Travelling solo throughout the past five years has been rewarding, liberating, and much easier to do than I let myself believe…For many years.
Before travelling I spent a lot of my free time following inspirational solo travel blogs like Nomadic Matt, The Blonde Abroad and Dan Flying Solo. I also spent a lot of time wishing I could be brave enough to travel solo myself.
That was 23 (and counting) countries ago, since biting the bullet and heading out on my first solo trip to Austria, the adventure just keeps growing.
I realized that travelling solo is not that scary, not impossible and doesn’t need to begin with a far-flung trip to the other side of the world.
In this article I’ll share 5 reasons travelling solo might be easier than you let yourself believe.
Why Should I Travel Solo?
If there is any part of you that has the urge to go out there and travel solo, you have probably already imagined yourself heading out to many different places.
I know I did, I even had a map in my room with all the places I would like to visit and experience first-hand.
But I was too anxious to even head out to the cinema on my own, how was I ever going to visit a new place on my own?
I was always waiting for the time to be ‘right’, I was just starting my career and I didn’t have the time or money to be travelling alone.
I was worried about meeting new people, or being alone in foreign countries and the danger that would bring.
Feeling the traditions, cultures and vibrance of new places, relying on yourself and finding new strengths are just some experiences solo travel can bring. Travelling alone can really enhance your personal growth and change your life.
The First Solo Trip
The first solo trip is one you will never forget and can be a gateway to a lot more adventure in your life.
Booking that first one can seem like a real leap, and take you way out of your comfort zone, but the nerves quickly turn to unparalleled excitement.
Whether you are planning to head out for 2 weeks or 2 months, the first one is sure to give you lifelong memories and multiple reasons to head out on your own again.
I grew up in Europe and always dreamed of experiencing the Alpine mountain range. My first trip was to Austria, for three weeks. It turned into an incredible adventure, which lasted six weeks and ended in Switzerland.
I will never forget that first trip, it showed me that I can travel to new countries, I can make new friends, I can rely on myself and most importantly that I can travel to places I once only dreamed about.
If you don’t have the time to take a trip to a new country there will be plenty of hidden gems to discover in your own country. Take a short trip and take the first steps to opening up a whole new world.
5 Reasons Travelling Solo is Easier Than You Think
Travelling solo is easier now than ever before. You will find solo travellers everywhere, the internet has almost limitless resources or advice, and the world has never been as connected.
1. Flights are Affordable and go Everywhere
Budget airlines exist almost everywhere, international airlines are always adding new destinations and there are an abundance of special offers out there.
You may also discover somewhere completely new…
I had never heard of East-Timor when I booked a flight there, and I discovered an almost untouched slice of paradise thanks to a great deal.
2. Communication is Easy
Keeping in touch with family and friends is really easy. Wi-Fi exists almost everywhere. I actually speak to my Mom more regularly now that I am in a different continent than when we lived closer to each other.
If you are planning on heading out to a foreign country, learning a few phrases helps. You may be surprised at how many people speak English.
The connections that can be made can leave a lasting impact on your self-confidence, ability to approach new people and new situations.
3. You are Often not Alone
Travelling alone can be extremely social, solo travelers are everywhere and always looking to meet new people.
Common areas are great for bringing people together, you could end up trying your hand at circus skills, enjoying random dance parties or even end up singing along to some karaoke.
You may even find group yoga sessions, led by other hostel guests, groups of people to explore your new area with and a travel buddy for a few days/weeks.
If you are not too keen on sharing your sleeping space with other people to start with, booking onto tours is another great way to meet people, explore the area and have a great time.
4. Many Places are Safe
There are so many horror stories out there, it is far too easy to get wrapped up in them and convince yourself the world is a scary place.
Staying safe is important, and can be just as true where you currently live as it is in a foreign country. I have found through my travels that locals are mostly excited to meet new people, help and share their cultures.
I used to believe that Eastern Europe was unsafe for me to travel through and avoided it for many years. Once I had decided to let go of the fear I discovered some of the most beautiful landscapes, enriching experiences and incredible people.
Travelling through Asia was one of the most fascinating, eye-opening and safest experiences I could have asked for. Through every country I visited I became captivated by the overwhelming sense of open friendliness which greeted me.
There have definitely been moments where I have been caught up in ‘sticky’ situations, but those have been mostly my own doing and could happen anywhere.
It showed me how safe many places around the world can be.
5. You can Earn While Travelling
For those that want to travel for a few months or even years, you don’t have to save up an entire fortune.
There are jobs across many different disciplines which has opened up long-term travel for more and more people.
Teaching English is one of the most popular ways people sustain their travelling. English teachers are needed all over the world, which allows you to travel, earn money and meet new people.
TEFL qualifications are very accessible and well worth getting hold of, if you are looking for a way to travel long term. Contracts are usually between 8-12 months, and depending on where you teach the pay can be very lucrative (South Korea can pay $2,000 – $5,000 per month)
Summer camps are an awesome way to travel to a new country, have great fun and earn a little money, I spent two years on and off, working with a company called Village Camps in Austria and Switzerland. They also have locations across more countries in Europe and the U.S.
Working online is one of the most potentially lucrative and sustainable ways to live a life of travel.
Becoming a digital nomad can really open up a career path which can give you the freedom of working anywhere in the world, with the only requirement being internet access.
If you have skills in online design, web services, programming, writing or anything tech based, platforms like UpWork can help you find work.
There is a lot of competition, spend a bit of time building up a profile and you can find a constant stream of work. If you don’t have a background in tech there are virtual assistant and research based jobs which you can also get hold of.
Working online has given me the freedom to travel anywhere and funds my desire to do so.
What is a Digital Nomad?
A digital nomad is essentially anybody that works remotely from their laptop and moves from place to place.
We have all heard the incredible stories of people quitting their 9-5 jobs and heading out to exotic countries all around the world. It almost seems like a fantasy… and out of reach.
I never set out to become a digital nomad, when I started travelling solo I was all about the adventure. As I developed a relentless desire to see more of the world and have the freedom to do so, I started to learn about different ways to make money online.
The challenge is believing enough in yourself to get started, I would spend much of my time outside of my 9-5 in London reading about online work, setting up profiles and reaching out to potential clients.
My very first client paid me $4 for every article I would write, not enough to travel or sustain myself, but it was the beginning of a path which would take me halfway across the world.
Living a nomadic life is one filled with highs and lows, incredible joy and incredible growth. To sustain a nomadic is uncertain and can push you financially, mentally and physically to levels you did not know you had.
To learn more about living a nomadic life check out my post ‘How to Live a Nomadic Life: 11 Essential Skills You Need’
What are You Waiting for?
Travelling solo is one of the most life-changing experiences you can have. Whether it’s a short break or months at a time, the first step is to let go of the fears, the excuses and get out there.
I started with a small trip, and in unlocked a passion within that has changed the course of my life. I have been to places I didn’t know existed, been on adventures surpassing even my wildest imagination and meet countless inspirational and interesting people.
Take the first solo trip and discover how you feel, if the travel bug bites hard and you want to take it further, you will now know that you can travel alone and it’s not that scary at all.
If you are looking to travel the world for a prolonged period of time, start planning now. Research how you can make money online or abroad, and take the first steps.
The world is more accessible today than it has ever been, and the internet opens up an abundance of ways to earn money, learn and reach out for jobs/clients.
If you are still waiting to travel solo, leave me a comment below and tell me what is holding you back. If you have any awesome solo travel experiences or anecdotes to share, I would love to hear them!