Traveling with friends is great. You always have someone to eat, explore, and navigate through messy situations with. When you get home, you have someone who is able to relive your experiences with you and who (hopefully) doesn’t get tired of you recounting every. single. part of the trip over and over (and over and over). I’m not suggesting that traveling with another person isn’t great, but what I am saying is that traveling alone maaaay be better.
Hear me out on this– when you travel alone, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. You want to get up and get going at 6AM? Go ahead. You want to wait to eat dinner until 10PM? No one is complaining to you that they’re hungry and can’t wait. You want to spend $300 just to go to a city that your favorite yogurt is named after? Well that sounds a little eccentric, but do what you’ve gotta do.
Being alone in a foreign place makes you more open to meeting new people. I’m actually pretty shy in most situations and am often described as “so awkward, but in a cute way” by my friends (thanks guys). Despite that awkwardness, I feel 100% comfortable approaching and being approached by new people while traveling alone. The best places I’ve found to meet people are on tours, in the hostel, or on trains/planes/busses. Also, never underestimate the friendship-making powers of a good ol’ pub crawl.
You don’t need to feel guilty about your eating/drinking habits. You and your stomach are the only ones who know if you missed a meal (or two) because you got too engrossed in what you were doing and forgot to eat. I will say that this habit becomes dangerous if you decide to “go out” in the evening after multiple days of inconsistent and insufficient meals. Never a good idea– eat some bread first. On the other hand, if you are surviving on french fries and banana bread, no one will ever know that either.
For most of us, there are so many things that influence how we live our lives. We like what we like and do what we do predominantly based on our social circles. Being alone gives you the opportunity to find out exactly who you are and what you enjoy without anything or anyone shaping it. Even better– you become exposed to things you never knew you’d like! I have never been someone who enjoys watching sports, but while in Melbourne, I watched 3 footy games and actually enjoyed them. Who knew that could happen? Not me.
You become way more confident in your problem-solving, planning, and social skills. No one is going to come to your rescue when you’re in a pinch and you’re halfway across the world or country. You’ve gotta figure out how to approach people for help and get shit done all by yourself.
Ultimately, it is less expensive to travel alone. You only do the things that you really want to do, so you aren’t wasting money on activities (or food) that you’re not interested in. Most activities while traveling (besides renting a car or getting a hotel) are paid for based on how many people are participating, so it is amazing how much money this actually saves you.
Be smart, do your research, and go get ’em! The world is a big place, and if you have your heart set on seeing a part of it, don’t let the idea of traveling by yourself keep you from going for it!