May 18th, 2023

The 5 astonishing benefits of solo travel, according to experts

We all have one or two travel experiences that we’ll remember for a lifetime. Whether it’s an epic skydiving trip in an awe-inspiring location, or simply a day trip to somewhere new with your favourite people, exploring the world can be life-changing in so many ways.

One thing many travel experts and psychologists recommend is to try solo travel at least once in your life. Even if you have a partner, family, or close group of friends you usually jet off with, perhaps it’s time to consider a trip by yourself.

Here are five astonishing benefits of solo travel that could inspire you this summer.

1. Solo travel gives you a “selfishness” outlet

According to Psych Central, your body often sends clear signals that you might need more alone time than you’re currently getting. These symptoms could come in the form of fatigue, chronic stress and agitation – especially if you live a busy life, both at work and at home with family.

If you struggle to carve out time alone at home, and even feel selfish for doing so, booking a trip by yourself could alleviate some of that pressure.

Indeed, one of the key benefits of solo travel is getting unfiltered “selfish” time. You can choose what you do, when you do it, how long you spend on each activity, and who you interact with while you’re on holiday – without any compromises.

2. Your confidence will build day by day

One reason you might be wary of travelling alone is nervousness. This is understandable; hitting the road by yourself comes with some risks, especially if things go wrong and you need support.

Yet if you’re apprehensive about solo travel, this could be all the more reason to try it. Taking a trip alone will push you out of your comfort zone, as it requires you to advocate for yourself and your needs while you’re on the road.

Although this could lead to some anxiety, you could find that your confidence builds by the day when you travel solo, making you realise you’re capable of much more than you thought.

3. You’ll get to know what you crave, without any outside influences

If you spend your life fulfilling other people’s needs – especially if you’re a parent, or work in a busy team environment – it’s easy to lose track of what you actually want and need.

Even if you are at retirement age by now, there is still much to learn about yourself – and solo travel could help you get to grips with your identity, whatever that means to you.

Trying exotic foods you’ve always shunned for the sake of ease when eating with family, taking up a new sport or hobby, or simply going to a destination nobody else in your family is interested in are all excellent ways to get to know your own preferences without any outside influences.

4. Spending time alone teaches you to self-soothe

In an article published in The New York Times, professor Thuy-vy Nguyen, a psychologist studying solitude, says that alone time “helps us regulate our emotions, [and can have] a calming effect that prepares us to better engage with others”.

Indeed, solo travel could be the perfect opportunity to learn better self-regulation.

Things often go wrong when you’re travelling – flights are delayed, luggage lost, or accommodation isn’t exactly what you pictured – sometimes leading to stress and dissatisfaction. Facing those emotions alone might sound daunting, but actually, this might teach you to adapt to your surroundings without leaning on others for support.

This isn’t to say that solitude is always a good thing – in fact, many studies indicate it has poor effects on our mental health if you spend too much time alone. But if you’re used to travelling with others, putting yourself in the hot seat could be hugely beneficial for your ability to self-soothe when things go awry.

5. You might make deep connections with those you meet along the way

When you travel abroad with a group, your “unit” might not set out to make friends with those you meet.

However, when you embark on a trip by yourself, you might feel more open to making new connections.

Whether it’s joining a group tour of a specific landmark, or even befriending those sharing your accommodation, you might find you form meaningful friendships with new people when travelling solo.

Meeting others from different countries, cultures and backgrounds can help broaden your mindset, and could offer you a fun connection if you enjoy socialising day-to-day.

Ultimately, solo travel isn’t for everyone – but if you yearn to get to know yourself better, spend time alone, or build your confidence, going on holiday alone could be the answer.

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