After my semester exchange in France I decided to travel Spain and Portugal alone for one month. Initially, I was supposed to travel with others, but this fell through. However, it turned out to be the best month of my life. This was not my first time traveling alone, but definitely the longest. This month showed me that solo is my preferred method of travel and here’s why it’s the greatest:
You control EVERYTHING
Being by yourself, there is no one to account for or worry about but you. If you want to stay out all night and sleep until noon- no problem! In regards to money, you can lodge and take the transportation that corresponds exactly to your personal budget. You have total freedom to skip out on a certain famous monument that you don’t particularly care about or on the contrary, stare all day at a random statue if you so choose. Personally, I need some alone time every now and then and if you are traveling solo, there are plenty of ways to regulate this. For example, this past trip, after a crazy week in Barcelona, I decided to book a private room in Valencia and just recharge for a day without feeling any guilt or FOMO. In the past I’ve never thought of myself as a control freak, but recently, I’ve developed a very particular style of travel and being by myself allows me to not compromise this.
You meet people easily
If you stay in a hostel by yourself, particularly a small hostel that caters to solo travelers or small groups, you will undoubtedly make fast friends. I met the absolute best people on this past trip that I often spent days and nights with while staying at the same place. Being by yourself also makes you more approachable and is a conversation starter when you’re hanging around in the hostel. People will most often be impressed that you’re traveling alone, especially as a female- trust me.
You can act on impulse
With all these new people you meet, you are bound to bond with some of them. Maybe you wake up one day and look at your bunk mate and decide to take a spontaneous day trip. You may even meet up with them later on in your trip. In Granada, I met another female solo traveler from Korea who I suspect will remain a lifelong friend. We hit it off, and she decided to continue on to Madrid with me! (And lucky for me- she speaks Spanish) If I had been traveling with others, we would not have naturally been drawn together.
You can be whoever you want to be
Okay, this one is a little cheesy- but it’s true! You will meet new people every day and no one will be around to shape others’ impressions of yourself but YOU. You can even make up an elaborate back story about yourself (disclaimer: I’ve never done this) if you so choose to and no one will even bat an eye.