When a friend backs out of a planned trip, four questions arise:
- Should I travel solo?
- Can I do it on my own?
- Do I want to travel alone?
- What do I need to know to travel solo?
For someone who has never considered solo travel before, these are big questions.
However, according to many readers of Solo Traveler and members of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook, the answers are yes, yes, yes, and yes.
And the result of all those positive answers is often a solo travel convert.
Should I Travel Solo? Yes!
There are many ways in which you will find your solo travel experience just as fun and rewarding as the trip you had planned with your friend. Maybe more so. You will
- Enjoy independence. There will be no need to compromise your schedule with that of someone else. Get up late and relax or jump out of bed and take on the day. It is up to you.
- Meet and talk to locals. Because you're not focused on a travel companion, it is easier to meet and connect with locals offering you a rich, authentic experience.
- Meet and join other travelers. Whether you join them for an hour, a day, or more, connecting with other travelers gives you a social, solo experience. Connecting with other travelers gives you new perspectives and another lens through which to explore your destination.
- Realize your own true interests. Without the influence of others you can try new things and delve into interests you hadn't considered before.
- Do what you want when you want. The independence mentioned above and the discovery of new interests means that you can delve into a destination the way you want. Whether it's museums or cooking classes or simply watching the world go by with a cup of coffee, do what you want when you want.
- Travel slowly and more deeply. Coordinating plans with another person takes time that could be spent simply exploring. As a solo traveler you have more time to focus on your destination.
- Learn how capable you are. As you navigate a new country, culture, and logistics on your own you discover a lot about yourself. You discover just how capable you truly are.
- Discover new self-confidence. Knowing your capabilities builds confidence for other situations and activities. The self-confidence gained when traveling solo is experienced when you're at home as well.
- Grow as a person. Every one of the points above shows how you will grow as a person when traveling solo.
For even more detail on this read Why Travel Solo? 12 Reasons and a Personal Note
Can I Travel Alone? Yes!
Traveling solo is a lot like how couples and friends travel with the one obvious exception. You are on your own.
If you're like most travelers, even if you were not the person responsible for navigating the airport or choosing the restaurant, you likely learned a lot along the way from those who did. We never know how much we learn from others until we are put in a situation where we have to do these things for ourselves. I can guarantee you that on past travels you developed travel skills to apply to your solo trips.
If you've not traveled before, can you still travel solo? Yes, though you are going to want to do more research than those with travel experience. There's a lot of free information on this site and there's also the Wits & Wonder Travel Course – Especially for Solo Travelers. In 7 emails over 7 weeks the course goes takes you through all kinds of information in great detail to help you travel solo successfully. It's also a guide to dozens of the 1,400 posts we have on solo travel.
Do I Want to Travel By Myself? Likely!
Now that you know you can travel solo, that you are capable of it, you have to make the personal decision of whether you want to. To answer the question “Do I want to travel solo?” you need to ask yourself other questions first.
- Is the trip more about the destination or my travel companion? If travel is the priority, well then solo seems the way to go.
- Do I get excited by new challenges? One can be both nervous and excited by something. You can be both nervous and excited by the prospect of traveling solo but you should definitely have a bit of the latter.
- Am I prepared to feel awkward at times? Sometimes being alone can feel a little awkward and possibly lonely. Fortunately, you can prepare for this. There are lots of ways to build social time into a solo trip.
- Is this the trip I should take for my first solo trip? If the planned trip is a particularly challenging one, perhaps you should start traveling solo to a destination that is easier, in your own language and/or culture.
- Now you can ask yourself, do I want to travel solo? With your answers to the above, do you want to take this trip solo?
What Do I Need to Know to Travel Solo? Here you go…
You can go to our Start Here page and check out our top sections and posts on how to travel alone. Here are a few specific posts you won't want to miss.
- Best Solo Travel Destinations: All Solo Traveler Tested
- How to Travel Alone: Solo Travel Planning
- Solo Travel Mistakes + Travel Money Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
- The Solo Travel Safety Section
- Cheap Solo Travel: Your Guide to Money-Saving Advice