While college is a great experience in and of itself, let’s be honest: there are some things that you just can’t learn from stuffy professors and expensive textbooks. However, these skills you can’t learn from college alone are still really important when moving on to life after graduation, whether that includes grad school, finding a job, and/or traveling even more! While every college student should travel in general, solo traveling offers a countless number of special opportunities to grow and develop. Check out these 11 awesome reasons why every college student should solo travel.
1. Discover the world isn’t such a scary place
Contrary to what the mass media might lead you to believe, as long as you have a little bit of common sense, the world isn’t nearly as scary as it’s made out to be. One of the top reasons why every student should solo travel is that while traveling, you will undoubtedly experience the overwhelming generosity and kindness from others across the globe. This will allow you to go forward into the world with a fresher, more confident and positive perspective.
2. Gain a fierce sense of independence
It’s both an exhilarating and terrifying feeling when left to your own devices to navigate foreign countries, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it and realize just how self-sufficient you can be. Being independent has a countless number of benefits, both in your personal life as well as for your professional ambitions. If you can communicate with someone who barely speaks English to get a bed at a hostel, surely you can gather the confidence to negotiate that interview or speak up louder in class back home.
3. Get to know yourself better
Another one of the top reasons why every student should solo travel is that college is a key time for self-discovery, and travel enhances this experience in an incredibly meaningful way. More often than not, solo travel can make you discover entirely new possibilities that you would have never anticipated, including new fields of study, different professions, and even new places to live someday. Not only this, but the ups and downs of solo travel also help you become much more in touch with your emotions, leading to a very healthy sense of emotional awareness. Becoming more familiar with yourself, your wants, and your needs is so valuable before graduating college so that you know you will be pursuing your true passions!
First time solo traveling? Check out these 11 things every solo traveler should know.
4. Learn how to express yourself better
Speaking with people in your second language, broken English, or jumbled up words and phrases of their language is hands-down the best way to get better at communicating. Not only do you get a better sense of how to communicate important ideas, but you also get to learn how special language and communication can be. Hint: you don’t always need words to express yourself – charades can be fun!
5. Discover what you need (and what you don’t)
Because it’s nearly impossible to solo travel enjoyably with a 60-pound backpack or bulky suitcase, solo traveling can cause many to become travel minimalists. Carrying on your back only what you really need and leaving the rest behind is such an incredibly liberating feeling. It will help you focus on what’s really important when you return to college life and beyond, and that’s why it’s one of the top reasons why every student should solo travel.
6. Learn to set aside differences
Going with the idea of focusing on what’s really important, traveling (and solo traveling in particular) will shift your perspective in fantastic ways. You will meet so many amazing people who come from extremely different backgrounds, opening you up to new ideas that will have you seeing the world in a whole different way. Despite any disagreements, you will learn that the common bond of travel and discovery overpowers so many other, more trivial differences that may exist. Working and coexisting with those who are different from you is a must if you’re going to get the most of your college experience, and will surely help you in your field of choice one day. What’s not to like about everyone getting along?
7. Improve your organizational skills
Another one of the top reasons why every student should solo travel is that it will help you get organized, a key success factor in college. Having to navigate the world by yourself will undoubtedly cause you to not only become more independent and self-reliant but also develop essential organization skills under pressure. Imagine describing to your future boss that you can catch a bus, then a plane, then two trains from one destination to the next across half a continent in one day – talk about impressive!
8. Find inner peace and practice mindfulness
Having time to yourself and the freedom to do whatever you want while solo traveling allows you to become more in touch with yourself and practice mindfulness. While solo traveling, you learn so much about yourself and the world around you, make so many wonderful friends, and see so many beautiful sights that it can definitely be a spiritual experience! I have never felt so at peace with myself and the world around me than when I have been solo traveling.
9. Discover the importance of flexibility, patience, and understanding
Flexibility, patience, and understanding are incredibly important as you navigate through the beautiful mess of life. While solo traveling is mostly amazing, it definitely has its not-so-great moments as well (just like anything in life). However, this is only another opportunity to grow as a young student of the world. These lessons will be with you for the rest of your life, another one of the top reasons why every student should solo travel.
10. Learn to listen to understand, not to respond
Solo traveling presents a unique opportunity to practice introducing yourself to complete strangers and become comfortable in your own skin. When you do this, you meet people from all walks of life – listen to them. Take advantage of these special circumstances to learn about them, where they come from, their culture, and their family. When you continue to have these conversations with people as you travel independently, you learn to listen to truly understand. This yearning for understanding and the gratification felt when learning about someone new is one of the most satisfying feelings I experience while solo traveling.
11. Discover your individual impact
Especially as we see reports of terrible things happening all over the world every day, sometimes we begin to believe (and let others convince us) that individuals cannot make changes. This is simply not true. One of the reasons why every student should solo travel is that when you leave a little piece of yourself in every place you visit, you will understand that you are, in a way, serving as an ambassador for your country. With each and every one of these impressions you leave behind, you are making an impact on something or someone else. Discovering and learning about your inner power to make a difference will enable you to be a more effective agent of change as you continue your college education and beyond.
Ready to solo travel? Check out my top 12 solo travel destinations in Europe!