The first time I wrote about ‘five reasons I travel solo‘ was in August 2012, after my trip to Chenzhou in China. Since then I’ve been blessed with many more solo trips and experienced the endless joys. Earlier this month, I was in Da Nang and Hoi An in Vietnam, for a week, all by myself. I got to experience for the first time…
- Living on USD20 a day, including accommodation, meals and transport!
- Riding a scooter, and that too on the right side of the road!
- Learning to make ‘Vietnamese fish rolls’!
- Homestay in the middle of rice fields (way different from the B&B above the rice terraces in China)!
- Taking a tour with a traffic police officer!
- Starting an online travel journal on TravelPod!
Most of these wouldn’t have been possible if I wasn’t traveling solo. So here’s my expanded list of benefits, and why you should travel solo at least once a year:
- Plan easily. Pick your own dates and destination. The places-to-see on your list are not the same as the places your family or friends want to see. And finding a time that suits everyone is not easy.
- Try new things – accommodations, means of travel, food – and get out of your comfort zone.
- Have conversations with fellow travelers and locals. You learn a lot more about the people and places when you are on your own.
- Be more flexible with your time, destinations and decisions you make. Wake up for sunrise or sleep all day.
- Overcome your fears. Whether it’s fear of new places, fear of being on your own or fear of darkness… the more you travel the less you fear.
- Gain confidence by handling problems and situations on your own. You take your own risks and learn.
- Indulge in whatever you want, without being judged.
- Stay within your own budget. No compromises or overspending.
- Become a better traveler by observing more. You engage more fully with the people and places when you are on your own.
- Get to know yourself better. When you are on your own, it’s easier to listen to your heart and focus your mind. The extended me time is an opportunity to dream, plan, think, and even reflect on your travel experiences.
That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy traveling with family, friends or groups… solo travel just a different kind of great experience!
PS. One of the most common questions I got asked by fellow travellers and locals: ‘Your wife doesn’t mind your solo travels?‘ And the answer is, one of the reasons we have been so happy with each other for over 30 years is that we accept, understand and appreciate the differences between us. And we allow each other to do our own things. [Thank you, Salma!]