by Laura May
For a long time, hearing about a woman traveling solo generally made people think that it was down to a lack of alternative. Perhaps that the woman traveling solo had no one to travel with her, whether it was a partner, friends, or family. But times have changed. Solo travel is gaining in popularity.
In fact, according to the Wellness Tourism Association solo travel is a wellness tourism trend— as is solo travel to meet up with the like-minded. And with good reason. Ask anybody who has been traveling solo, and they’ll tell you that it’s one of the most freeing and empowering things you’ll do in your whole life.
Here are just a few great reasons why all woman should travel solo at least once:
Related: Five Tips for Safe and Sensible Travel
1. The freedom of living without compromise
One of the best things about traveling solo? The sheer, unadulterated freedom of living without any compromise or responsibility.
It is literally just you on the road, and you — and only you — decide where you go and what you do. Yes, you’ll meet people and make friends along the way, and if you get on well, you might end up going on day trips with them, or going for dinner, or even moving on to the next place with them.
But whatever decision you make is based purely on what you want to do. You don’t have to double-check with a travel companion to see if he or she is happy to travel with your new friends for the week, or whether your friend/partner would rather it was just the two of you. You can make your own decision as to whether you will take a cooking class, go cycling or head inland to trek that beautiful mountainous national park.
Having a travel buddy can be great, but it comes with certain responsibilities. Regardless of who it is and what your relationship is, you will always have to make compromises on your trip, regardless of how like-minded you are. There’ll always be something that one of you is desperate to do and that the other is more reluctant to partake in, and compromise is inevitable.
Traveling solo simply doesn’t involve compromise. Your decisions are completely in your hands.
2. Solo travel encourages you to be sociable and make friends
Traveling solo encourages you to be sociable so much more than if you were traveling with a partner or friend. If you’ve got a traveling buddy, it’s easy to lean on them for social support and interaction. It can make you lazy — chatting to new people in hotels, during wellness retreats or on tours can be challenging sometimes, so why bother, right?
WRONG. One of the best things about traveling — as well as the incredible things you’ll see and cultures you’ll immerse yourself in — are the people you meet along the way. Chances are you’ll make some amazing new friends and connections. Life on the road and the adventures you encounter can form strong bonds with people from all walks of life, all united by one thing: a love of traveling.
3. Learning to be alone is good for you
Traveling solo is fun and adventurous — but it’s not always easy. Ask anyone who’s been backpacking without a buddy and they’ll tell you that it can get tough wandering about on your own, arriving at a destination without knowing anyone, and making decisions without the fallback of a friend.
However, learning how to be alone is something that is both important and healthy. And it’s something that many people go through life without being able to do, always relying on others for happiness and reassurance.
Traveling solo teaches you to become content (and appreciate) your own company and value the clarity and peace that “me time” brings. It’s also incredibly empowering, because you learn how to be truly independent — trusting your judgment and becoming comfortable with making your own decisions.
4. Your confidence will grow exponentially
Traveling solo is one of the more empowering and confidence-boosting things you can do.
When it’s just you out there, not knowing a single other person, it can be daunting. But the more you do — and do on your own — the more you’ll realize that you’re a strong and independent person that can handle anything life throws at you.
When things go wrong – and there is always a chance that something may not go the way you’ve planned – you’ll have to use your common sense, trust your own judgment, and learn how to be resourceful to get yourself out of tricky situations.
So although it may feel odd and anxiety-inducing at times, it’s something that will make you much stronger and confident in the long run. Do it and you’ll realize that anything is possible.
5. Self-growth and self-discovery
Yes, it’s very Eat, Pray, Love… but it’s actually true. You learn a lot about yourself when you’re solo traveling. How you deal with challenges, what you really what to get out of a trip, what you enjoy and don’t enjoy, what you look for in friends, and what is really important to you — what you really value.
Unless you’re particularly self-aware, it’s not easy to discover new things about yourself and how you see the world if the world you’re in never changes. If you spend every day in the same old routine — getting up when the alarm goes off, going to your 9-5, coming home, cooking dinner, watching TV, going to sleep, repeating all over again ad infinitum — you’re probably not going to have an epiphany of self-discovery.
Getting out of your comfort zone is what really shakes things up and makes you assess your priorities, lifestyle, and what you value in life, particularly when you’re thrust into new — and sometimes challenging situations.
There are so many great reasons why all women should travel solo at least once. So what are you waiting for? For starters, her are 20 suggestions on where to go if Wellness is the prime focus of your solo travels.
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Laura May is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine. We write about beauty, fashion, lifestyle, relationships, travel and trends.