10 Solo Travel Lessons People Apply to Their Everyday Lives

Lessons are best when they can apply in multiple areas of your life. Discipline, strong communication, and preparing for the worst-case scenario are habits that can come in handy in your professional life, relationships, and virtually every other corner of your being. These solo travelers were ecstatic to find that lessons learned on the road could apply at home.

1. The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men…

Traveler thumbs down
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Solo travelers know that God laughs hardest not when the devil stubs his toe but when travelers think that their itinerary is written in stone. Train delays, no-show guides, shoddy accommodations, and unanticipated opportunities for fun can make a mockery of the most detailed itinerary.

Going with the flow is a must for travelers and an essential skill for getting through life unscathed.

2. You Don't Need as Much Stuff as You Think

woman packing a suitcase for vacation, travel, a lot of things do not fit in the suitcase.
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When you've lived out of a suitcase for a month straight or worn the same pair of underwear for a week, the allure of materialism loses its grip on you.

Sure, it would be ideal to have multiple pairs of fresh underwear. We wouldn't throw a walk-in closet out of our home, either. Those wasteful purchases become far less frequent, though, when you begin to value experiences over things.

3. Independence and Autonomy Are Empowering

Gorgeous tourist girl with curly hair wearing hat and backpack holding map at old European city background and smiling, traveling, portrait.
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Those who backpack through Europe inevitably learn independence and autonomy. You got yourself into this nightmarish hostel, and only you can get yourself out.

Once you realize that you can cross multiple boards speaking not a lick of the native language, you feel a sense of ownership in your day-to-day life.

4. Anxiety Is All in Your Head

Traveler asking for help
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One traveler broke through their walls of anxiety by traveling solo. Eating on their own in public, approaching strangers for directions, and navigating the other hurdles of travel forced them out of their shells.

Once you've requested a table for one in an Italian Trattoria or walked the halls of the Louvre without any companion to hold your hand, you realize that you won't be judged for doing things on your own.

5. A Good Book and a Quiet Cafe Are the Keys to Happiness

Traveler with coffee
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We spend hours of our lives devouring self-help books and podcast episodes, searching for the key to happiness. One traveler found that an attention-grabbing book, a quiet cafe, and no distractions are the recipe for serenity.

Sorry, Buddha, but your teachings have been replaced by books and biscotti.

6. Approach Strangers When You Have the Urge

Traveler talking to stranger
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A random person who happens to be wearing your favorite team's jersey? A bloke sitting next to you at the bar? A beautiful woman across the room?

Because travelers have to speak with strangers in order to get by, they become far more inclined to chat up curious strangers in their daily life. It's an enriching impulse that everyone should act upon more often.

7. Be Wary of “Friends”

Stealing Money from traveler bag
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That stranger who calls you “my friend” on the street is no more your friend than Ross, Rachel, or Joey. Odds are, they're the furthest thing from your friend, generally trying to separate you from your money.

8. Time > Money

Woman traveler smiling
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You can always make more money. On the other hand, there are no Federal Reserves printing pallets of time. Travel while you can. Spend time with loved ones while you can. Make good use of your time, and never put money before it.

9. Be Prepared, Always

Woman with first aid box
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Several travelers with a lifetime's worth of SkyMiles were shocked when they couldn't find menstrual products or a backup suitcase in a first-world European capital.

Take nothing for granted when traveling, and do the same in your daily life.

10. YOLO, So Do Stuff Solo Dolo

Woman hiking
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For the adults in the room, “solo dolo” is how the kids say “on one's own.” Because you only live once (YOLO), travel (or do anything else you've been putting off) on your own. We don't always have someone to do fun stuff with, but that shouldn't be a barrier to doing fun stuff.

Whether you've been meaning to skydive, check out the new bar in town, or play a game of pitch and catch (OK, that one's going to be tough), don't be afraid to try it on your own.

This thread inspired this post.

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