Person walking alone in the fog in Belgium
Alone in the Fog, Belgium © jucanils

Why Everyone Should Travel Solo … Sometimes

Didn't Sartre say something about hell being other people?

Sure, it can be fun to travel with your partner or a group of friends. I personally prefer having my husband there to share the experience and enjoyment of traveling together.

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But I firmly believe that everybody should travel solo — sometimes. There’s a lot you can get out of a solo trip that just doesn’t happen when you’re not on your own. Let me give you some reasons why traveling solo can be so worthwhile.

Fit In and Immerse Yourself

If your goal is to really interact with the culture you’re visiting, then solo trips will give you a much greater chance of doing this. A single person slips into the background; you often won’t look like a tourist, and you’ll be able to stand and observe the locals without drawing much attention.

Shopkeepers and bus drivers naturally offer more to the solo traveler. I’ve even had free restaurant meals simply because I turned up alone, squeezed into a table in the corner and chatted with a friendly waiter.

Solo traveler walking streets of Venice, Italy
Solo in Venice © AngelsWings

Meet Other Travelers More Easily

This almost goes without saying, but it’s also very true. Just imagine that you’re in a cafe or a pub, or staying at a hostel, and you see a couple in one corner and a girl sitting by herself in the other. Who are you going to talk to? Solo travelers simply invite company by being there alone.

And once you start meeting other travelers, you get a lot of options that you probably wouldn’t have had with your traveling companion by your side. A bunch of other single travelers decide to go sightseeing together and invite you, for example, and another group are going on a canoe trip. You make your choice and have fun with new friends. Doesn’t that sound great?

Do Exactly What You Want, When You Want

And that segues neatly into my next reason: if you’re traveling solo, you are the boss and decision maker. You can get up every morning — or afternoon, if you’re so inclined — and plan your day according to your own whims and fancies. Want to take in a museum or two? Go for it. Feel more like a shopping spree at the local markets? No problem.

Sometimes I forget how many compromises you make when traveling with a friend or group. I probably wouldn’t have visited that military museum in Ho Chi Minh City if I’d been alone; I definitely would have skipped the aeronautical display in Seattle. When I travel alone, I adore the prospect of choosing exactly the cafe or restaurant I’m going to splurge in for a great lunch, where I can sit with my book and enjoy my favorite food, uninterrupted.

Avoiding the conflict that often comes with traveling with others is another bonus of the solo trip. It’s inevitable that spending virtually all your time with another person, even your beloved partner, will produce a few sparks of conflict, especially in the sometimes stressful negotiations of budget travel. But most people won’t argue with themselves.

Alone on the Beach, Lazio, Italy
Alone on the Beach, Lazio, Italy © Geomangio

Reigniting Your “I Can Do Anything” Spirit

Something about making all my own choices in a foreign place seemed to be giving me that “I can do anything” attitude that I sometimes forget in daily life.

I’ve had a few real moments of clarity while traveling alone that never seem to occur when I’m traveling with someone else. Standing in an art gallery in Hamburg, I vividly remember staring at an exhibition about designer apartments in New York. “I could go and live in a place like that,” I remember thinking to myself, somewhat insanely. “In fact, I can go anywhere I want.” Something about making all my own choices in a foreign place seemed to be giving me that “I can do anything” attitude that I sometimes forget in daily life.

Traveling alone and independently also does wonders for your power of self-reliance and even your self-esteem. Taking responsibility for all the tasks involved in traveling, without having someone else to talk over the possibilities with or to make the decisions for you, is a really empowering thing. It’s especially powerful if you’re navigating through a foreign country, perhaps using some knowledge of a foreign language, and managing to find your way from place to place all alone.

But Don’t Travel Alone All the Time

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend being a 100% solo traveler. There are some experiences you might really want to share with someone special, be it a partner or a friend; and being able to reminisce about a trip is one of the long-lasting benefits. There are also some destinations where, as a woman, I’d feel more comfortable traveling with someone else. And finally, if you’re always on the road alone you do run the risk of developing some slightly selfish, hermit-like tendencies.

So where possible, mix up your travel mode. Travel with friends, family, partners, groups of strangers, whatever takes your fancy: but always remember to savor the trips you have the privilege of taking alone.

  1. Great article Amanda. I’ve done a couple of longer-term trips on my own, and while it was lonely at times, I also forged really close connections with other travelers. Looking back, those friendships are what made the trips truly special.

    I included your article in a post over at BootBlog: Should I travel solo?

  2. I really like this article. I was always afraid of traveling alone. One one of my last trips, I traveled with my partner and met up with people in the same city, but then parted ways and spent a significant amount of time alone and it was an incredibly liberating experience.

    I think really just to have those amazing “awakening” moments that traveling allows us, it’s necessary to go alone sometimes and confront some of your own boundaries.

    I got lonely. I got upset and faced some difficulties traveling alone (even though it was only a few days alone) – but I also had some amazing moments – one that is now in my top 5 travel moments ever. I visited a garden that I’ve always wanted to see and being there alone was a gift that I wouldn’t trade for anything – even to share it with people I love. It was all mine!


  3. I traveled alone – for three years across Africa and Asia. I started off for a few months, and then, the rhythm kicked in and I just kept going…

    I know for certain that my trip would have been vastly different had I been with someone. There are many things I wouldn’t have done and many people I wouldn’t have met, for all the reasons you mention.

    Instead, I look at that trip as the high point of my life, not only because I saw a large chunk of the world, but because I changed as a person. I became more self-sufficient, independent, adaptable, accepting…

    It was scary at times and at others it was lonely, but I’d do it again in a second, solo.

  4. I really enjoyed this post. It’s always nice to have travel options, although I suspect it’s a little more difficult to take solo vacations, Amanda, if your husband likes to travel with you? Maybe not. Maybe he also enjoys his solo jaunts.

    For some of us, the only choice is to travel alone or don’t travel, simply because of the way we like to travel or the things we want to do.

    For instance, right now I am trying to choose a vacation in Central America so I can take Spanish lessons and immerse myself in a Spanish speaking culture. I don’t have a single friend or acquaintance who would like to spend a vacation at a language school!

    But there’s no way the lack of a companion is going to keep me home. I’ve ventured out alone enough times to know that it is an amazing experience most of the time.

    For about a year, I’ve been writing about my travel experiences, and those of others, at

  5. @Donna, thanks for the kind words and link.

    @Bonnie, traveling with a partner but then splitting up sometimes is an excellent idea too – a good compromise for the benefits of traveling solo and traveling in company. Loved your garden experience!

    @Scribetrotter, wow, 3 years alone! I can just imagine how much that must change you. Not everyone could manage that – good on you!

    @boldlygosolo, I still get a good mix of travel modes because I can get away from other work commitments easier than my husband can (but yes he’d like to come with me every time!). Good luck for your Central America adventure and keep up the solo travel!

  6. Great article. A couple of years ago I did 7 months across Australia alone, and had I been with someone else I never would have been able arrive in a place, planning on staying a few days, think to myself, “Hey, I like it here,” and go out and get a job the next day, staying for a couple of months.

    I also love traveling with friends, but between coordinating time off and negotiating budgets, it is often difficult on longer trips. I’m about to do the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and am lucky enough to be doing the first 600km alone and then meeting up with my mother for the last few days. A great compromise!

  7. Love this article. I feel I make better, deeper connections with the locals when I’m alone. It’s like you said though, people alone are much more inviting. It seems like many more doors open for you if you’re solo.

    More than anything though, it is definitely a growing experience. Everyone should do it at least once, you’ll definitely feel like a better, stronger you.

  8. I really like to travel alone, mainly for two reasons: first, it’s easier to blend with the locals, which is always what I aim for; secondly, I’m a photographer, thus it’s easier to take photos when you’re alone, because you don’t feel constrained and you can do whatever you want whenever you want.

    But then it’s good to travel with a friend every now and then, it makes for great experiences that you’ll love to look back at in the future. :)

  9. All excellent points. One thing that’s great about traveling solo is it allows you to break out of any shell you may have. If you’re a shy, self-conscious person, solo travel is a great way to get over it. I also just finished up writing an email newsletter for my blog followers about solo travel about 15 minutes before reading this, small (internet) world.

  10. Totally agree that everyone should travel solo sometimes. I have been traveling solo since January, and what that means is that I’ve actually rarely traveled alone. Especially in central and south America you always meet other travelers to tag along with. And like you say, it’s especially easy to meet others when you are traveling by yourself.

    Right now I am traveling with my sister is SE Asia, and yeah it is great traveling with someone you know occasionally.

    I think I can handle traveling with friends for maximum of two months. I wouldn’t imagine traveling a year with someone. Much easier by yourself :)

  11. So true – you are much more likely to make friends with the locals if you are traveling alone because you are less intimidating to approach when you are by yourself.

  12. i travelled 23 countries in 2,5 years alone when i was 21yrs old it was the best thing i did…

  13. My first trip to abroad was alone. Now I’m a pretty experienced traveler and i can definitely say that traveling alone sounds hard but it’s definitely the best thing you can do for your own good. Both to travel around the world and travel inside your own.

  14. Definitely. Traveling alone can be great, but it’s also difficult. I think the worst part about it is eating alone. After my current 6 months of solo travel, I’m rather tired of the lifestyle. And I still have plenty of time to go (at least I get to spend a week traveling with my parents in a few months).

  15. When I travel with my husband, I am still the boss and decision maker. :) But I do enjoy traveling alone too. There have also been times when we have traveled together but he’s gone golfing or stayed behind for a nap and I’ve explored on my own. Sometimes these are nice little breaks to have when traveling as a couple.

  16. Great article and well said. I have just started this year to travel alone and I have to say it was an amazing experience. I am sharing as well my cultural adventures at if you want to have a look. Thank you for sharing and keep us posted

  17. Traveling for me is like meditation, Nice article love to read your article. I haven’t travel other then my country Nepal. Meeting new people while traveling, knowing them, enjoyment other factor. Love to read other travel related article.

  18. That’s a great piece of information. I am our operator still I haven’t traveled solo. Now I am thinking to travel solo once in my lifetime. Thank you

  19. Hello Amanda Kendle, Enjoyed reading the article above, it really explains everything in detail,the article is very interesting and effective. Thank you and good luck for the upcoming articles.

    Your article gives me the thrill to go for solo travel. I want to experience this.

  20. Well said Amanda, while reading your blog I remember one of my friend from India. She traveled to Vietnam, Istanbul & Georgia alone. When we approached her to go in a group, she always denied. Here I got the reason why she loves to travel solo. I made many trips with my friends but never got such kind of experiences as you mentioned in your blog. Thanks for sharing such an inspirational article with us, one day I will also try to travel alone.

  21. I really enjoyed reading the post. Travelling solo gives me an immense feeling of freedom. I can do whatever I want. Once again, thanks for the complete piece of information.

  22. Enjoyed reading the article above, really explains everything in detail,the article is very interesting and effective. Thank you and good luck for the upcoming articles

  23. Never done a solo travel ever, but this article helped me a lot. With intricate details this article has it certainly put my mind at ease. looking forward to my own solo travel now. Thank you for the article.

  24. Yes, absolutely! Sometimes we need to travel solo to do exactly what we want and to prove I can do anything. I really appreciate your words. I personally enjoyed it. For me, Travelling alone is knowing about ourselves too.

  25. Yes, If you are traveling alone then you are free to do whatever you want to do, over all it is a fantastic post.

  26. Enjoyed reading this blog. Solo trip.. yeah its always nice to enjoy your own company, travelling with yourself. Those who wish to explore India, places like Taj Mahal, Jaipur, Golden temple are very nice to explore.

  27. Fantastic experience after reading your outstanding blog. My dream is to solo travel the best and famous place in the world.
    And I am really glad I have found your blog. Thanks dear for sharing this awesome and informative article with us.
    Keep it up

  28. I am glad, I found this amazing post. I really like traveling solo. My husband joins me sometimes when he is not at work. Otherwise most of the time. It’s me.

  29. Hi Budddy! I couldn’t agree more with you. Traveling with friends helps you discover places. But traveling solo helps you discover yourself. I realized that you can be your best company by traveling solo.

  30. Oh, my friend, your narration was really awesome. If some more explanation about the particular destination for the first-time traveler this would be awesome.

  31. Lovely article! These are the exact reasons why I travel solo and I wanted to see if others feel the same way. I feel by travelling solo it has transformed my life. I feel more confident and determined in everything I do (not just travelling) and also love the idea that I can do anything. Thanks for sharing!

  32. I travel 25 countries. This article deliver me a complete and valuable information its very amazing keep it up….

  33. I have wanted to try solo try but have been so afraid to. This year was the year I said I was going to do it but with COVID can’t. I am inspired by your article and hope to do it next year. In the meantime I am preparing myself by spending lots of quality time by myself and going to restaurants, movies, walks on the beach all by myself. Learning to be in solitude and enjoy my own company.

  34. Hi Amanda;

    Thank you for sharing this amazing post. I reach out to your blog recently and it was amazing.

    Actually, I start solo travel when I had 16 years old, and this is the best thing ever I do in my life. solo travel makes me stronger, and fear nothing and I think this is an important thing in our lives.

  35. Yes. solo trips are amazing. You are the decision-maker you can go anywhere you want and the best part you can read your favorite books without interruption. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful article.

  36. Hey Amanda,

    Great post! Your reasons of travelling solo totally resonates with me. I specially like the ease of meeting other travelers and the freedom part. I also agree that being on the road alone all the time could risk developing selfish tendencies. Thanks for sharing!

  37. I traveled alone – for three years across Europe and Asia. I started off for a few months, and then, the rhythm kicked in and I just kept going.
    I know for certain that my trip would have been vastly different had I been with someone. There are many things I wouldn’t have done and many people I wouldn’t have met, for all the reasons you mention.

  38. I know there are people out there who say they aren’t interested in solo travel because they’d rather go with someone they know. There’s nothing wrong with preferring group travel – I like traveling with friends too. However, I do find myself cringing any time I hear someone cancels a trip because a friend couldn’t go. The world is just too big to have to wait around for someone to go with you every time you want to go on an adventure. That coupled with knowing how amazing solo travel can be, would just be a shame! Solo travel is the ultimate freedom as you can go when you want, where you want and at a budget, you can afford. You and only you get to decide.

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