While travel is usually associated with friends and family, journeying across the globe alone can be a great and refreshing experience. The popular belief is that traveling by yourself is a daunting experience, and less entertaining than a trip with a plus one.
A companion can become an obstacle to overcome during vacation. Solo traveling allows you to have ultimate control of the itinerary. You can finally visit tourist attractions certain friends might turn away from, or take a breather and nap.
You don’t have to rely on anyone to take that trip that you have been pining for. Solo traveling is liberating and completely worth it.
If you are considering traveling alone, you are probably going to be purchasing a single plane ticket right after this.
Here are five cool things to do while traveling alone on your next journey away from home.
- Meet the locals
Even though the point of solo traveling is to be alone, socializing during the trip should not be avoided. On the other hand, meeting new people, especially those who are local to your destination, is encouraged.
While talking with strangers can be intimidating, it is a learning and rewarding encounter that makes solo traveling enjoyable and different.
Meeting locals can be a spontaneous interaction, as you can never know who can become your next friend from a foreign country. You need to expand your social circle beyond your own country. By interacting with locals, you can have the opportunity to learn about a different language, tradition, or culture.
Rather than visiting the typical tourist locations, a local can show you a unique restaurant, garden, cafe, or any other establishment that they enjoy. Whereas I often travel with my favorite protein coffee on me at all times (it’s from a company called Complete Nutrition) because it keeps me alert and I get to skip a meal, I recently found myself visiting a nice coffee shop in Kampala, Uganda, just so I could meet new people.
Making friends in a new environment can be an exciting time that opens a window to see the local life where others will rarely experience.
2. Take a class
A class is not usually on the list for a vacation, especially within a group. Solo traveling is all about you, so you are free to sign up for a class of your choosing.
Some people overlook the enjoyment of attending a class during a trip, but it can be an excellent opportunity to learn something new or pick up a subject that genuinely interests you.
If you are in a country that speaks a different language, try to learn it with a class. Have you always wanted to make a vase? Take a pottery class, and bring home a souvenir you will forever cherish and remember.
If you enjoyed the local cuisine, why not take a couple of cooking classes to hone the skills? After all, you can bring back those recipes back home and cook for yourself and others to promote this excellent vacation spot.
With so many things to learn from the world, you have the chance to develop new skills in a foreign country. Nevertheless, you are still occupying yourself with an activity, which is always great.
3. Attend a show
Other than language and food, different countries can offer another great representation of their culture – music.
While it can be a mariachi band, a romantic tango, or square-dancing, musical events are a great attraction that can further exceed expectations of a solo traveling trip.
Major cities all over the world host festivals that highlight their culture, music, food, and entertainment.
A music festival is not the only event you can attend. Go to watch a play, a traditional dance performance, an opera, or any other exhibition available at your travel destination.
Not only is it great for entertainment, but watching a local show can be a unique opportunity to immerse yourself within a country’s culture and tradition.
4. Become a volunteer
Some may say that working or volunteering isn’t one of the goals of traveling, as relaxation usually is sought out on a trip abroad.
Perhaps you would like to give back to the community you are visiting. A volunteering position can be the perfect way to say your thanks and include productivity on your trip.
There are plenty of local organizations that you may come across during your trip. Find a volunteering position that interests you and helps these organizations.
Volunteering for an organization allows you to expand on socialization on your solo trip, and helps you learn more about the community. If you believe in helping those in need, you can contribute no matter where you are.
All in all, volunteering will make you feel great, as you will be helping a good cause, meeting new people, and doing it all free of charge.
5. Spend time for yourself
Even with all of these suggested activities, as well as the traditional tourist locations, the best advantage of traveling alone is having time for yourself. You make the rules on how you are going to spend the vacation, and it does not have to be super busy.
Rather than visiting as many spots as possible in a short timeframe, you can take a pleasant stroll through a market or beautiful alleyway, or grab a book and read at a cafe.
You have time for yourself that can be allotted to self-reflection and inspiration. A hectic trip with travel buddies or a partner does not allow this.
Activities on your solo trip do not have to be over-the-top. Focus on the small things in life that you don’t usually get a chance to pursue.
People view traveling alone negatively while it may be the one trip that you are missing. A change in the environment is healthy, not to mention some form of an escape from others to gain some perspective is useful.
Make sure you’re hydrated at all times (I own a Kool8 travel bottle), relax and take each day one at a time.
Learn how to be with yourself. A lot of people are afraid of spending time alone. They worry that they will get bored.
Reality is, traveling solo opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for you while making you independent. It will make your life even more enjoyable.