5 Reasons You Should Take a Solo Trip While Abroad
Traveling with your friends while abroad leads to tons of laughter and great memories, but traveling alone can lead to so much more.
During my semester abroad in Bologna, Italy I was fortunate enough to travel to 11 countries and 21+ cities. I ventured to two of those cities all by myself and spent one of my favorite weekends of the semester in Florence and Siena. The trip was only about a 45-minute train ride, so I didn’t go far, but I was determined to do it alone.
I had been trying to convince someone to travel to Siena with me all semester but I couldn’t find any takers (they missed out!), and most of my friends had already been to Florence by the time this trip rolled around. So, I planned my trip and booked my hostel. I set off on what was to be a trip full of memories that will last a lifetime.
I think travelling abroad as a college student teaches you so much. Travelling alone teaches you so much more. Here’s why I would urge anyone to plan the trip they want to take, even if no one else wants to go:
Travelling in a party of one is just about as easy as it gets. I wouldn’t suggest taking a solo trip your first weekend, but after you’ve crossed some borders with your friends, go for it! When it comes to booking the transportation and hotel (let’s be real, hostel) there is no coordination needed and no price problems. When you’re abroad, everyone can afford different things, but when you travel by yourself there is no need to struggle. You know what you can or can’t spend.
Meet New People
When travelling alone, it is exciting to make new friends. Going to a restaurant alone can lead to relaxing and peaceful meal. However, going to a bar or exploring new attractions alone isn’t always as fun for everyone. It is important to talk to the people around you on your tour or at a restaurant. I’m not saying you need to become best friends with the people you talk to, but who knows, you might meet someone who grew up around the corner from you. Keeping safety in mind, new friends, especially locals, can show or tell you about parts of the city you might not have seen before. Friends are great outlets of information, especially in a city you have never been to before.
Get To Know Yourself
After a semester of travelling in groups, an “alone trip” was the best decision I made. While travelling to new places with your best friends is obviously wonderful, being alone in a foreign city for the first time was more than I could have asked for. I planned my trip at the end of the semester as a time for me to reflect on all that I had done and seen. I knew that I had grown over the past four months, and this trip was a time for me to prove it.
Do What You Want, Not What the Group Wants
Most importantly, going on a solo trip allows you to plan activities that you want to do. There is no missing out on something because it’s not what the group wants.
When I travelled to Florence, Italy by myself I planned two activities that had been on my bucket list all semester. I took a day trip with a tour company to Siena, Italy where I spent the afternoon exploring and shopping at my leisure. My group of about eight met up again to board the bus to head to Azienda Agricola Panzanello, a vineyard and winery in the Chianti region for a tour, dinner and wine tasting. Driving through the countryside was almost as amazing as the Chianti! Having dinner with these strangers made the day that much better.
My ultimate bucket list item of the semester was completed the following morning: a cooking class. The class of about 10 at the Food and Wine Academy of Florence began with a central market tour where we bought some of the ingredients for what we would later prepare. We made ricotta and parmesan ravioli, Bolognese pappardelle, bruschetta and, of course, tiramisu.
It was such a treat being able to plan this trip how I wanted. I was able to do what I wanted, when I wanted and how I wanted.
Travelling alone is a great way to gain confidence. Yes, being in a foreign country alone might sound scary at first, and your parents might not be very excited about it, but it can teach you so much. Travelling alone provides a sense of accomplishment from all aspects of the trip from the planning stages to the end of the vacation. You did it, and you did it all by yourself. What else can you do?