Whether you're on a short-term/long-term study exchange program or an internship abroad, being in another country as a foreign student must be super exciting! Maybe for the first time in your young life, you're truly living independent from your parents and family! You're spending a lot of time with friends, making adult decisions and, maybe for the first time, truly taking care of yourself and others in a different country from where you were raised.
You might ask yourself then, why should I travel solo? Alone and on my own? Wouldn't it be more fun to spend time hanging with my same-age peers from different countries? Won't I get lost?
And I'm not saying "you should not travel with your friends", but you should hear out the many, many reasons why traveling solo can be a great experience. Believe me, one of the best ways to travel is to do so by yourself!
FREE AT LAST!
One of the first things you will notice when traveling by yourself for the first time is exactly that - you're on your own. There's no friend, family, relative or person to check with or to cater to. You can do whatever you want to do and you don't have to make concessions for anyone else. There are only a few moments in life that we can truly say that - and traveling solo allows you to truly live that. Enjoy the freedom to make your own decisions on what to see, where to eat or what to do!
Which leads me to the reasons of why you should do so:
TAKE YOUR TIME
You can take your time. Of course, as avid travelers, we all know that time is the most important resource you have!
Well, here's the thing about traveling on your own! The time you have traveling to one place is all yours - you can choose to slow it down or speed it up. Ultimately, it all falls down to you on how to spend your time in that place! No one's rushing you or asking you to slow down - no one else's agenda, but your own! How freeing!
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
The second most important resource when traveling? Money, money, money.
When traveling on your own budget-wise, you decide the terms! You can splurge more on luxurious activities or you can cheapen out and not be shamed by it! You alone can spend your money how you see fit, without the peer pressure of the group wanting to spend more or spend less.
Let's face it - not everyone has the same economic resources, so it can be challenging to convince people for a compromise or to adopt a pricier or more budgeted lifestyle even for the short term. Especially if they cannot afford it or if they are not comfortable to live without certain comforts.
Think of a time when you were faced with this sort of situation - it can be incredibly stressing and uncomfortable. At least when traveling alone, you don't have to worry or concern yourself over that social challenge. You get to decide everything for yourself!
ALL ON YOUR OWN
There's not many moments when we can say we are alone. And it can be a scary feeling. Traveling solo is an opportunity to get over that fear and to truly get to know yourself, outside the comfort and buzz of a friend group.
Traveling on your own can help you learn more about yourself - what are your opinions and preferences when traveling? Do you like looking at the local art galleries or are you more into sampling the local bakeries and restaurants? Do you fancy visiting crowded attractions or strolling through a quiet street? What things do you like bringing when traveling? What are your priorities when traveling?
All these and more you can learn about yourself when you are only with yourself, with no one else to influence your likes or dislikes.
You might also travel differently than when you are with a group. You might usually avoid checking out certain low-key shops or attractions in order to appease what the majority of the group might want. But if you're traveling on your own, you have the liberty to take a different route and you might just as well end up discovering more gems that way!
As you travel on your own, you can slowly build the confidence to explore more and do things for yourself. In the near future, you might even make solo traveling a hobby you do more frequently!
And since you're on your own, you might observe yourself being more aware of your surroundings and being more present in the city that you're in! Talk about a different way to travel!
Word of advice: Before you actually take that solo trip, make sure to tell someone you trust your travel plan and details for safety! For a better way of keeping people updated of your travels and for an easier stress-free way to travel plan on your own, check out MiTravel!
Hope these reasons and more convince you to look into traveling solo during your study abroad program! It will sure to be an experience of a lifetime!
Can it be nerve-wracking to plan it all yourself and to travel solo? Absolutely. But can it be worth it? Yes.
Even if you get lost along the way, it surely will be a memory that you yourself can tell the next time you hang out with your friend group! Enjoy!
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