UNITED STATES—If you have never traveled alone, you may have many concerns about trying solo travel. After all, how can you stay safe? Who will take good pictures of you? Where can you dine solo? These concerns can get in the way of embarking on a solo adventure. Guess what? Once you have enjoyed your first trip alone, these thoughts will dissipate. And we will show you why in this guide. But before you start making that itinerary, ensure you have a valid passport. If your passport has expired you can use passport renewal services to get one in days!

So, why try solo travel?

Embracing Solo Travel

Everyone has fears the first time they travel alone, which range from safety to fun to boredom. And it’s normal – anxiety often surrounds new experiences, including trying a different brand of water! But instead of showing you why you might have solo travel concerns, we walk you through the benefits that await you!

1.   You Meet Other People

One main reason people avoid traveling alone is the lack of company. When you are accustomed to your friends and family, the thought of not having them around can be devastating. But here is the good thing. This world is full of people like you, people who share your interests and would like to get to know you. So, if you are up for it, solo travel can be an exciting time to make new friends and look at life from different perspectives. After all, you will be more inclined to approach other people with your friends and family out of the picture. Plus, you will need other people to get around during your stay.

If you need some pointers on how to do this, start with these:

  • Have an open mind: Approaching social situations while guarded can keep you from experiencing other people. While being cautious is okay, do not be so guarded that you lock people out.
  • Fight the anxiety: Social interactions might be challenging if you have not been out of your cocoon. But embrace that challenge by smiling at and greeting strangers anyway.
  • Only share what’s necessary: As much as you may want to strike up conversations, do not divulge information that can endanger your safety. Stick to general topics like hobbies and other light stuff.

Also, trust your gut. Your senses can tell when someone is a good match. And if you feel at ease around them, why not see where things go?

2.   You Control Everything

Being on your own is freeing. Instead of leaning on others to decide what works best for them and compromising, you get to take the lead. And let’s be honest. Sometimes, compromise can take the fun out of a trip. But with solo travel, you don’t need to do things you don’t want. Take a look at how much control you can exercise when traveling solo:

  • You decide how to get to your destination: Will it be by train, plane or bus? You choose!
  • You determine the budget: You don’t need to spend more money than you want. Or if you want luxury, you don’t need to tone down your spending to accommodate others. Your bank determines your spending.
  • You go where you want: Planning itineraries is challenging when other opinions matter. After all, if you go with what one person likes, the others feel left out. As a solo traveler, you decide where to go and when.
  • You get to be selfish: When you are part of a community, you often have to put others’ needs before yours. And while this creates harmony, it can also leave you feeling short-changed. You don’t need to do that when traveling solo. It’s your way all day long.

Everything is on you! And while this might seem challenging, it is a gift that keeps on giving – you can sleep through breakfasts, spend your mornings on the beach, and snorkel through afternoons. Nobody will question why you did not show up to an activity. You are on your time and dime.

3.   You Build Your Confidence

Relying on other people is great. And while it should be a supplement to our lives, many people often use it as a crutch. When you go a long time without being on your own, you start forgetting how to do things on your own or for yourself. Traveling solo challenges these learned behaviors by pushing you out of your comfort zone in the following ways:

  • You learn how to eat out alone: Many people have yet to eat out without company and have no idea how to sit through a restaurant meal alone. When you have no choice but to dine alone, you work through the anxiety of being on display.
  • You take drives or catch the bus alone: When using public transport, you rub shoulders with strangers. It can help you work through social anxiety.
  • You learn how to ask for help: Consider situations where you need your family or friends. An example includes taking pictures at a tourist attraction. In such a case, you would ask a stranger to take a picture of you. And for many people, this is a big step.

A solo trip might be the answer if you have been struggling with your confidence or need a boost.

4.   You Get to Know Yourself

How well do you understand yourself? Here’s the interesting thing. Many people are subject to groupthink which limits their individuality. They love carrot cake because their friends do. They drink red wine because that is the family drink. But who are you, and what do you enjoy when others are not in the picture? Solo travel can help you answer these questions. You will question your bases once you start making decisions on the road. Are you doing things out of desire or learned patterns?

Solo travel might seem daunting, but it is a gratifying experience!