In OPINION, TRAVEL

By now, you’re familiar with the benefits of travel: it’s a way to de-stress, it’s a way to gain perspective, and it’s a way to escape. And while we often travel with family, friends, or significant others, there are some times when you might want to consider travelling solo. Other people’s budgets, schedules, and travel styles can often get in the way of planning your next trip, so what’s stopping you from taking one on your own? It might seem scary at first, but you’ll quickly realise that there are a lot of benefits.

You’ll be free

Travel will free you of a lot of the responsibilities and obligations of a job and daily life, and solo travel will free you of the guilt of being selfish and the stress that can come with group decision-making. You’re free to do whatever you want, whenever you want, and however you want, without compromise. Other people’s budgets, schedules, and interests can often impact the decisions you make when travelling but when you travel solo, you’re your own boss.

You’ll make friends

Travelling solo doesn’t have to mean travelling alone – unless you want it to. You’ll likely run into other tourists, travellers, and locals on your journey. Hostels and guided tours are a great – and fast – way to meet new people. By virtue of the fact that you and your companions have made the decision to travel, you’ll find that you already have a lot in common. We connect and bond with people when we travel in a way that just isn’t possible or even necessary in our “normal” day-to-day, and often times, these people become friends for life.

You’ll learn new skills

Travel isn’t just about sightseeing and experiencing a new culture: it’s also about survival. You learn how to cope with things like time differences, language barriers, new foods and customs, and the simple fact of navigating a new place. You’ll always surprise yourself with what you’re able to do.

You’ll get better at making conversation

Knowing how to talk to strangers is a skill, and one that you will develop as you travel abroad. There are many reasons to interact with strangers when you travel. Everyone that you meet is new and often experiencing the same new things at the same time as you, so there is always something to talk about and share. You’ll find that most locals also have a lot of pride in where they live, so don’t be afraid to turn to them for directions and advice – of course, exercise some degree of caution to not be taken advantage of! There’s a difference between a ‘tourist’ and a ‘traveller’ and you’ll want to appear engaged and curious rather than lost and helpless.

You’ll be more interesting

Ibn Battuta once wrote that “travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” The things that you experience when you travel stay with your forever – and the more that you do it, the better your perspective not just of the world, but of yourself. Travel changes how you see the world, and gives you something that you’ll want to share. Seeing more of the world will make you whole, and you won’t be able to shut up about for the rest of your life. With any luck, you’ll have an audience who wants to listen to you 😉

Solo travel might not be for everyone, but it’s definitely something to try at least once in your life. And remember, travelling solo doesn’t need to mean travelling alone – it just means starting your journey without people that you know.

I recommend a guided tour as a way to ease yourself into solo travel (not to mention a new country). Did you know that the majority of people on most Contiki trips are solo travellers? I recently completed a tour of Mediterranean Europe without knowing anyone on the tour, and emerged with 5 beautiful new best friends whom I still keep in touch with regularly today!

Book your next Contiki and use the code PPCGUNNAROLLA to get a discount on trips of 7 days or longer. Some restrictions may apply.

United colours of #contiki

A photo posted by Andrew Gunadie (@gunnarolla) on

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