Solo travel is one of the most popular forms of travel there is, with more and more people realising that it is a lot simpler to plan a trip for yourself with places and activities you want to do, see and eat rather than trying to fulfil everyone’s needs, wants and availabilities.
However, there are some things I wish I knew before my first solo trip so let’s jump straight in.
You don’t need a backpack to be a solo traveller
There are many definitions of solo travel just as there are many variations of family, business, honeymoon and even retirement travels.
The reason I wanted to touch on this particular point before getting into it is that everyone has a different story; everyone travels differently.
Even though I aim for this post to be as helpful to you as I wish it could have been for my past self, it is inevitable that there will be things you agree with and things you will disagree with and that is okay (I still love you).
Before my first solo trip, I purchased my very first travel backpack and what will probably be my last.
Although it was actually recommended for the schoolies tour I was going on during my solo adventure, there still seems to be a ‘rule’ that a backpack is a must-have and without it are you really a true solo traveller? Well, that’s how I see it.
The truth is I hated the backpack and spent 99% of the time making the most of the wheels and thanking myself for choosing the 3 in 1 bag (backpack, duffel and wheels).
Mid way through my trip I met up with my parents to celebrate Christmas and new year and ended up immediately changing over to my favourite American Tourister Curio.
What I am really trying to say is that you will know what works for you even if that goes against what you or others think is a ‘must-have’.
You are going to learn a lot about friendship
Even before I left home I had already made friends that I would be meeting on my journey but what I didn’t know is how much these people would change my life.
You become closer and more comfortable with your fellow travellers than you have with most of the people you have grown up with.
You learn that when it comes to friendship, the best people aren’t always the ones you have known the longest, I’m going to get really cliche here and add “it’s about quality not quantity”.
You learn that just because you are getting along and making friends with people that are different to your friends back home, does not mean that your friends back home are no longer your friends or mean any less to you and that you mean any less to them.
You will learn a lot about yourself
I think it is safe to say that really you learn a lot in general when you travel solo but to me the most important thing are the things you learn about yourself. For example, you learn how much pizza you can eat before you explode.
When you travel solo you meet a lot of different people who bring out parts of you that you may never have been aware of before but it’s not only when you meet new people it is when you are all alone too.
You are stronger, smarter, more confident, braver and more independent than you ever thought was possible for yourself.
You are going to get lonely
You will meet a lot of people and make a lot of friends however as mentioned above you will be alone too.
I found that being alone can be a good thing sometimes. It allows you to take a break, breathe, catch up with stuff and most importantly take the time to contact your loved ones but what I also found is that being alone can be really hard, even as an only child who knows all about spending time to themselves.
I know a lot of people say that spending time with yourself is very important and I agree, it is very important especially when it comes to learning to love yourself for who you are but for someone who knows that they spend too much time with their own thoughts and is one to over analyse majority of situations it starts to become a little overwhelming.
In no way am I trying to turn overthinkers away from solo travel because that would be quite ridiculous and just look at me, I overthink a lot too but I survived my first solo trip!
In saying that though…..
You may not like your first solo trip or solo travel at all!
and you need to know that it is okay.
You can not expect everyone to like all of the same things and let’s be real anyway, if that were the case, life would be nowhere near as interesting.
It may not be all factors of solo travel that you aren’t 100% on. It could just be a the flying alone part or having to carry your own bag everywhere or maybe just be that it is still so new to you that once again it is overwhelming and you wish you could be back traveling with your family again. For me, I alway love travelling with my parents.
Even if you don’t like solo travel in no way does that mean you will never travel again and if you’re like me in no way does it mean that you will never travel solo again.
All in all, your first solo trip is going to be different for everyone and whether you end up loving it or not, it is going to be something you will never forget so grab whatever form of luggage you want, go make some friends, learn some things about yourself and get exploring!