A woman hiking in the Swiss Alps. Otherwise known as a lady doin' it for herself.

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Here’s why you should travel Europe solo

Published February 13th, 2017

Let's be real, getting to travel abroad with your mates is one of the best experiences you could possibly share and comes with the bonus of being more closely bonded over those crazy things that happen and then being able to reminisce together until you’re all old and wrinkly.

However one of the biggest pitfalls of this is that trying to align holidays, expectations and budgets can often mean you either don’t end up heading on the trip you had originally envisaged (not always a bad thing), postponing times infinity or worse not actually going.

So often people think, of all the places they’d like to travel to but then don’t go because they don’t have anyone to go with at the right time. Let this story serve as both a warning against waiting for the rest of your life and as a guide on how to just bloody go for it.

This is why it’s time to book the cheap plane ticket to London, and the 30 day Euro tour before packing the massive backpack that’s been stashed under your bed ever since you picked it up for $5 at the local trash ‘n’ treasure. The time is now, because you’re not gettin’ any younger (and because student discounts are only for students...and anyone under 30).


 

Early Sunday mornings when you have the whole city to yourself...

A photo posted by T r e n t N a t t r a s s (@trentnattrass) on


You can leave whenever you want

And for however long you wish to keep on travelling for too. Basically your travel destiny is in your own hands and can change as much as you please. Europe is also the best place for this, with everything so close, it’s nice to be able to spontaneously go from Paris to Reims for the day to discover where Champagne was first created!



Be whoever you want to be

If there was ever a time to embrace the cool, confident and free spirited version of yourself now would be that time. When you’re not surrounded by friends who know you intimately it gives you the freedom to reinvent yourself, or to at least try on a few different versions of you for size. And with Europe being such a melting pot of cultures, there will be plenty of people to take inspiration from.


 

Hmm Santorini & wine or exams tomorrow not sure

A photo posted by Samantha Smith (@samis_smith) on


Meet new people from different walks of life

When travelling with friends it’s easy to stay in your own little group and revel in the shared jokes and experiences but when you’re on your own it forces you to get out of your comfort zone. You will find yourself making friends everywhere you go, talking to people you wouldn’t normally approach or think you have anything in common with.

There’s even a nifty little app called Travello that helps you connect with people anywhere in the world if say you want some friends to go skydiving with or just to have a beer, it’s kind of a game changer. There's even a sweet Student Flights Group that you can join to meet other like-minded people looking to Never Stop Travelling! Meeting new people helps you see the world differently too, which really when you think about it is what the world needs more people doing right now.


 

Bosnia & Hercegovina has been unreal - crazy interesting place to explore @alysejl @joddddie__

A photo posted by Emma Lucey (@emmalucey) on


Figure out who you are and what you stand for

There’s so much noise in life, from your friends, from your parents, the media, your lecturers, roommates. Travelling by yourself is the number one way to drown all of that out and just listen to your own inner voice and figure out what it’s telling you. The longer your travel alone for, the louder this voice becomes too which is interesting in itself to experience.



You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want

Trying to figure out where to eat when you’re in a group is hell. Especially when Becky conveniently ‘found out’ just before you left on the trip that she’s now ‘gluten intolerant’ not celiac, just ‘gluten intolerant’, James and Katie don’t eat meat (good luck with that in Madrid, you’ll be eating potatoes the whole week) and Jess has a weak stomach.

Try explaining all of that then to your Greek waitress Earlene who defs doesn’t speak English. Trust us when we say that easy eating is going to be one of the biggest perks of travelling alone.



The hostel experience

Nothing beats the energy that buzzes through a hostel in Europe. There’s all of these young travellers from all over the world, each looking to have the adventure of a lifetime whatever that may involve.

Even better than that is this wonderful bubble that exists only around the four walls of a hostel where most of the people inside are open and willing to make as many new friends as possible. Oh and the communal dinners and free breakfasts are super sweet too.

 

Not only does travelling alone open you up to so many more opportunities and experiences, more importantly it really broadens your perspective. It gifts you a greater understanding and insight into the way people from different corners of the globe think (especially the ones from corners you didn’t even know existed) and teaches you to be more accepting of those perspectives, traditions and the general different way of thinking.

It forces you to reflect on your own world views and appreciative of all the incredible luxuries we’re afforded in the country we live in. Seriously, doing a solo Euro trip is one of the best things you could ever do just for yourself.

Sam Aldenton

Sam Aldenton is a travel writer, digital content creator (read: takes photos/videos with her iphone and sometimes a real camera) and former retail and youth trend forecaster. When she's not off discovering the world’s best pizza (an obsession picked up from her 4-years in New York), she makes her home in Brisbane, Australia. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @samaaldenton.