Why Solo Travel Is Awesome!

Lifesaver Liberty Water Filter Bottle Review Michael Huxley

Solo travel is absolutely the best way to see the world. It pushes you out of your comfort zone, empowers you in ways you never imagined, makes you a stronger, better person and gives you experiences you never thought possible. It can be intimidating for many first time backpackers, but it really doesn’t have to be. Having the courage to take that first step will show you just how awesome solo travel can be.

Travelling solo is an incredible experience, and is one that every traveller and backpacker should experience at least once in their lifetime. I don’t always travel solo nowadays but I do still occasionally head off on my own to various corners of the world, and the majority of my long term and short term trips over the last twenty years or so have been solo ones, so believe me when I tell you that solo travel is without a doubt one of the best ways to travel!

Of course I’ve heard all the criticism and disapproving comments over the years with friends, family and even general acquaintances alike all uniting in their unified belief that I have gone insane. I mean why in hell would I go alone? Isn’t it dangerous? Aren’t I scared? Won’t I be lonely? What is wrong with me?

The thing is, I absolutely love it! Don’t get me wrong, travelling with a partner or a friend can be a great experience too, but you shouldn’t dismiss the idea of travel just because you have no one to go with. They haven’t all gone smoothly of course, I’ve had downs as well as ups, but all in all each and every solo adventure I have had has been awesome.

Travel only with thy equals or betters, if there are none, travel alone.

The Dhammapada.

Too many people listen to the naysayers right from the start and get it into their heads that solo travel is unsafe, boring or lonely, that they should stay at home because the world is too dangerous and no one loves them enough to go with them. This is ridiculous. Do you really want to cancel your trip of a lifetime because your BFF will miss her boyfriend too much (who she’ll probably break up with in a month anyway!) Or all your mates say they are skint? Of course you don’t!

Seriously though, none of the negative connotations of solo travel are true, not really. It isn’t perfect by any means, of course there will be times when you are lonely and things can still go wrong, but in general terms it is in no way more dangerous to travel alone. It isn’t scary, or frightening, and it certainly isn’t lonely or boring. If your dream is to travel the world, then don’t let the fact that you have no one to go with you stop you from doing so!

Because if you do, if you listen to the naysayers and don’t take the chance to travel alone then you will miss out on all the positive aspects of solo travel, and once you have landed in your destination and acclimatised to your new surroundings, you may even find that you prefer travelling this way!

So what exactly are the benefits to solo travel?

You Can Do What You Want When You Want.

Michael Huxley Himalaya Road Trip Mountains

Yes this is selfish, yes this is self indulgent, but so what? Who cares? You are on your own, that is the point! Your entire trip can be focused around you, what you want to do, what you like. No one  else has any say or input in it, and that brings with it an amazing sense of freedom.

Do you want to change your plans half way through your trip? Then what’s stopping you?

Have you found a tropical island that you like and want to stay on it for a lot longer than you planned? Well do it!

Want to eat a third lunch because there is just so much choice at the food court? Do it! No one is there to judge you!

Fancy doing that week long PADI course or staying for a few days in a retreat to do some Yoga and try not to giggle at the one at the back who keeps farting? Then do that too!

The only person you have to answer to is you, you don’t have to make any sacrifices. The world really is your oyster!

When travelling solo you really can just do whatever takes your fancy. Every single day can be filled with things that interest you. You don’t have to compromise your plans or miss out on what you want to do because your travel buddy is whining they don’t want to do that or they want to do something else instead. You have no one to please but yourself, and yes that may seem self-centred but who gives a damn? It’s also really liberating!

You Will Never Be Lonely.

How to meet people and make friends when travelling solo

This is one of the big worries many people have when they contemplate solo travel, and that is understandable to an extent but it is also almost completely unfounded. Thousands of people travel solo every single day, and odds are you will bump into a few of them on your own travels!

Remember, there is a huge difference between being alone and being lonely.

It is really common to meet new friends on the road, either on an organised trek or by sheer chance. Other travellers and backpackers always end up congregating in transit stations, long distance coaches or overnight trains, hostels or backpacker bars, and all it takes to meet them is a little bit of confidence and that amazing little word ‘hello’.

Some backpackers end up spending days or even longer together as they click and decide to travel in the same direction before eventually parting ways again, other times a chance encounter may lead to nothing more than an interesting conversation on a long coach journey, sometimes that encounter may spark something more passionate in your hotel or a good night out together. The point is you will never be lonely, and the best part is you can have the best of both worlds! You can enjoy the benefits of travelling solo, and have company when and if you want it. It’s your choice!

You Will Become Much More Self Confident And Self Reliant.

Solo travel Sri Lanka

By being forced out of your comfort zone and having to deal with unexpected events and unpredictable experiences, you will learn a lot about yourself and how tough and resilient you really are.

When travelling solo you will come to know yourself intimately whether you want to or not. You won’t need to ask yourself what you would do in a tight spot, or what type of person you are when things happen and you have to deal with them, you will know because you will have been there and done it.

You will know exactly what type of person you are because when you are on your gap year or travelling the world things will inevitably go wrong, from tiny annoyances such as transport delays or your mosquito net developing a tear in the jungle, to major hiccups like your bus breaking down in the middle of a desert or even worse.

Travelling solo on a gap year

You learn very quickly that it is how you deal with these incidents is what matters, and how you overcome these challenges is what helps build and shape your character, and solo travel pushes you out of that comfort zone so that even if you aren’t the type of person who can deal with those situations alone when you started, you will be by the end!

You really don’t know what you are capable of doing until you do it, and solo travel builds your self confidence and self reliance to the point that you know intrinsically that you can handle anything life throws at you.

Solo travel will give you the experience, the self understanding and the self confidence to know that even when you get back home, the experience and knowledge you have gained when backpacking can be applied to any situation. In short, backpacking solo will make you a better, more rounded and more confident person.

Yes, It Is Absolutely Safe To Travel Alone!

The world in general is a pretty safe place! Travelling solo through it is generally safe!  I get really frustrated at the assumption that solo travel is too dangerous and people just shouldn’t do it. So frustrated in fact that I really don’t know enough pejoratives to express it, because solo travel is not dangerous! At all!

There is so much misinformation and unnecessary fear about travelling the world, but the fact of the matter is the highest crime rates are in the places that most backpackers actually come from! The USA and UK in particular. So if you want to go on statistics alone you are actually technically safer travelling the world!

It is remiss to say that there aren’t risks out there, of course there are, just as there are risks to your safety and security at home there are risks when you are travelling too, but it is extremely important to put them in perspective. Statistically the chances of becoming the victim of any crime when travelling are relatively low, and with the right knowledge, preparation and precautions you can take steps to reduce your individual risk even more.

And Yes That Goes For Women Travellers Too.

Despite what the media, society, and often other women too would have you believe, the world isn’t any more dangerous to travel solo through just because you are a woman. Like everything it is all about the individual risk management and precautions you take as a woman that will reduce your own personal risk.

You Meet More Locals And See More Of The Culture.

What you should consider before volunteering on your gap year

Okay, this isn’t wholly true. Backpackers who are travelling with friends or partners can just as easily do this, but quite frankly when you are travelling with someone you can sometimes be quite insular without even realising it. You stick to your friends or partners company, you stay in your own bubble.

It’s not really a bad thing per se, it is just human nature to stick more to your companions company.

But travelling solo removes that safety net of your friends or partner, you no longer have that comfort zone of travelling within a group, so you can often make much more of an effort to interact with the locals and immerse yourself in the culture of the place you are visiting. The benefits of which should be self explanatory really.

Solo Gap Year Adventure

So if travelling is your dream, if you are feeling homesick for somewhere you have never been, if you want to go backpacking but you have no one to go with, then go alone! Travel solo! You will not regret it, and you may even find you prefer it!

Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons. If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.

10 Life Lessons Learned From Travelling Solo.

How To Make Friends And Meet People When Travelling Solo.

Is Solo Travel Ever Truly Solo?

It Really Is A Lonely Planet.

Solo Travel.

Solo Female Backpacker Safety Tips.

Solo Travel Makes You A Superhero!

The Downsides To Solo Travel No One Will Tell You About.

Top Tips For Travelling Solo.

Top Tips For The Solo Traveller.

Michael Huxley is a published author, professional adventurer and founder of the travel website, Bemused Backpacker. He has spent the last twenty years travelling to over 100 countries on almost every continent, slowly building Bemused Backpacker into a successful business after leaving a former career in emergency nursing and travel medicine, and continues to travel the world on numerous adventures every year.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Solo Travel
48 comments on “Why Solo Travel Is Awesome!
  1. Paul says:

    Really enjoyable and well written article. I am really enjoying this website, keep up the good work and I’ll look forward to your new posts!

  2. katiej28 says:

    Wow! This is fantastic! This is exactly what I have been planning since my friend dropped out of our travel plans. I’m a little nervous about it though and I’m not sure of how to plan it all. I mean what about safety? Is it safe for a woman to travel alone?

    • Thanks KatieJ. I’m glad you found the article useful. Don’t worry, that happens much more often than you think, and there are plenty of people travelling solo for that exact reason. And yes it is absolutely safe for a woman to travel alone, basic common sense precautions will usually be more than enough. See my tips on basic travel safety in the travel tips section for more information. Enjoy your travels!

  3. Karla says:

    What a great & insightful post!

    You sure have explained it very clearly why solo traveling will benefit you in the present and in the long run!

    Solo travel may be intimidating and many people let fear stop them from going out and explore this beautiful world.

    One must be fully prepared of course but then again you have to trust & let go!

    The purpose of traveling is to learn more about the destination, its history, culture, people and so much more!

    You also discover yourself even more, it pushes some buttons but you learn valuable lessons 😉 It makes you appreciate where you come from!

    Safety comes first of course but you will come back home stronger & wiser.

    Keep up the great work & safe travels 😉


  4. alicesgapyearadventures says:

    I have been really worried about this exact thing, especially with all my friends and mum and dad saying it will be too dangerous all the time! This is really helping to ease my fears a little! I’m going to show my parents this page to make them see travelling on my own won’t be that bad!

  5. Khai says:

    What you said is the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. Haha.

    My first solo travel was in 2011 to Bangkok, overland from Malaysia. I was nervous, I kept quiet and I was on the losing side. Time passed and I gained confidence.

    Fast forward to 2013, I went on a solo travel to Bangkok again, but this time proceeded to Vientiane, overland. And the result? Just as what you said above! No doubt! 😉

  6. Krokro says:

    I can’t tell you how much everything you wrote is how I feel about solo backpacking! I have always been bored of friends telling they would love to travel but…always this BUT! Life doesn’t need to be hard: you want to visit somewhere? Then don’t think twice, and just go! It is not lonely, it’s on these trips that I met amazing locals always happy to tell me more about their country and the interesting place to see (like this so lovely woman in Geneva who had the same interests as me about books and advised me on a must see museum!) I will solo travel again in two weeks time and can’t wait for it.

  7. Shane Dallas says:

    Great article – well done for putting in writing what solo travellers know from experience! I often tell people that being alone is not the same as being lonely. The secret is to be comfortable with yourself as a person. I reckon introverts are less likely to be feel lonely during solo travel as they are used to occupying themselves with their own company. So if you are shy, you should feel more confident knowing you will be fine on the road!

    Re the danger aspect of solo travel, any destination is unsafe if you don’t use common sense. I’ve travelled solo to Afghanistan, Iraq and Somaliland and there were no safety issues at all because I researched each place before I arrived and used the same rules for keeping safe as I would back in my home country. Only take advice on the safety or otherwise of a destination from travellers who have visited or people who live there – ignore the rest.

    • Thank you Shane I completely agree! I am as comfortable in my own company as I am in the company of others, and I think I have become so over long periods of time travelling solo. I have traveled through those same regions and many more and I agree with you on the safety issues too, people don’t need to worry as much as they do. Thanks for the comment!

    • Hani Raiha says:

      Wow! You are great and brave enough to visit those countries which many considered high risk area. How do you passed the border and reach safely there? How is the people reaction if they see you? Who knows i maybe go there on one fine day.

      • I hardly consider myself great or brave 🙂 The truth is many times the reputation or fear of a place as a ‘dangerous’ country is completely overblown. I have no problems getting over borders that allow UK nationals through and locals are generally okay. 🙂

  8. Yummy Planet says:

    Reading your article, I think I would really like solo travel too. The fact is, my partner and I have found the perfect balance to travel together without having to compromise. For example usually spend one or even sometimes a few days apart during a trip to do what we want. And we both love to travel and always agree on the choice of the destination. But, we’ll maybe get to experience it one day if one of us has an opportunity to travel and the other can’t join.

    • Travelling with a partner is great too, it really isn’t an either or thing, people find the way that suits them best and that’s all good! People tend to have a lot of misconceptions about solo travel though, if you ever do get to try it one day embrace and enjoy it. You can always go away with your partner again on another trip. Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

  9. Manouk says:

    Well written article Mike! And I agree ;)! However, for short trips I prefer to travel with friends just because you’re less flexible and can’t really afford roaming around. But longer trip I always did alone and just joined people wherever I met them and then traveled together :)!

    • I don’t know, I’ve enjoyed plenty of short trips and weekend breaks alone too, so I don’t think time is a barrier. But there is certainly nothing wrong with travelling with people too, both ways are fantastic ways to travel I just hope people won’t be put off by travelling solo when they get the opportunity. 🙂 Thanks for the comment.

  10. Craig says:

    The best thing about going alone is you do exactly what you want to do, exactly when you want to do it. No waiting around in places you aren’t interested in visiting, no missing a bus because your friend was late, etc.

  11. lruthnum says:

    Fantastic post 🙂 so glad I stumbled across this blog! I’m heading off travelling by myself next year, leaving all my mates, family and boyfriend behind – noone could go when I wanted to and I refused to put my trip on hold – so glad I stuck with it as you have completely eased any niggles of worry at the back of my mind 🙂 bring it on!

  12. Agreed with this completely. I was really unsure about taking my first solo trip and was worried about feeling lonely, but I am so glad I just went ahead and did it anyway. It was the best experience ever, and it was all my own. I came home feeling more confident, independent, and more “connected with myself” if that makes sense.

  13. I don’t backpack. I do travel with my job. Almost always on my own. I spent 3 months in Brazil and Chile this spring just gone. I took a huge risk, as I was going through a long term depressive state. However, I believed that the solution needed to be extreme, as I had already tried medicines, counselling and friends. Those things didn’t work, so although I was in a dark place and feeling lonely, I decided to step outside of my comfort zone. I chose to stop using hotels, and went with airbnb. I forced myself in every destination to go out. I even signed up to some meet up groups. The result- I stayed with some amazing families, and found lifelong friendships. I met wonderful Brazilians, Portuguese, Brits, Chileans, Colombians and Dominicans. I had some bad experiences, but with these you grow. I became stronger, I partially rediscovered my confidence, I felt better. And whilst I may still feel lonely. (43 and single), I am dealing with it better. Things aren’t perfect, but I am in a much better place. As I write, I am on a 3 month, 10 country tour of Asia. About to go to HK, and the difference is amazing to who I was, to what I was 6 months ago. Already on this trip I have met Indians, Maldivians, Jordanians, Emirates, Malaysians, Chinese…..incredible.

    So go for it people. Getting out of your comfort zone, will help you become comfortable with the world, with you, and with everybody around you. Travel alone is so incredibly life changing, and literally mind boggling.

    Just a few days ago I sat in a dingy restaurant in the non tourist area of Melacca, ate the best Indian food ever with my hands, and smiled at the irony of me “Mr (formerly) depressed” doing what I was doing, and my friends thousands of miles away watching their TVs hour after hour.

    They watch movies. But travellers with or without a backpack, well, we ARE IN A MOVIE.

  14. Mick B says:

    I’m so relieved to have read this article, Michael. It is really well written and after inspiring a lot of confidence in me, as I am about to take off to South America by myself. I am a very shy person, so the thought of interacting with people scares me at times, but I know deep down that life only begins when we step out of our comfort zones. The last few weeks, i’ve experienced a lot of inner turmoil, wondering if I made a wrong decision, in deciding to travel by myself. I know full well that it will be the best thing I ever do, but the doubtful part of my mind had me worried. Thanks again, for putting my mind at ease!

    Mick 🙂

    • Anytime Mick, I’m happy it helped! I can promise you that you haven’t made the wrong decision, everyone has those feelings before they leave but once you are there they really do just go away! Enjoy South America, you’ll have an absolute blast!

  15. mickbren says:

    I’m so relieved to have read this article, Michael. It is really well written and after inspiring a lot of confidence in me, as I am about to take off to South America by myself. I am a very shy person, so the thought of interacting with people scares me at times, but I know deep down that life only begins when we step out of our comfort zones. The last few weeks, i’ve experienced a lot of inner turmoil, wondering if I made a wrong decision, in deciding to travel by myself. I know full well that it will be the best thing I ever do, but the doubtful part of my mind had me worried. Thanks again, for putting my mind at ease!

    Mick 🙂

    • Hani Raiha says:

      Great article indeed. I was just back from my first solo travel from Istanbul and Dubai a week ago. This time really for leisure, as i have experience travel for working before. It’s really different experienced though. Can’t really describe how i feel before, during and after the travel. But one thing for sure is it definitely boost up my confidence. Because i’m quite shy and sometimes i feel scared meeting people. But now i really want to do it again and was thinking to find next spot.

  16. Enes says:

    Definitely Agree with you. If you traveling alone, you can go anywhere you want. I had my first solo experience in Singapore and it was amazing. you meet a lot of people without hesitation. But if you have girlfriend or some friend with you. You should always consider their opinion too. Thanks for detailed article.

  17. Fozia Ahmed says:

    I have always imagined travelling solo but I have always talked myself out of it for some reason. I’m thinking now maybe I should have done it.

  18. sona says:

    I would love to have the courage to travel solo

  19. Pradeep says:

    Amazing Article really happy to say it was an interesting post.

  20. Jennifer Rocha says:

    This may sound stupid but how do you get so many pictures of you if you’re traveling solo?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I'm Michael! I'm a former nurse turned published author and world travelling professional adventurer! I have spent over twenty years travelling over 100 countries and I want to inspire you to do the same! Want to know more about me? Just click here!

Get notified about all the latest travel tips, advice and inspiration as well as amazing competitions and exclusive discounts! Don't worry we will never send you spam or unwanted mail.

Join 18,228 other subscribers
Copyright notice.

© Bemused Backpacker and the gecko logo is owned and copyrighted by Michael Huxley 2023. Unless stated, all blog and website content is owned and copyrighted by Michael Huxley 2023.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Michael Huxley is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael Huxley and Bemused Backpacker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Protected by Copyscape DMCA Copyright Detector

%d bloggers like this: