Being single can, at times, be associated with loneliness. But not so anymore. Though there are benefits of travelling together, often in a group, an increasing number of travellers are today keen on setting out solo.
According to the Association of British Travel Agents’ (ABTA) latest annual Holiday Habits survey, more than one in six holidaymakers reported that they took a holiday on their own in the previous 12 months, an increase from one in nine in 2017.
An increasing number of Indian women are opting to travel on their own according to statistics too. Economic Times in a 2018 report cited online travel and leisure platform Cleartrip saying that of the total number of bookings by women, about 75 per cent was for solo travel.
So what is the upside of solo travel?
That you are on your own means you have to do everything by yourself. Being on your own makes you not only self-reliant but also strong in more ways than you can imagine.
Plus, you get more freedom to express yourself and be you.You might even find yourself interacting with locals more often. And this act of reaching out to total strangers can lead to feelings of liberation. When you travel with others, you tend to engage with them in some way, which diverts your mind from the journey and the destination itself.
A lot of ‘Me’ time
Another benefit of solo travel is the free time to read and reflect. The very act of doing nothing can put you in touch with your lost self that had been buried in a routine existence.
Exposure to cultures
Engineer and solo traveller Siddharth Shah, 25, has been to23 countries so far. Shah says, “Solo travelling makes you feel a sense of connection with different cultures. Soon respecting the differences comes naturally to you and you start learning things from them.”
Make new friends
“Solo travelling gives you endless opportunities to make friends for life. Once you travel alone, you are never the same person again, spontaneity becomes a part of your life. You avoid small talk with people as you have had deep talks about life, fears and dreams with other solo travellers,” adds Shah.
Invest in experience
Solo travelling, according to Shah, also makes you a complete person. You learn to meet and live by minimum needs, avoiding excessive expenditure on material things, investing instead on experiences. Avid traveller Vasundara too advocates it, her website proudly displays this message: “Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.”
To make the experience of visiting another place more personal, some companies such as Airbnb offer the option of home stays. With over five million listings worldwide, 81,000 cities with listings and presence in more than 191 countries, Airbnb aims “to create a world where people can belong through healthy travel that is local, authentic, diverse, inclusive and sustainable”.
The options are many, are you inspired to take the leap of faith?
With inputs by Ashutosh Vashist