Why you should embrace solo travel

While travelling alone may seem daunting at first, it offers you a unique opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. In a society that often celebrates companionship and group travel, the prospect of setting off on a solo adventure can be met with scepticism. However, as seasoned travellers will attest, there’s an undeniable allure to venturing out into the world on your own terms.

Different solo travel styles to consider

Adventure travel

For thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies, solo adventure travel offers unparalleled excitement. If you crave adventure, consider embarking on a solo, multi-day trek along the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory. Here, you can hike through breathtaking desert landscapes and discover ancient Aboriginal rock art. From rugged gorges and dramatic escarpments to tranquil waterholes and expansive desert plains, every step along the trail offers unparalleled views that will leave you breathless.

Cultural exploration

If you have a penchant for immersing yourself in the local culture and traditions, then this style of travel is perfect for you. From visiting museums and historical sites to savouring authentic cuisines, the opportunities here are endless. For culture aficionados, consider a tour of Melbourne’s dynamic street art scene, where lanes are adorned with vibrant murals and galleries that showcase Indigenous Australian art.

Health and wellness retreats

If you need relaxation and rejuvenation, this travel style seamlessly blends practices such as yoga and meditation with luxurious spa retreats, allowing you to take a much-needed self-care break. Notably featured on Tourism Australia’s compilation of premier health and wellness retreats, Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa in Victoria offers salt therapy pools and springs infused with minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and silica, providing a rejuvenating escape for both the body and the mind.

For those new to solo travel, it is recommended to start with smaller, more manageable trips closer to home. As you gain confidence, you can branch out to more adventurous trips or embark on international tours.

Tips for solo travel

One of the most liberating aspects of solo travel in later years is the newfound sense of freedom it brings. Gone are the constraints of coordinating schedules or compromising on destinations. Instead, every decision is yours to make, allowing for spontaneity and serendipitous discoveries along the way.

Janice Waugh, founder of the travel website Solo Traveler, says: “Many people worry that travelling alone will be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of being focused inward on your travel partner, you can focus outward and get involved in your surroundings.”

Know what you want

Consider your preferences and what you want from a trip before finalising travel plans. Think about the experiences that bring you joy and fulfilment. Are you more inclined towards solitude or socialising? Do you thrive on pushing boundaries or prefer familiar environments? These factors will help you determine what you want from solo travel, and to select the ideal destination.

Be open to friendships

Far from being a solitary endeavour, solo travel often leads to meaningful connections with both locals and fellow adventurers. From striking up conversations with like-minded souls in bustling markets to sharing stories with fellow travellers at cosy cafes, the solo journey is enriched by the bonds formed along the way. These encounters not only offer companionship but also provide insights into different perspectives and cultures, enriching the travel experience immeasurably.

Do not micromanage your time

While it is important to plan your transport and accommodation well in advance, remember not to create a rigid schedule that stresses you out. Set broad goals and make a list of all the things you’d like to experience, leaving room in your schedule for unplanned adventures.

“For some people solo travel is a much-needed break from their busy lives. Time alone might be what they need. Arrive in the early to mid-afternoon and take a day to settle in. Maybe sit on a park bench and people-watch, so you can take in the customs of the locals and how they do things,” says Ms Waugh. 

Learn the local language

If you are going to a country where people speak a different language, dedicate time to mastering basic phrases before your departure. Learning simple greetings will help you engage in basic conversations with the locals. This can, at times, prove to be invaluable when you are navigating various scenarios, such as ordering meals or seeking assistance or directions.

Keep your belongings safe

An effective way to keep your valuable jewellery and documents safe is by using a secure, slash-resistant bag or pouch with lockable zippers. Use the safe in your hotel for added protection. Save scanned copies of your passport and other important documentation on your phone and, if possible, back them up on your Google Drive or iCloud. When you are in crowded areas, stay alert and keep a close eye on your bags to prevent theft.

Take the time to plan

Embarking on a solo adventure requires careful planning and consideration of individual needs and preferences. From choosing accommodation that prioritises comfort and accessibility to ensuring access to medical care if needed, taking proactive steps to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey is paramount.

Have you ever travelled solo? Is it something you’d like to do? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

Also read: Five great holidays for solo female travellers

Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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