Traveling solo can be a massive challenge for a lot of people – but most people don’t realize how much you’ll actually learn whilst doing so. I’ve been traveling solo for years, and I want to talk to you about the skills I’ve learned and how I use them to enhance my career and life in general.
1. You’ll Master the Art of Packing
It might seem like a silly skill to learn, but if you’ve traveled before, you’ll know how important this is. The skill of being able to pack smart is so important. If you’re traveling with your backpack or hand luggage, you’ll quickly learn how to pack your stuff into a smaller space.
Due to you having to pack smarter it also forces you to be realistic about what you actually need versus what you want to take. You’ll learn how to pack your essentials rather than getting swept up in what you might need – but never actually will use.
2. Your Organizational Skills Will Reach New Levels
I’ve just talked about packing which requires some sort of organizational skill. Every trip you’ll ever go on involves a lot of organization – especially if you’re traveling alone. You’ll quickly learn how to research and choose destinations, budget, find good flights and accommodations deals, and sort out your itinerary.
The great thing about traveling is that it almost never goes as expected. You’re most likely forced to use your organizational skills and figure out how to overcome whatever challenges might come your way. But that’s an easy task for you because you’re next level at organizing and preparing, right?
3. You’ll Start Developing a Growth-Mindset
Growth can mean a lot of things. In an ever-changing world like ours, it’s more important than ever to have the willingness to learn and grow. If you’re traveling alone, you’ll automatically grow and develop new skills. You’ll always want to improve from your previous adventure.
I’m convinced that traveling inspires you to constantly educate yourself. Now, I’m not just talking about learning more about other cultures, languages, history, food, etc., but actually developing a character trait that’ll apply to all aspects of your life.
You’ll be more driven, motivated, and eager to learn and improve yourself, which is something a lot of employers are constantly looking for. It’s a win-win situation, huh?
4. Your Confidence Will Grow
When you travel, you’ll face a lot of challenges. By facing these challenges you’ll be more confident. It doesn’t matter if you ‘fail’, because you’ll learn from your mistakes and grow that way instead. It can be very overwhelming and a big challenge to travel alone. When you figure out that you actually can travel alone, your confidence will go through the roof.
Confidence is so, so important. It’ll also help you a lot when applying for jobs as it’ll help you not shy away from tasks, annoying deadlines, or risky decisions. Confidence is key whether we’re talking about traveling or building a career.
5. You’ll Be Able to Adapt Quicker
Depending on where you decide to travel to, you’ll probably stumble upon places that are very different from wherever you’re from. Personally, I can’t relax if I don’t feel comfortable – so I struggled a bit with this when I first started out traveling alone. But, as soon as you get used to the new language, culture, food, and rules, it’ll develop into a skill you can use in so many situations.
Leaving your comfort zone and doing something you haven’t done before is one thing. Another thing is dealing with bad internet, missed flights or terrible weather – which won’t ever be a problem for you. Yes, it will forever be annoying but you’ll be able to adapt and overcome it. Let’s go!
6. You’ll Be Better at Making Decisions
I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you. When you decide to travel – whether it’s alone or with someone else – you’ll always be restricted and influenced by your decision-making skills. It’s no secret but a lot of people might not realize how many big decisions you could end up having to make whilst traveling solo.
You’ll make mistakes. I’ve made mistakes. The most hardcore travelers all make mistakes. But learning from these mistakes and the decisions behind them is the key. You’ll automatically start evaluating the risks and benefits of every decision.
Being able to make responsible decisions is crucial. Again, this is for both career and life in general. When you get back to work, your employer and colleagues will appreciate how you can make good decisions without having to consult with them every 10 minutes.
7. You’ll Learn to Communicate With All Kinds of People
One of the biggest challenges when traveling alone is that you don’t have anyone to hide behind. You’re quite literally forced to talk to strangers and communicate with people who’re from different cultures – and probably don’t even speak your language. This is such a great challenge and you’ll learn a very important life skill when communicating with people you don’t know.
You’ll learn how to communicate both verbally and non-verbally with anyone. You’ll start to look beyond their status, age or ethnicity. You’ll learn how to find common ground with people you, at first glance, don’t have anything in common with. Simply put, you’ll learn empathy.
Having empathy and respect for strangers, colleagues, bosses, family, interns, or the cleaning staff adds to everyone’s well-being – ultimately leading to enhanced productivity and motivation. How cool does it sound to have multi-dimensional people skills?
8. You’ll Be Able to Overcome Any Problems
Throughout this post, I’ve mentioned quite a lot of challenges – but the fact is that traveling solo will make you a hardcore problem-solver. Your experience with navigating problems on the go, dealing with daily uncertainties, and challenges has now turned into an environment you thrive in.
You’re now able to solve problems under pressure – by yourself. This might be one of the most important skills you can learn as a human being as it will help you power through tough times.
9. You Can Now Read People and Trust Your Gut
A lot of people are scared to travel alone. A very valuable lesson you’ll learn as a solo traveler is how to trust your instincts. When you’re home you’re more likely to accept others’ opinions instead of listening to your gut. When you’re traveling alone, your ability to read any situation and make decisions quickly can be a lifesaver.
Following your gut will allow you to recognize most ‘bad’ situations before they turn into a problem. You can now take care of your own personal safety without relying on anyone else.
I mean, if that’s not a skill, I don’t know what is.
10. Patience and Acceptance Towards Yourself and Others
This final one is something I’ve been struggling with all my life. Traveling solo made me realize how little control I have over what’s happening around me. It kind of sums of all the other skills as you’ll realize that you can’t control flight delays, overbooked accommodations, or people being loud in the hostel.
I’ve been so angry in the past when people did something ‘annoying’. It really did get to me, but I’ve realized that it really doesn’t matter. After having traveled solo, you’ll feel more patient with other people. I mentioned this earlier. If you can accept that travel never go as planned, and that it’s half the adventure, you’ll automatically be a lot happier.
It’s a tough and very fluffy skill but it’ll be so helpful for you when traveling or working your butt off at work.
What’s one skill you’ve learned while traveling? Have you ever been on a solo trip- where did you go? Do you prefer solo travel or group travel? Let me know in the comment section – would love to learn!