10 Benefits Of Traveling Solo At Least Once A Year

We are all surrounded by people. We work with them, we socialize with them daily. We also need a break from them and traveling solo seems to be a perfect way to know yourself better, leave your comfort zone and go into the wild, get to know other people, hike, dance, learn to cook, smile, talk to strangers, eat new food and see the sunrise on the beach.

“I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.” – Oscar Wilder

Wise words. Being alone on the road gives you an opportunity to gain valuable experience about the world, people, food, foreign customs and traditions. You stop being ignorant and start appreciating things you might have never noticed. You open your heart. You become more of a listener than speaker.

Why should we all travel solo at least once a year? 

Most of “steady Eddy” people can’t imagine themselves traveling on their own so they always take their friends with them, partners or join the organised group trips.

Why?

There are many reasons such as It’s scary! I don’t want to feel lonely! I need a buddy to have a beer with! Who would take pictures of me!? (that’s me).

Nevertheless, traveling solo is getting more and more common as it can be a lot of fun and more unique experience for adventure hunters. Actually, the advantages of traveling solo are enormous.

A girl in Zhangjiajie
Never be afraid of traveling solo. That will make you more confident and independent. Zhangjiajie, China.

#1 Learn more about yourself. Discover yourself

Once you set off on a solo journey to unknown place, you start getting to know yourself much better. You are on your own. You start listening to your heart and you are finally able to achieve some level of internal equilibrium and focus of mind. You start to discover yourself once again – things you are capable of, things you are afraid or scared of. You face your fears and you defeat them. There is no stress around and you feel alive.

A girl is taking a picture of Banaue Rice Terraces
Do one thing a day that scares you. Banaue, the Philippines.

#2 Make new friends & speak to strangers

When we travel with companions, we tend to stick to that group of people and even though we try our best to get to know new people, the dynamics and interactions will certainly not be as deep and fulfilling. I’ve noticed that when I am on my own on the road, I’m definitely more eager to chat with locals, meet travel buddies, team up with other travelers and generally reach out more in order to socialize. It seems so natural. Traveling solo definitely enables you to speak directly to some locals and stop being shy with people. In this way, you can make new friend and gain valuable insider knowledge about wherever you are.

A girl is posing with a boy in Banaue
Meet people. Speak to strangers. Have fun. Observe.

#3 Experience new things

When you travel solo, people are more open and direct with you. Thus, you can experience more new things than you would when traveling with someone. People will invite you home and welcome you warmly in their place. They will share everything they have with you, sometimes giving you more than they possess. You will notice their smile and small gestures you often ignore when traveling with someone else by your side.  

a girl with a map in Lisbon
 Sightseeing in Lisbon

#4 Freedom. Peace. Flexibility

It is better to travel alone than with a bad companion.

When you travel on your own, you are definitely more flexible with time, next destination and decisions you make. You team up with travel buddies you like the most and end up expanding your travel plans. You are free to change your plans whenever you want to. You are free to sleep as long as you want to. You can hitchhike, hike, dance on the beach, change your destination at last minute without stress and compromises. When you travel, you are open to change and you will welcome it with open arms. No more fitting into a group’s agenda. No more explanations or disappointing anyone. You just follow rhythm, heart and mind.  

A girl with open arms
Take the risk. Embrace the world. Feel free. Bali, Indonesia.

#5 Loneliness? What’s that?

In fact, when traveling solo, you will never feel lonely. Once you get to any hostel or hotel and you will see plenty of solo travelers who are in the same boat. You all travel for the same reasons, you all miss home at some point and you all want to experience new things. It is incredible to see how much you have in common with people who you have not met before. You get to know each other, you make friends and keep in touch. We meet once again after some time in a different place and you all laugh at all of these awkward and unforgettable moments you shared together.  

A group of travelers in Bali
I bunch of great people I met in Bali

#6 Overcome your fears & challenge your insecurities

What does not kill you, makes you stronger and that’s so true. When you are left on your own, you start fighting for what really matters to you. You overcome the fear of heights, darkness, spiders or even new food. The more you travel, the less you fear. As long as you make regular solo trips, you will feel more confident each time, no matter what your fear is which is also a good excuse to travel regularly.  

Pro tip: while pushing your boundaries and going beyond what you’re comfortable is highly encouraged and will most likely benefit you in the long run, there are some risks you are going to face. Do not face them unprepared. Do consider a Travel Insurance!

Delicious snake
A plate of snake meat I challenged to eat

#7 Indulge in anything you want without being judged

Without a doubt, eating is one of the most enjoyable aspects of travel. Be it street food or in a restaurant. Once you start traveling solo, you also start appreciating food more and you will end up eating things that you would normally not eat at home. You become more adventurous with food. You can finally take in all the Thai pad thai, Italian pizza, Belgian macaroons and Chinese dumplings you find on your travels if you so desire without worrying about other people noticing!

A girl with ice cream
Time for gelato!

#8 Save money

In most cases, you can find traveling solo cheaper than traveling with someone. Why? Nobody teases you with local delicacies so it is easier to resist the temptation and spend less money on food (my case). You are also more likely to buy less souvenirs and useless gadgets. More importantly, your travel companion might prefer more convenient and expensive way of traveling and it’s sometimes awkward to say “Sorry, it’s too expensive for me”.

#9 Gain confidence

When you travel solo you might face various problems, make decisions and even take some risk on your own. All these situations will, with no doubts, make you stronger, braver and much more confident though. Being alone on the road is a great challenge and as we know the challenges make us grow stronger and wiser not only as travellers but also as human-beings. When traveling on your own you can learn many skills such as time management and decision making.

Chinese gang
Chinese gang. Zhangjiajie, Hunan province

#10 No drama

How many times did you argue with your travel buddies? How many times did you have to meet him/her half-way? If things do not go well, the entire trip can be a miserable, drama-filled time you’d love to forget. There is no drama when you travel on your own. No arguments. No fights.

a girl with a bottle of cherry liquer in Lisbon
 Time for some cherry liguer in Lisbon

To sum up, we should not be scared to set off for a solo journey! For some people it might be a tough decision and a weird feeling for the first days of solo expedition, but at the end of the day you will not regret it as it’s much more adventurous and challenging, it shapes your personality and gives you enormous possibilities to test yourself.

A girl alone on the beach
Time for myself at Pagudpud beach, the Philippines.

Have you ever travelled solo? How beneficial was it for you?

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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105 thoughts on “10 Benefits Of Traveling Solo At Least Once A Year”

  1. Jess @UsedYorkCity

    I absolutely love traveling solo! It’s great to be able to do EXACTLY what you want and feel like without having to be considerate of other people’s interests. And I also think you spend more time getting immersed with the locals or chatting with other travelers, rather than just your travel companion.

  2. I find myself having to meet in the middle all the time when travelling with a companion. Compromising can be a good thing to keep the peace, but I never thought about how I wouldn’t have to do that if I traveled solo! Great tips!!

  3. Andrea Anastasiou

    I still clearly remember my first solo trip. I went to Singapore for a week. It was so liberating to be able to do it all by myself, and I never felt lonely. It’s amazing how easy it is to meet other people while travelling.

    Great post. I particularly agree with the gaining confidence point – it’s an empowering feeling when you travel alone, particularly as a woman I think…

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thanks for sharing Andrea! Singapore is a great place to travel solo. I spent there a couple of days and I have such great memories from there!

  4. Lisa - Wee Wanders

    Great post, I love the Oscar Wilde quote too! I think it’s very important to have alone time, and what better way to fill it than to travel. And I have found that 9 out of 10 times, doing scary things really pay off :)

  5. Miriam of Adventurous Miriam

    What an excellent and timely post, Agness! I’m on my first solo trip right now and I’m beginning to see all the advantages. It certainly gives you a lot more confidence and inner strenght!

  6. Hannah Wasielewski

    These are all so true! I’m solo traveling at the moment and can relate to all of them. Especially the loneliness part, I’m never alone here! People at hostels are usually traveling alone too, and they all want to make friends too! Although some days I like just spending the day alone and finding a cool place to eat :)

    1. Agness Walewinder

      I’m so glad you are having a great time on the road. True – you never get lonely when travelling solo!!

  7. all true and great points. However, once you have a partner it’s probably not really on to do much solo travelling anymore :( unless they are really understanding I guess. But it’s not fair to leave them when you’re off having fun is it?

  8. santafetraveler

    Great solo travel points. I traveled solo a bit when I was single. I did meet people and have wonderful experiences, but I really enjoy having the right travel partner and I do.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      I met amazing people as well when I was travelling solo! That changed when Cez joined me :P !! LOL

  9. I like to hear stories from people who travel solo. I love your points here, especially “discovering yourself.” OMG how important is that and how many of us do not get the opportunity to do that! I never really got the chance to travel solo because of a close-knit family I belong from. Although sometimes I feel that I should just set off on a plane to some exotic land.

  10. Sacha @ The Beautiful Travel Hangover

    Another great post that I totally agree with :)
    I still can’t decide whether I like solo traveling or ‘partner’ traveling better. There is something really nice about having someone to share memorable moments with. And to lean on in difficult moments. Or when you get lost ;)
    But I think the freedom and socializing when solo traveling are priceless too!
    So doing both alternately is best I guess, at least for me.
    But you’re right, there is definitely no reason to be scared of solo traveling!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thanks! I’m glad you agreed with what I am saying here. Exactly, there are no reasons to feel unsecured, scared or petrified!

  11. I leave for my first real solo travel experience (minus studying abroad) next month! I’m starting in China which is going to be scary, exhilarating, and ridiculous all at once. I can’t wait!

  12. Agness, I’ve told you before that I admire and envy both you and Cez when either of you travel alone! This post was absolutely AWESOME as I thought to do a trip overseas by myself. Remember, I’ve never been overseas period. It is still too daunting a task so I would want to get my feet wet with a travel or blogger friend the first couple of times for baby steps :)

  13. Although I have written quite a lot on solo travel on my blog, it is always refreshing and interesting to read a new perspective on the subject. Your last point ‘no drama’ brought a smile on my face! :) It is so true, and more than buddies, it is true with siblings. I remember my sis and I were in Melbourne a few years back and what a fight we had – tears, arguments, too much of a mountain out of a molehill…and the fact is that she’s the best sis in the world – we are so close – yet she is NOT the best travel companion!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Did you travel with your sister? I have never done it with mine. Just wondering how we could get along. She is such a lazy dude and drama queen :)

  14. Agreed! I was almost petrified on my first solo trip. I, like others, was worried I would be lonely but I discovered that this was entirely up to me. The sense of accomplishment and huge confidence I felt after the trip left me flying high for ages after. With a family now, going to the grocery store alone is the most solo I get. ;D

  15. Rachel of Hippie in Heels

    great tips… I agree with you on them! I was traveling solo in India when I met my boyfriend… had I been with friends I would have never met him b/c I wouldn’t have been so inclined to talk to him and make friends! so there’s that ;) BUT now that i’m living in India with him, i don’t do near enough solo trravel :( you’ve inspired me!!

  16. I see all the benefits to travelling alone but I very much enjoy the company of my bf and enjoy travelling with him. We have a very close relationship and as such can easily spend alone time just in the company of each other. For me, I love the company but it’s that company where you can still feel like you’re alone and be yourself all at the same time. At least to me :)

  17. Totally agree with you Agness. There are great benefits to both forms of travel and being a solo traveller can become lonely if you let become so.

    I am so used to travelling solo it feels weird to have a colleague travel with me. Then it feels as though it can cramp my space.

    I’m very comfortable in my own company and do a lot of reflection whilst travelling. We all need that time for reflection. We recharge ourselves and reinvent ourselves.

    I’ve often thought of the virtues of solo travel and even considered writing a similar article from my perspective.

    Hope you are enjoying your travels.

  18. Ani @ All About Travelling

    I completely agree with you, Agness. Travelling solo is the best way to discover new places and also to discover yourself. You seem to have the best of both worlds – travel with your best friend most of the time and solo every once in a while :)

  19. Absolutely love it. Mine is mostly time. I love to eat, but don’t spend an hour doing so. I also eat during down times. This means I can do a lot more in my day than most people who get hungry or tired. I have repeated the same trip I’ve done before with a partner and realized how much more efficient it is to be alone.
    Nevertheless, there are lots of benefits of traveling with someone. Generally, I feel like accommodation for a room split by two people is cheaper than 2 dorm beds. Much more comfort for less money. There is also the sharing of your awe.
    Great post.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      I agree with what you’re saying here Julio. I’m also a travel foodie, so I absolutely understand you. The accommodation for a room split by two people is cheaper than 2 dorm beds so it’s much cheaper to travel with someone.

  20. Im travelling solo for the first time right now and lovvvviiinnnggg it. Couldnt agree more with everything you said!

  21. I’m totally yours and Oscar Wilde’s opinion. The quote is perfect. And I really think that everyone should try to travel alone as he said, it’s important to be able to be alone. Just yesterday I talked to a friend who wants to hike the Camino and she said the first reaction she almost always receives is: “And you want to do it alone?” “Didn’t you find anyone to do it with you?” and we were just discussing the same topic. I mean you hike for 6 weeks, I think that’s the toughest thing to do with another person. you need the same pace, you share all ups and downs, I mean it can help at times, but 6 weeks 24/7? This hike is supposed to be done for reflections and isn’t that best done when having time for yourself?

  22. All these points are so true, Agness. There’s really nothing quite as empowering as travelling by yourself. It’s something I definitely want to do more of in the coming years. I made the two biggest moves in my life solo (moving to Australia and Canada) and I grew as a person so much from doing these things, especially as I did them alone. The thing about travelling solo is, I tend to find you don’t spend much time solo! It’s so easy to meet people to travel with on the road, so people shouldn’t worry about feeling lonely.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Charlie, thank you for sharing your story and experience. Moving to Australia and Canada must have been a huge move for you. Well done!!

  23. You know there’s a new trendy thing called the selfie stick, right? The “Who would take pictures of me!?” problem is no longer a problem :D

  24. Zoe @ Tales from over the Horizon

    Great list! Travelling alone does give you such freedom. I love that quote from Oscar Wild. :)

  25. There are definitely pros and cons to being a solo traveler. I often like to do what I want, when I want. You don’t have to abide by anyone’s rules. And it’s so true that you learn so much about yourself!

  26. Grace Buchele Mineta

    This is WONDERFUL! I completely agree. I used to only travel solo (I didn’t want to risk ruining my trip by going with someone who might argue/spend too much/be annoying).

    Thankfully, my husband travels incredibly well. He’s just as cheap as me and we have basically all the same interests, so we’ve never fought while travelling (mostly because he just lets me run the show and tags along).

    But every once and a while, I like to go on small trips by myself. It’s very relaxing and fun.
    Good for you for writing this!!!
    I love you advice (as always)

    1. Agness Walewinder

      I’m so glad you had a chance to travel solo!
      You are so lucky that your husband is such a great travel companion. Keep it up!!

  27. Vanessa @ The Travelling Colognian

    I can only agree with everything you have written, Agness and I love the two quotes. Even though I have a boyfriend for many years, I need to travel on my own at least once a year to clear my mind and to spend alone outside of my comfort zone. I started travelling solo more than 20 years ago and without this “Me-Time” every once in a while I would probably be a totally different person.

  28. Mandie @ RamblingMandie

    I agree with every single one of these things. I don’t think I would choose to do another 4 1/2 month trip unless I was single and unattached, but I will definitely continue to travel solo for shorter periods of time. I love the freedom that it gives you!

  29. Jaklien van Melick

    I loooove travelling by myself. No fights over the AC, you can do whatever you want. You meet more new people. Etc etc. Everyone should do it at least once in their lifetime.

  30. Great reasons to travel solo :) I love solo travel because it challenges me and surprises me. I’ve met some amazing people and great friends by going solo and I can’t wait for my next solo journey :)

  31. Anna | slightly astray

    Great post Agness :). Right now, I’m still a little scared to travel solo or do thing by myself, but I’m sure that will come with more experience! I do really like the idea of solo travel (especially when I fight with D on the road!), mainly because you can do whatever the hell you want, and eat whatever you want to eat!! We do talk about trying solo travel sometime in the future. :)

  32. Tim | UrbanDuniya

    “Indulge without being judged” and “No drama” are so so true!! I like travelling with friends but I LOVE travelling alone! I experience so so much more!!! All of my best trips have been solo :)

  33. Once again, a really great post Agness. :)
    Yes, I’ve travelled solo especially when I graduated. I did 6 months around Asia. I went to live in Eastern Europe. I went to India and Vietnam. I”ve done most of Europe. All solo. Some of the best times of my life. Now that I’m married, of course, I travel with my family but from time-to-time, I take a long weekend and travel solo in order to grease the buds of independent thinking, challenges, and difficulties. It’s always a good feeling and I have a great husband who is supportive and understands when my feet begin to itch! :)

  34. I’m about to go on my first solo trip (a road trip from Ohio to Washington), and I can’t wait! Sure, it’ll be a bit nerve-wracking since I’m moving, and not just vacationing…but the thought of having 4 whole days to myself to do what I want sounds refreshing!

  35. Anna @ shenANNAgans

    WOW… Your post TOTALLY inspired me, in the back of my mind lately I have been thinking that I need to do something, I need to break out of the confines of the day to day I am living, grow, learn, discover me. I went to the States for 5 months a few years ago, it was truly one of the BesT experiences I have ever had. Its all about you. :)
    Fab post, I am going to start planning my next solo adventure.

  36. Travelling solo sounds great if you look at it the right way. I’ve never really travelled solo, not out of choice, just out of circumstance, but I’d be really keen to do so (especially in Europe). I think you can learn a lot from travelling solo.

    The only drawback I really see is that I love hiking (as does my partner) but sometimes we hike in really quite dangerous places, and I’m not a very good climber, so doing it on my own wouldn’t be that safe and I wouldn’t be that confident to do it either.

  37. you’re right: it is very imortant to spent time alone. But I couldn’t do it for a year. Of course you meet new people and make frieds, but it is never the same with your “stable” friends and your family, because by travelling you are always on the go and you know that you will leave soon. I prefer to travel with a familiar or a friend (if it is for a year). so you are able to share and remember your experience :) But that’s my opinion…

  38. I couldn’t agree more with this! My partner and I make a point of travelling solo once every so often just to experience some things alone. Sometimes it’s nice to just have one agenda and one person’s wants to fulfil and it opens some amazing opportunities :).

  39. chinaelevatorstories

    The drama, so true! You have to be really lucky to find people who share a similar travel attitude, which is one of the reasons why I like traveling alone.

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