even going! By keeping it small at first, it avoids the dreaded overwhelm and enables you to make the most of it. Work towards the bigger ones eventually, but just test the waters first to see how you find it.
- Do Tours/ Group Trips: This was the real winner for me and I honestly couldn’t recommend it more. There are heaps of travel companies that organise trips- even specifically for your age (Take Gap360 or Topdeck for example) And sure it may mean going away with strangers, but actually this can often only add to the adventure and make new friendships form. You’re all there in the same boat, for the same reason, so will often find you have an awful lot in common! It’s far less daunting traveling away with a tour, and although it may not give you the same freedom/ flexibility, it definitely takes away a huge amount of stress/ fear. The travel companies will organise everything for you (you pay the extra cost for this but it’s worth it initially), and you can often chat with others on your trip before you go. If a full tour is not your thing, you can also look at organised day trips at different destinations, or hop-on, hop-off travel coaches, specifically designed for others in your shoes.
- Live Your Mantra: Now I know it’s easier said than done. “I’m strong. I’m independent. I don’t need anyone…” Yet when you get out there, out of your comfort zone, it can soon be a totally different story! I’m not going to lie, I’ve had some mini meltdowns in my time but trust me, these will blow over. You’ll start to realise how much stronger you are. So that positive voice you have in your head- don’t just say it all. Believe it. Use this time to help, support and shape you and see it as a fresh opportunity to be the person you’ve always wanted to be!
- Have a Plan: The worst thing you want to do is get out there unprepared especially when you’re traveling alone. This is your time so really take control! Know where you’re going, know what you’re doing, know how you’re getting from place to place, get it all booked up and mapped out. And remember, with this trip- you can shape it EXACTLY the way you want it. The itinerary is 100% yours. So add in all those bucket list destinations and experiences, pop in that free time to devour all the books you want, really make the most of your time around the things that you enjoy the most. Once you have your plan together you will feel so much better about it all, and: you can then get truly excited. Because after all, this is shaped totally around you!
The Real Benefits of Solo Travel:
It Will Shape You…
I’m a big believer that ‘life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself’, but how can we be everything we want to be without gaining that real-life experience? Doing more? Experiencing more? Getting outside of our comfort zone? Solo travel makes you grow and develop more than you could ever imagine, and YES: at times it may be lonely. At times it may possibly even be a little scary. And sometimes, you may well want to just come home! But when you push through all of that to really enjoy your adventure and find that true independence: you’ll come back almost a different person. Trust me. Travel is the one thing you won’t ever regret: even if you’re venturing out on your own. In fact, it’s the trips you take when you are alone that are -arguably- even more memorable.
It Will Make You…
There’s nothing more empowering than living life on your terms. There’s a lot of things you can’t control, but one thing you can: is what YOU decide to do and the action you then take. If travel is of real interest, if heading new places makes you feel ALIVE and if you really want to go: don’t let anything stand in your way… especially not other people. Seize the moment, grasp these incredible opportunities and head out on your own! By the end of it, you’ll find you start to ‘know’ yourself far better than you ever did before. You’ll have that time and inspiration to explore things that really interest you. You can work on new ideas, have the time to think about what you really want to do. You can BE the person you really want to be. And trust me, it will give you such a confidence boost!
You Will Meet The Most Amazing People…
Traveling in general will allow you to mix with people from all walks of life, but when you’re away with your partner, family or friends: it makes you comfortable and stops you from mixing as much as you could in most cases. When you solo travel, you meet others in the same shoes as you (alongside groups and guides!) and it pushes you to be more sociable, which makes the bonds greater. Don’t ever think you’ll be alone when you travel solo, because trust me- as soon as you settle in, you’ll be not only meeting some pretty cool people, but also making truly great friends.
You Will See the World in a Different Way…
I don’t know about you, but I find travel gives you a matter of perspective. You get out of your normal routines, in the same environments, with the same people. And you start opening your eyes to everything and everyone around you. You can learn so so much from talking, watching, experiencing. Travel forces you to be more aware, and in turn this gets you thinking: both about yourself, your life, and the things around you. This all gives you a greater sense of appreciation, which also means when you do return home: you’ll be in a far better place.
I took my first solo trip when I turned 18, heading the furthest away that I could: for a month-long adventure in Australia (literally the other side of the world!) It was a bit of a shock to the system at first- despite traveling regularly with my family before that: going somewhere totally on my own was brand new! But I adjusted, I absolutely loved it, and I have never looked back since!
After meeting my partner Luke – who also longed to see the world – it would have then been easy to get into the comfort of only traveling together. I mean, why go by myself when I have the love of my life who can come too?! Only that was the thing: although we’re able to have plenty of adventures together, he’s not able to have the same freedom and flexibility that I do, which -at times- would put me right back in the same position as I once was at the start! So I decided to carry on with my own travel adventures too. But by doing this, I soon realised:
- Solo travel is so so important in a relationship: if not more!
- It gives you that independence- which is something you should never let leave!
- It gives you a balance and some ‘me’ time, which only makes the relationship stronger.
- You’ll see you are still your own person, and can stand on your own two feet.
- You experience travel in a different way, but a good way nonetheless.
- You can see the places that maybe he wasn’t interested in, so that you don’t have to miss out.
- You will both still have your own lives and adventures, yet that love and support back at home.
Whether you’re single or not, solo travel certainly has it’s benefits and for me, it’s definitely something I always want to be able to have in my life. What position are you in right now? Considering solo travel? Any thoughts/ questions/ problems standing in your way? Pop them in the comments below. Together we can support and inspire one another.
Remember, the life you really want: it’s well within reach.