5 Reasons to Try Solo Travel

Last week, I decided to take a bus to London for a few days by myself. My time alone involved lots of Chinese food, discounted West End musical tickets, and ultimately missing my bus back to Brussels. It was an adventure, to say the least, and it was much needed. Not only did this trip remind me of my love for London, but it reminded me of how much I enjoy traveling alone. Stepping off of a plane (or bus, in this case) into a city where you don’t know anyone provides a fresh start, even if only for a few days. You can be whoever you want. You can do whatever you want. And when you are in charge of your own plans, you are bound to gain lots of confidence. Although the list is endless, let’s talk about 5 reasons you should try traveling alone.

1. Your plans are the only plans

Have you ever been with a group of people who wanted to go to one museum while you wanted to go to another? Or who wanted to eat sushi while you wanted Italian food? Compromise is the key to successfully traveling with groups. But when you’re traveling alone, the only person you have to compromise with is yourself! You make all the decisions throughout your travels, allowing you to shape your trip exactly the way you want.

2. You will be more focused on your surroundings

Oftentimes when I am traveling with friends, I am focused on our conversations, rather than the beautiful architecture and landmarks surrounding us. When I am alone, however, I am simply free to marvel at the world around me.

3. You are more likely to meet new people

When I am traveling alone, I find myself more willing to talk to people around me – especially to those who are also solo traveling! This past week in London, I made two new friends in my hostel and had a great conversation with a guy from Australia while seeing Heathers the Musical. It’s easy to interact solely with the people you’re traveling with so being alone gives you that extra push to branch out.

4. You will learn to appreciate your own company

Eating alone in a restaurant or park may sound uncomfortable in the beginning. But I promise that once you overcome the awkwardness, doing activities alone can be peaceful. I can’t promise that you won’t receive some odd looks from people but just brush them off and appreciate your own company.

5. Most importantly, it’s empowering!

As a woman, I have felt especially discouraged in the past when it came to traveling alone. After all, there are certain safety concerns while traveling that women have to worry about that often aren’t issues for men. But I’ve found that with the right research and general awareness of my surroundings, traveling alone is absolutely possible. Additionally, packing up my bags and heading to a foreign country despite doubts from others is empowering and a testament to my own courage. I encourage every woman to take a trip alone at some point in her life. You will see that you are so much more capable than you think. With that being said, this also goes for men too. It can be a daunting task for anyone and tackling your fears is the only way to grow.

Solo travel can seem intimidating or perhaps even lonely. But with the right mindset, it can be an adventure full of growth and reflection. So be brave and buy that plane ticket!

 

Check out some pictures from my most recent trip!

 

 

How to Find Cheap International Flights

One of the biggest obstacles that people face when pursuing their travel dreams is overpriced airline tickets. Sure, it’s possible to find cheap hostels, but flights? Unrealistic. As a student who loves to travel, I started to think I would spend every penny I make on flights. But over the past few years, I’ve learned that if your travel plans are flexible and you know where to look, finding a cheap flight can be a piece of cake. For me, this has changed the travel game. I no longer feel that hopping to the other side of the world is going to leave me bankrupt. In fact, I sometimes spend more on food while traveling than I do on my flight. And that’s a pretty good trade-off, if I do say so myself. Here is a quick run-down of my favorite tools for finding cheap flights.

Flight Comparison: SkyScanner, Google Flights

There is nothing like a website that does price comparison for you. I have found incredible deals using SkyScanner and Google Flights because they analyze all available airlines and help you find the cheapest options. One of my favorite features on SkyScanner is the option to select “Cheapest Month.” If you’ve chosen a destination but are flexible about the date, this option finds the month where flights are cheapest for your destination. This feature has helped me save hundreds on flights around Europe.

Student discounts: Student Universe

If you are a student, I definitely recommend registering on Student Universe. When I first started traveling, I bought my international flights here because of the convenient student discounts. The website gets straight to the point and also includes deals on hotels and tours.

My hero: Scott’s Cheap Flights 

This website is the Holy Grail of international travel. To summarize, a guy named Scott started a company where he scans airline websites for price mistakes – aka when airlines advertise flights as cheaper than they are supposed to be. When he finds a mistake, he emails his subscribers with the details and instructions on how to book the flight. The deals that come into my inbox are incredible. Flights that are normally thousands of dollars can be bought for a couple hundred. And the best part is, you can change your settings so that you only receive flight notifications from the region you live in and for the region to which you want to travel. This website has saved people thousands on plane tickets so I highly recommend subscribing.

Of course, there are hundreds of sites that exist to help you find cheap flights, but in my experience, these have become my favorite. Let me know about your favorites in the comments. Enjoy your budget-friendly travel friends!

 

Instagram – @christineoswald