It is true that one of the reasons why I usually travel alone is that my potential travel buddies either don’t have the time, the money, or simply the same interests as me. However, the main reason why I prefer to travel alone is that it gives me freedom to do what whatever I like at my own pace.

For me, the best benefit of traveling alone is the independence it offers. You see how that contradicts the reason why many people are afraid to travel? Some people don’t want to travel by themselves because they’re afraid to be lonely, while for some, being alone gives them the opportunity to enjoy independence from people they are used to.

The main reason why I prefer to travel alone is that it gives me freedom to do what whatever I like on my own pace. But doesn't solo travel ever get lonely?

As a solo traveler you can go anywhere you like without consulting anyone. The entire trip is all about you. Furthermore, you’ll plan your own itinerary. With a travel buddy, you may have to make some adjustments and worse, deal with disagreements.

But far from these advantages, solo travel also opens up opportunities that would hardly be possible while traveling in a group. Normally, when people travel in a group, your experience evolves around the social dynamic – walls are formed which prevent you from truly finding the things you are supposed to find. However, when you travel by yourself, you’re forced to go out of your comfort zone, you get challenged, and you get to know yourself better, especially when you do things you didn’t know you are capable of.

The main reason why I prefer to travel alone is that it gives me freedom to do what whatever I like on my own pace. But doesn't solo travel ever get lonely?

As someone who likes spending her time alone all the time, I easily got used to traveling by myself. But that doesn’t mean that it was always rainbows and butterflies for me. At first, it was scary, overwhelming, and yes lonely.  

The thing about traveling solo, however, is that you’re never really alone!

It is not hard to meet people on the same boat while traveling. 

In Bali, I stopped for a quick meal in a small restaurant and a woman, who also seemed like a traveler, struck up a conversation with the man at the counter as she was waiting for her order to be served. When my table number got called out, I walked to the counter to get my order, and the woman said, “You might as well sit with me; no one wants to eat by herself.” And I instantly made a friend. If I were traveling with someone, that would have probably never happened.

The main reason why I prefer to travel alone is that it gives me freedom to do what whatever I like on my own pace. But doesn't solo travel ever get lonely?

However, exploring a foreign place and instantly making friends isn’t that simple for everyone. I was not very social when I started out traveling, but eventually, I mastered the art of making friends on the road. Here are some tips I’d like to share:

  • If you want to make friends with locals, you have to know that letting go of your hang-ups is the best way to go. After all, chances are, you’ll never see them ever again in your life. Nothing is lost by trying, even if you don’t hit it off immediately. So, don’t be afraid to approach them!
  • Smiling is the best icebreaker. While the feeling of anxiety has hit me several times during my first trip alone, I’ve discovered smiling goes a long way, no matter what language people around you speak! A smile on your face instantly makes you look outgoing and friendly. Your fellow solo travelers are probably happy to meet like-minded people and share experiences, outlooks and interests.
  • Initiate a conversation. You can ask where they are from or compliment the shoes they are wearing! It is easy to come up with a one-liner to break the ice!
  • Another effective way of making friends on the road is asking for help. Ask for directions, ask for suggestions on your itinerary, or ask for the time – any question can help you make friends.
  • Stay at hostels – there’s no better place to make friends! Most solo travelers choose to stay at dorm-type accommodations, not only because it is cheaper but also because it is very easy to meet people and socialize there.

The main reason why I prefer to travel alone is that it gives me freedom to do what whatever I like on my own pace. But doesn't solo travel ever get lonely?

The most commonly asked question I hear from people is “How do you cope with the loneliness when traveling alone?” What I have discovered is one of the best things about traveling alone is the interesting people you meet along the way. Once, in a hippie-esque Japanese village in Pai I went to a full moon party; I met an old English guy who sold all his belongings and left his family to live in a forest in Thailand. In a hotel in Hanoi, I met a Swedish lady in her 50s who survived cancer and realized that she almost missed out on her life, so, she and her husband decided to travel long term. In Koh Tao, I spent Christmas with other ‘lonely’ travelers who were also away from their families during the holidays. So, instead of feeling blue because it wasn’t exactly Christmassy in Thailand, we celebrated together.  

Of course, it depends on you how you want to travel – in a group or by yourself. If you prefer to travel with company, then it is best to have an itinerary ready to avoid any misunderstandings on the road. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy independence and simply want to escape the commotion of your daily life, going for a solo adventure to scenic locations can be tremendously stimulating.

The main reason why I prefer to travel alone is that it gives me freedom to do what whatever I like on my own pace. But doesn't solo travel ever get lonely?

Yes, traveling solo is harder than traveling in the company of your friends or family, but sometimes, especially in times when you want change, or you are in the I-need-to-find-myself phase, then traveling on your own is incredibly beneficial.

Do not let your fear of being lonely be an excuse for you to live in a smaller world than you have to. There are more things you can experience when you travel alone, and getting yourself beaten up by your fears will only make you miss some of the best things in life!


This is a guest post by Alice Ross.

Alice is a travel blogger, world adventurer, and life lover. Traveling the world at slow phase to immerse herself into what this wonderful world has to offer. Join her in her daily adventures at Fortravelista.com or on Twitter and learn tricks and tips for a cheaper, less hassle travel journey.