According to the 2018 holiday habits report by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), people are three times more likely to travel alone than they were in 2011. People are increasingly reporting that they choose to travel alone because it lets them do what they want.
Interestingly, the widespread availability of Wi-Fi and the increased capabilities of smartphones are credited with the rise in solo travel. Many believe that these technological advances make the world less daunting to explore alone.
There are a number of ways in which solo travel can benefit your mental health. One of the biggest benefits is to your self-confidence, which you can develop in a way you wouldn’t be able to at home.
You’ll be put into situations where you have to trust yourself and where you won’t be able to rely on anyone else. Solo travel can also improve your self-confidence by forcing you to interact with new people and overcome any shyness you may normally feel.
Switch off from stress
Solo travel gives you the chance to take a break from your job and everyday life. It’s an opportunity to switch off and disconnect. Focusing on sight-seeing, exploring and getting to know a new place distracts you from the stress of everyday life. It also gives you an opportunity to realise how trivial some of life’s stresses really are.
Enjoy being alone
Travelling solo also benefits your mental health by teaching you to love being alone and to appreciate your own company. This is an important skill that many people lack. Being alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. Learning to enjoy your own company is an incredible skill that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
Embrace the unknown
You’ll also learn to embrace the unknown when travelling solo, rather than fear it. Fear of the unknown is one of the most common anxiety triggers. It compounds many anxiety disorders and can cause instinctive fear-based responses. Travelling alone helps you conquer this fear by forcing you to accept that you’ll be able to get through whatever comes your way.
When you get home from travelling alone, you’ll feel invincible. Travelling solo changes your priorities and you learn to put yourself first. This will help you become less afraid of the world. Once you’ve completed a solo trip, you’ll realise how self-sufficient you can be. This will help improve your confidence, alleviate anxiety and restore your faith in yourself.
Somehow, after returning from solo travel, the world is a little less scary.
Not only does travelling alone benefit your mental health, but it helps you grow as an individual. It teaches you independence and self-reliance. When you travel alone, you can call all the shots. It helps you learn to make decisions based on your own self-interest, something that is often undervalued in our society.
Travelling alone helps you learn what you like and what you don’t like. You don’t have to visit anywhere or participate in anything you don’t want to. Solo travel lets you get to know yourself in a way that you can’t from home.
Another benefit of travelling alone is that it forces you to be a problem solver. When you’re travelling on your own you learn to be resourceful. When something goes wrong, you have no choice but to figure it out on your own.
Whether it’s a last-minute cancellation from your accommodation or maybe even food poisoning (but hopefully not), when you’re on your own you have no choice but to cope. This is what helps you get over the aforementioned fear of the unknown and teaches you to be resourceful.
While travelling alone can be beneficial to your mental health, it’s important to speak to a medical professional if you’re suffering with mental health issues.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, there are loads of resources available to help on the NHS website.