Being single, not committed or just alone at the moment, could never be a reason for not traveling and not visiting your dream places. On the contrary. Being a solo traveler would introduce you to the super benefits, which you can’t experience while in a group or in a couple. I am the one who knows it better. Most of my trips were solo and I have never regretted it. Actually, I can’t point to even a single trip of being boring, disappointing or just ruined. My solo travels provided some of my greatest memories and convinced me there is nothing more thrilling than being a solo traveler.
Don’t you trust it at all? If you get familiar with my life philosophy, would probably manage to avoid those doubts. Let’s imagine you are about to get married, but can’t find the dream white dress. Would you turn the wedding down? No way! You would probably change the colour of the dress, the design, the length, but won’t cancel the event. Another story – you are unemployed and were applying for a job only in the desired destination. But months have passed and you have not found any job yet in this particular country. Would you stop looking for a job? I doubt it. You would rather change the applicable destination and would rather start searching for in other countries.
Same could be applied to the travels. Just a bit of change in the viewpoint. Being a solo traveler cannot be an obstacle, but rather an advantage. I considered so many benefits, while was completing my large circle of solo journeys. From the small practical issues to fantastic accomplishments.
I guess most of the following below sounds a bit selfish, but there is a time in life when you finally should think about yourself and your gut. It doesn’t mean to ignore the family, friends or loved ones, but this article is mostly for people who are temporarily or permanently alone, or on the way to be, or at a life crossroad, where they should take some change bringing decisions.
Well…I am from the last group. On the top of my extremely successful career I felt lost. I had no idea what to do and where to go. All I knew was I am not satisfied with my daily being, with my full wallet, but empty life, with my fake friends, who were around just because of my high social status. I found myself tired of completing someone else’s dreams, but never mine. I was wearing Rolex, but never had time. Was wearing famous brand shoes, but was unable to move in the right direction. My luxury apartment in a fancy area was cold and sterile, a place to come back to and to live alone.
So…having all the drama above, one day I came back home and realised I was unhappy and was simply wasting my time. Being almost 45, not sure what I want and why I am where I was. The very next day I quit. Took a year off to travel, to get to know places I have always dreamed of, to meet strangers and to face challenges. That’s what I missed before. Something to inspire me and to make me go out of my comfort zone. If you remember, I have already confirmed the fact that magic begins where the comfort zone ends. What I have finally picked – a year of traveling the world, with no accompanying me friends, no structured organisation and no back up plan.
My lifetime friends called it “a mid age crises” 🙂 Most of them were shocked I quit. They couldn’t believe I would give up on such an outstanding career. But it was definitely the wisest step I have ever taken and the best ever “solitude” in my life.
What I eventually did, was to follow the signs. A friend of mine has mentioned Barbados. Then I got the best offer for going there. After Caribbean, I went to London, Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Dubai, Rwanda,Rome, Madrid, Cyprus, Istanbul, South Africa, Botswana, the USA, Amsterdam. All those as a solo traveler. It was my life time journey and no doubt, it’s amazing and unforgettable experience of being a solo traveler.
My TOP SUPER benefits of being solo traveler
To manage your own trip by yourself, as a solo traveler it’s worth it. It is pretty likely to get the last available best price ticket, a better or last seat on the plane, bus or train. Being solo, you have the chance of having choice and being advanced. Just visualise it … The cable car to the summit is overcrowded. You are waiting at a looooong queue to get into one of the cabins and to move up. The supervisor suddenly shouts they need just one person to fill up the amount of people in the next cabin. You step out of the queue and get immediately that last quick seat. Families, groups, couples are still at the queue. I actually experienced that personally in Cape Town, South Africa.
Another story. Flying to East Africa by Turkish Airlines. For the chosen date the price is too high. If go flexible with the dates, there is a single seat left on the next day flight at a super affordable price. Just for me. Because I had the luck of being solo and could let myself being flexible with the dates. That’s exactly my experience going to Rwanda. More less the idea is, being solo you are always much more flexible, adaptable and creative to manage the upcoming situation and avoid the struggles.
You are not convinced yet? Bali, Indonesia. I needed a tour guide/driver for visiting Ubud. All the big vans, provided by the hotel, were already occupied. But because I was solo, they found for me a small car, at a triple time lower price. The last van was hired by a couple. I got the same service, driver, guide, destination, safety, but with 70% discount. Lucky me 🙂
One man tribe
I consider as a big advantage the opportunity all decisions, related to the trip, to be taken by only one person. The only moment you are not obliged to defer with the others, like it happens in a group. All the tension is avoided, no one else insists to do or go differently. No hassles, no drama, no arguments. If you feel like going to Caribbean right now, no need to coordinate your wish with someone else.
You want to go, then go. When I suddenly got a 6 day gap in my programme, the only decision I should take was what destination to pick. I had the money, the time and the availability, just needed the direction.
The best option is to look at last minute offers. I was hesitant – Maldives or Bali. I has already been on a business trip to Maldives, so the expected and quick decision was Bali. Solo, leaving next day, equipped by the information of a flood near Denpasar (the airport of arrival). Some mates’ advice was not to go there, because it’s dangerous. But decision was taken by one person, myself. Bali became one of my best trips, full of sun, great food, lots of intercity short trips and plenty of new friends. I have never regretted my solo decision, despite the pressure to give it up.
Solo is cheaper
If you already read the benefits above, you are aware the expenses will be much lower in case you are solo. Getting the last single room in the hotel is usually cheaper. Sometimes you get unexpected upgrade, if the receptionist needs your already booked double room for a couple. It’s much easier to move one person, than two. So you can sleep in a suite instead of a standard room, because of the lack of rooms availability (an amazing corner suite I got in Istanbul, single room price).
I mentioned the last cheap plane seat, which is likely to be yours as a solo. Also the availability of cheap seats, solo traveler could achieve by changing the date (in a group it’s unlikely to be accomplished). Traveling with the family, you should cover the expenses for another person, extra tickets, accommodation, food, attractions, activities. Time to be selfish. 🙂 If you have chance to get somewhere in a cheaper way, just do it. Remember, the bird alights once on shoulder and could fly away while you are hesitant. Grab every good offer and don’t ignore it, just because you are solo or feel guilty of traveling alone.
I am sure all of you dream of particular temptations or let’s better call them challenges. Are you brave enough to admit you never dared to follow them, just because of other people’s opinion?
The usual drama…What your family would say, if you want to jump with bungee, or to try rafting, or to climb heights. What your colleagues will think of you, if you want to dance at the boat party or get a bit tipsy. Would your friends judge you, if you want to catch a flight in a few hours and end up thousands of miles away.
So many prejudice to be overcome. Sounds a bit tiring and seems like you would never be able to complete your wild visions, just because all the time you are stuck to a “witness”, who is there to judge or evaluate your daily performance.
Well…the good news is when you are a solo traveler no one would interfere your long kept in secret desires. I realised it being already 40+. To try lots of things for first time is much easier when no one around knows me. Being a stranger is liberating. I am not going to hear jokes, mocks or any resentment. Finally an opportunity to do whatever postponed. In my last summer, I became a boulder climber, a carting racer, rum cocktails drinker, rafting crew member, bowling winner and etc.
No worries who will see me, what would say. Neither if I behave, if I am ridiculous, while doing it, if I fail or fall. I was free to do whatever I like, being solo, with no one around to be embarrassed or horrified of my boldness.
Being solo traveler, let me accomplish and enjoy all those usually “forbidden” activities.
Face your fears
This chapter is linked to the previous one. Once I was able to face all my fears, starting with the bothering me people’s opinionated ending with my fear of heights. Generally I consider myself a courageous person, but I’m just a human, along with my secret fears. By being solo is easier to challenge your fears. If you fail, it’s by choice, with no outer influence. Let your curiosity lead you, don’t think much about the possible frightening scenarios and enjoy every minute.
I was really afraid of possible troubles, heading to the end of the world by train, but it was a memorable journey and I’ll be always grateful for the courage to complete it. Mingle with unknown or different people in a bit unfamiliar destinations could be another fear. Also to push your limits, communication skills or weird living conditions. All those potential obstacles/fears strengthened my self-confidence and made me believe there is nothing I am not able to achieve, overcome or fix.
A last minute decision to leave accommodation, switch to another one lots of miles away, swap the cities in your programme, join a tour, jump on a boat, ride jetski, taste scary looking food…it’s up to you. And no one could force you give up, by simply saying you can’t do it. I love Henry Ford’s phrase above. The solo travels show up exactly what you can and dare.
See opportunities, no obstacles.
During a solo trip all is about information and good organisation. When I left to Cyprus, I had no idea what I am going to do in there. Absolutely new to me country, a cheap flight and accommodation, why not to do it? I had wrong expectations, thinking it’s just like Greece, but it was not, except the language.
Arriving at unknown place by being solo can’t stop you exploring it. My first day in Larnaca was devoted to sightseeing. The second day was my food and beverage tasting, when I was eager to get to know everything local.
Third day I left to Limassol, the nearby city, where by chance met a coffee cup reading local woman. Except the amazing things I heard about myself during the mysterious coffee cup reading, she introduced me to the peculiarities of the city. The second night in Limassol I was not able to fall asleep, because of the neighbour’s loud party. Well…it was a fantastic opportunity to meet new people. So, instead of being moody, complaining or calling the police, I just joined the party. The hosts were friendly, open-minded, a bit reckless, but I got lots of fun, tasted great local meals and made new friends.
Next day, I left to Paphos. I attended the opening of a new restaurant in the hotel. I had a lovely conversation with my table neighbour, about 70 year old Swiss painter, living permanently in Paphos. After all, he introduced me to their charming group of Westerners, living in Paphos. I had unforgettable time hiking mountains, joining a craft class and funny dinners with those amazing new friends. I was just a solo traveler. 🙂
We have already spoken so many times about the magical impact of the Bucket list. The secret travel desires, written down on paper, which come true sooner or later.
Let me ask you a question. Do you need another person for starting the completion of your own Bucket list? I don’t think so. What’s the chance to find the perfect “partner in crime”, who has exactly the same wishes and wants to go to exactly the same places in the way you imagine it? Well, maybe you could find it…some day, but you don’t want to be 80 years old when it finally happens. Too long time waiting for finding a right company sounds to me like disaster.
You get the opportunity to follow and complete your travel bucket list, without anyone else’s hesitation, limits or questions. So do it. It doesn’t matter how odd are your desires.
Being just “one man tribe”, you are free to achieve it. It doesn’t matter if you want to go by train to Kazakhstan, to tour Malaysia by car, sunbathing on the beaches of Philippines, learning to make naan bread in Lebanon or bathing in the heart of volcano. Whatever is in your Bucket list, could be achieved by yourself and you need no one else for the purpose. Being a solo traveler is the best and the most enjoyable way of completing your travel Bucket list.
That’s probably the most valuable benefit of the solo travels. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you can easily meet new people and build new friendships. The solo traveler is usually curious about the habits and viewpoints of the native locals. The locals are pretty curious as well to discover the foreign inner space. They would most probably invite you to be their guest (if they like you), to share a drink or two, to stop for a casual chat.
On a boat party or on an intercity bus you can meet other solo travellers or groups, you can join them if you feel like. Being pro-active and not too shy, doing the first friendly step, would make you click with remarkable people. I am still in touch with my super supportive driver/guide in Bali, Indonesia. My fantastic hosts in Cape Town are already part of my friends circle. My Qatari friends will remain so forever. I find in my mobile phone numbers from all over the world, people who I can call and meet again, people I can rely on and would be fun to meet again.
Whatever is the stage of your life journey, it’s never too late and being a solo traveler could be an asset. It’s worth to collect all the courage and to go ahead. It could be a life changing step, providing lots of unexpected opportunities. If you have already read all the benefits, mentioned above, I believe we both are convinced solo traveling is a catch. If I did it, then everyone can. The solo traveler SUPER benefits will keep leading me, even when I am a bit hesitant or on the way to lose my faith. I promise. 🙂