Don’t give up on your backpacking dreams if none of your friends are interested in a Working Holiday experience in Australia, Canada or Chile—just go solo!
It would be a shame to miss out on an amazing experience because you can’t find a travel buddy.
10 Advantages of a Solo Working Holiday Experience
Travelling solo sounds scary at first, but it has its perks—here are ten of them.
Still not convinced? Read The Working Holiday Visa Adventure as a Solo Traveller where Julie explains how and why she chose to backpack alone in Australia.
1. You will enjoy complete freedom
Travelling with your partner, friend or sibling is harder than it seems. Even if you get on well, there’s zero chance you will always both want the same thing at the same time.
You want to stop in a city but your partner would rather skip it and spend time somewhere else—damn, that’s frustrating. Worse, what would you do if your friend wasn’t enjoying the trip as much as you and was ready to go home? One of you will have to make a big sacrifice.
Well, you won’t have that dilemma if you’re travelling solo!
2. You will feel a new sense of self-accomplishment
Going travelling is scary. “Why on earth am I doing this?” “What went through my mind when I bought my plane ticket?!” “Am I going to make it?”
Yes, these are typical pre-trip questions that keep even the most seasoned traveller awake at night a few days before D-Day. But you will show up at the airport, board the flight and you will be proud of yourself for overcoming your fears.
Your adventure could go just as planned or absolutely not, but in both scenarios, you will face a number of challenges, meet new people, adapt, and think outside the box—and it will be extremely satisfying.
Being scared of travelling is normal. Just tell yourself that no matter what happens, it will be a rewarding learning experience.
3. Meeting people will be easier
One of the main drawbacks of travelling with someone is that you don’t need to hang out with other people since you already have company who speaks your language and knows you well. Problem is, you may miss out on meeting amazing people along the way because you’re in your own little world.
On the other hand, solo travellers are bound to look more “approachable” to other backpackers, and you’re more likely to attend an event, hang out in the hotel lounge, or join a group for a drink, a tour or even a side trip you wouldn’t have considered!
Meeting people isn’t that difficult and you will have plenty of opportunities along the way—at work, in hostels, when volunteering or taking classes, etc.
4. You will be able to make the right decisions for you
You will get to pick where to go, and where to stay and how long. It will be easier to stick to your budget as well!
This is your trip, your rules, your decisions.
No one will complain when you choose a camping spot over a hotel room, pack lunch instead of eating out, splurge on an Uber ride instead of taking the bus… You’ll get to do whatever you want (and no need to apologize to anyone if in hindsight, you’ve made a terrible choice!).
5. It’s a chance to get to know yourself better
So, you think you know yourself, eh? Get ready to discover other aspects of your personality, including strengths and skills you didn’t suspect you had.
There’s no age limit on developing a better sense of self and identity.
Right now, you might be scared of travelling solo but you may end up discovering that you’re actually more self-reliant than you thought. Maybe you will need company more than you do at home or maybe you will appreciate being alone, which is unusual for you… and maybe a mix of both, depending on the situation! Never been much of a backpacker? Ah, this trip could be the chance to discover that you actually love bumming around and hostels more than a five-day travel itinerary with pre-booked hotel nights!
Travelling solo is an amazing opportunity to figure out who you really are—you’ll be surprised!
6. Sticking to your budget will be much easier
Sure, you can split a private room, the rent, a car purchase, gas and more with your travel buddy and potentially save money.
But would you have bought a car? Would you have picked the fancy place? Would you eat out as much?
Peer pressure is a thing, especially when you don’t have the same budget and game plan—and it leads to arguments. It’s much easier to control your budget when you’re travelling alone. You will decide what truly matters to you, when to splurge and when to save to make your money go further.
7. You can be more spontaneous and more flexible
Changing jobs, going to a new city or taking a last-minute side trip isn’t that easy when you’re travelling with someone. At the very least, it requires a discussion and compelling argument. But when you’re alone, you can make it happen in the blink of an eye!
And sometimes, the fact you’re not alone is a convenient excuse to avoid jumping into the unknown—“Oh, he probably won’t like it,” “She’s too busy right now,” “They like this place, it’s a sacrifice I’m happy to make…”, etc.
For once, you will save time, money and energy. The only person you will have to convince is yourself!
8. You will learn the local language much faster
Chances are your usual travel partner speaks the same language as you and it will be tempting to stay in your language bubble. If one of you is more comfortable in French or Spanish, for instance, this person will become the de facto translator.
But as a solo traveller, you will be forced to interact with the locals and practise your foreign language skills every day. You may also pick up other languages while hanging out with other backpackers or your roommates!
9. It’s a chance to become a well-rounded responsible person
Society is constantly claiming that Millennials are phone zombies who are too busy trying to save the planet to be responsible adults like kids were “back in the days.” Now, you can argue that the planet does need to be saved and that it’s not exactly your fault if you’re still living with your parents considering the economy…
Anyway, travelling alone is your chance to become more resourceful, more self-reliant, and more creative. Jumping into the unknown, exploring places you didn’t even know existed and communicating in a foreign language is basically adulting, and fast.
Your parents and friends are kilometres away—welcome to life without a convenient safety net!
A solo trip is also a great way to figure out where you’re going in life. Back home, daily life is busy with school, work, and friends. Your adventure abroad will be the break you may need to figure out what you like, what you need and what makes you truly happy without any pressure or interference.
10. Travelling alone doesn’t mean feeling hopelessly lonely
Sure, you’ve boarded the plane alone, but you don’t have to stay alone for the entire trip! You will meet people in hostels, at work, and in unlikely places along the way. You could be meeting a travel buddy at the airport gate!
Plenty of people travel alone, and they like company too—start a conversation, be friendly, and ask questions! Don’t be shy, both locals and other backpackers tend to welcome curious and open-minded solo travellers.
And you may discover that you actually enjoy spending time alone, which is a great life skill to develop as well.
No travel buddy? No problem! Start your Working Holiday adventure alone and see what happens!