5 reasons to solo travel in your 20’s
Studying abroad has let me travel around the UK and Europe with flights as low as £14 return (that’s $25 Canadian)! This means spontaneous decisions to go travel 2 days before departure, inviting new friends on weekend trips, and prioritizing travel during any study break I could.
Throughout my first term of studying abroad, I booked many trips with friends, but as of 2023, I started travelling solo.
My first solo trip taught me about confidence, courage, and what I’m capable of. My second taught me how to enjoy my own company as well as how to insert myself into conversations with strangers who soon became friends and travel buddies.
As I’m realizing my favourite trips and moments have been alone, I can say there are many benefits of travelling by yourself across the world.
You should solo travel in your 20s because:
1. Every decision is your own
Travelling with others, as fun as it is to share a memory of a place, gives you limitations, such as always considering the other person’s feelings and wants.
Alone, you decide which way to walk, what you want to eat, how late you’re out, etc. You find a new sense of freedom with every left and right.
2. You learn to love your own company
As an extrovert, I get energy from others and love being around people. As a writer, editor, photographer, and dancer, I enjoy being alone in the process of my passions. Passions let us be content alone and probably prefer it in order to get in ‘the zone’.
I learned to love my company without doing my passions; walking alone, deciding alone, and reflecting alone became enjoyable and preferred many times. This can be difficult as it includes facing uncomfortable feelings, memories, or thoughts. Though it can be hard, it’s powerful to be constantly learning about yourself, as it opens your eyes to how you want to better yourself and what you want to work on.
3. You force yourself to create friendships from strangers
When you travel with friends, it’s less likely you’d branch out to make friends as most of your interpersonal energy is on them. If you’re alone, this forces you to talk to new people (sometimes out of desperation for human conversation in your language). This is easy if you stay in a hostel as many travellers also go solo.
My mom’s recommendation: book a group tour within the first couple days of a solo trip to meet people easier and/or quicker.
4. You can call yourself your best friend
Before solo travel, I always thought I have the most enjoyable experiences when I’m with others. I’d always look for people to talk to, eat with, and experience a new place with. Now, I see my study abroad as giving me the opportunity to be enough for myself, by myself — to enjoy my own company as much as I would a best friend’s.
5. You learn about where you want to call home
A city/place has never spoken to me. The first 18 years of my life were spent in Saskatchewan, where I was determined to leave right after high school. I moved to Victoria, British Columbia to study at UVIC, which gave me the opportunity to go on a study abroad year.
I haven’t missed Canada once, but the UK doesn’t feel like somewhere I want to live long-term. During this exchange I’ve travelled to Scotland, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and more as I admire them, they don’t feel like places I’d want to stay.
As I’m over halfway finished my year abroad, I will continue to call my ‘home’ my body. I travel and bring myself to many places but right now, my home feels like myself.
And to be honest, this feels like a blessing to say.