There are things we should all do at least once in our lives. In my case, solo travel is one of them. I had traveled with family and friends before, and although I always enjoy their company, at times I felt I needed to do it by myself. Just spend some time alone and go with the flow. No worries about what others wanted. Just me.

For some reason or another, I had always postponed it until recently. I wish I had taken the step before. Man, did I enjoy every single minute of it! It was an incredible experience, and I hope I can repeat it soon. However, it wasn’t always easy. That’s why today I will share with you some lessons learned from solo travel.

There’s No Right Time to Do It

A golden wall clock.

Has it ever happened to you that you plan something but never do it? Maybe you thought of going somewhere on vacation once you graduated from school but never got around to doing it. Or maybe you have a hard time making travel plans because, um, work. We just play with the idea in our heads, but that’s it. Nothing ever happens.

I realized life is too short to keep going like that. There’s a whole new world out there waiting for us to discover it. All we have to do is open our eyes.

Now, I’m not saying you should quit your job or drop out of school all of a sudden. I’m just saying those things will never end. Give yourself some time to travel, visit new places, try different foods, meet new people. Live life.

You might think you’re too old, but let me tell you something. During my solo trips, I encountered men and women of all ages that were traveling alone. Sure, most of them were in their 20s or 30s, but I also met people in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s. And haven’t you heard about the 91-year-old grandmother that traveled alone all over the world? Age is just a number.

Maybe you’re married and/or have kids, and you can’t leave them behind. I get that. Or maybe you just got a new job and have to wait for some time off. The right time for each one of us depends on our circumstances, but in many cases, we can make it happen.

There’s No Right Way to Do It, Either

You may think that all solo travelers are backpackers that eat street food and stay in hostels. While there is some truth in that, it’s not always the case. There is not a single type of solo traveler.

Many solo travelers indeed travel on a budget. They stay in hostels or camping grounds, take public transportation, and eat street food. However, it’s also true other solo travelers like to stay in nice hotels or resorts, eat at a fancy restaurant now and then, buy souvenirs, go on tours, etc.

Don’t let others tell you what the right way to travel is. I hate those blogs that say we should only travel with carry-ons, for instance. Sure, it may be more convenient in some circumstances, but it’s easier said than done. Personally, I hate packing up, and only bringing my carry-on along makes matters worse. I did it once, and I hated it.

Some people will tell you you shouldn’t rent a car or stay at x place. I don’t doubt their good intentions, but each one of us has a different travel style. I hate advice like this, especially when I didn’t ask for it. I have learned to be more tolerant in this regard.

Everyone Can Do It…But It’s Not for Everyone

Indeed, there’s not a single type of solo traveler. They come in all sizes.

I think we should all travel solo at least once in our lives, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. If you did it, but you didn’t like it, that’s normal. We’re not supposed to like the same things.

Deep inside, we know what we are capable and incapable of doing. If being alone is not part of your personality, then don’t push yourself too hard. Maybe try it once, and if you didn’t like it, you will at least have the satisfaction that you tried.

In some cases, I also recommend considering a few factors before going on a solo trip. Do you have a medical condition that needs constant supervision? Are you visiting a dangerous country? In those cases, you might be better off traveling with other people.

I Can Do Things I Never Imagined

During my solo trips, I discovered I could do things I never imagined in my wildest dreams. My family didn’t believe me when I told them what I did during my last two trips. They’ve known me for a long time, but we can always change, right?

I jumped off waterfalls, rode a bike for the first time, ate insects, and even hitchhiked! I was thrilled, to say the least. It’s an indescribable sensation.

My bucket list is getting longer and longer after each trip. For instance, I’d like to ride a hot air balloon, ride a helicopter, swim with dolphins, among other things. I now have the confidence to do more activities, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know my limits.

I’m sure if you try new things, you will love some of them. Sometimes all we need is a little push. How can you know you don’t like something if you never try it? Don’t force yourself too much, but don’t be so uptight about trying new experiences.

A plate with ant eggs and guacamole.
Would you dare eat ant eggs?

I Can’t Control Everything

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always liked to be in control. I discovered this when I was in school, and I was the head of the projects we worked on.

However, as an adult, this frustrated me. I found out some things will inevitably escape my hands, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Travel is no exception.

The first thing that came to mind was my trip to Baja California. I took a bus from La Paz to Ensenada, and it was not a very pleasant trip. The bus made a lot of stops along the way to pick up or drop off people, not to mention the restroom stops. Those 15-minute stops turned 30 minutes long.

I also remember my trip to Tepic. I was in Zacatecas at the moment, and only two buses ran per day between both cities. Imagine waking up at 1:30 a.m. to catch a bus at 3! There was no other option.

It is then that I realized that no matter what I want and no matter what I plan, I can’t control everything. It’s like life. Sometimes we just have to let go.

I Don’t Have to Plan Everything All the Time

Talking about plans, I’m a planner. I always look up ideas online to make my itinerary. I know which places I will visit, how long I will stay there, where I will eat, where I will stay, how I will move around…mostly everything. I don’t like leaving things until the last minute. Or so I thought.

For my last two trips, I had but a vague idea of what I would do. I knew I wanted to see the butterflies in Michoacán, the whales in La Paz, the vineyards in Ensenada, the train in Chihuahua, among other things, but that was it. I didn’t know what buses ran between the cities, where I would stay, how much money I would need…nothing!

It was the very first time that I didn’t plan my trip. I booked my buses and hotels as I went. I asked locals about what there was to do and how I could get there. I found cheap places to eat by just walking and walking. It was a truly enriching experience.

Now, let me tell you it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies, but I enjoyed it for the most part. I knew from experience that things don’t always go according to plan, so I figured it would be nice to have no plan at all. It worked.

I Am My Best Companion

When I tell others about my solo trips, the first thing they ask me is if I didn’t get bored. And my answer is always the same, “There was hardly time for that!”

For some people, traveling alone is unthinkable. They either think it’s boring or even dangerous. What would they do? Would they enjoy it? How do you do it? Why in the world would you travel by yourself?

Solo travel has many benefits, as I pointed out in another post. I found out that I enjoy my own company. The thing is I rarely have time to be alone.

Sometimes we just need time alone to relax and think. No interruptions, no questions from others, simply silence. Me time. Spending time alone is healthy and we should do it from time to time. It’s good to be around others, but we also need time by ourselves. We are our best companions.

A man holding a cup of coffee and looking at the street.

Life Is a Constant State of Change

People get born and die every day. There are hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires every year. The world continues revolving around its axis. The clock never stops (unless its batteries run out hehe).

I am a creature of habit. I guess that’s why I loved having a daily routine. But that’s not always a good thing.

As I visited city after city, I realized that the world changes constantly, for better or worse. A new discovery, a new law, a new event…they’re all part of our lives. Nothing is permanent in life, except change.

Whether we like it or not, everything around us changes, and we have to adapt to it to fit in. When we fail to do that, we feel frustrated. We may not like change, and that’s completely normal. But when we embrace it, a whole new world opens up to us.

Don’t be afraid of change. Changes are inevitable, but they make us stronger and better people. Of course, there are good and bad changes. However, if we take the good changes only and learn from them, we will be happier people.

When There’s a Will, There’s a Way

I remember my trip to the Huasteca Potosina earlier this year. I did things I never thought I could do, but I dared, and I don’t regret it. It was quite an experience.

While I was there, I faced a major challenge: transportation. I didn’t rent a car because I wanted to have more freedom and save money. Besides, I was told by a friend who lives there that I could easily move around by bus.

Well, it turned out that some buses don’t run that frequently. What was I supposed to do? Well, by asking around, I found someone that told me I could get a colectivo (shared taxi) to move around. I was told where to get them, how much they cost, and everything.

As I mentioned earlier, I even hitchhiked. I wanted to visit an archaeological site in Tamtoc, but it’s far from the main highway, and private tours are expensive. It was an eventful day indeed.

There are no excuses when we really want to travel. Tight on money? Take a bus, stay at a hostel, eat at the market, walk, take a free tour. It’s not always about the money. Sometimes it’s fear or lack of confidence in ourselves. What is holding you back?

And it’s just like life. There’s always another way to do something. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

Have you ever heard this saying? Well, it’s true! When you’re kind to others, in most cases, they will be kind to you, too.

I met amazing people along the way that helped me when I needed it. For instance, there was this guy that gave me a ride to the bus station because I couldn’t get a taxi outside the hotel. A couple saw me walking on the highway and gave me a ride to town. A girl offered herself to go to the drugstore to buy something for my stomach pain. A lady paid for my bus fare at the bus stop because I didn’t have a card. People shared food and drinks with me. And the list goes on and on.

It feels great to meet other people during your trips. I have even made a few friends and keep in touch with them.

If everyone were kinder, the world would be a different place. So, smile and be kind to the person next to you. You could be making his day without knowing it.

Lessons learned from solo travel.

Always Get Travel Insurance

Not being pessimistic here, but when you travel, you always have to prepare for the worst. What do I mean by that? Well, you have to consider a few scenarios. What could go wrong and what could you do about it? It’s not about letting fear paralyze us but rather being proactive and finding solutions.

During my last trip to Mexico City, I fell sick and had to go to the hospital. I was diagnosed with appendicitis and had to undergo surgery. Since I didn’t buy travel insurance for this trip, I had to pay out of pocket.

I always get travel insurance when I travel, but so far, I had never needed it. This time I thought it would be the same. Boy, was I wrong!

My recommendation to you: Always get travel insurance! It’s preferable to pay a few hundred dollars now and not need it than to pay thousands of dollars afterward. Think of it as an investment and not an unnecessary expense. I learned this the hard way.


Traveling solo is one of the most enriching experiences you can ever go through. For many, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event. Opportunities like this are not available for everyone, so if you have the chance to do it, go for it!

Life is like travel. It’s a long journey where we will meet new people and have new experiences. We just have to open ourselves up and enjoy the ride.

Travel is not only about fun times. There are many lessons to be learned from it that can be applied in real life. If you learn how to do this, you will succeed in life.

What about you? Have you ever traveled solo? What did you learn? What would you tell others about it? Let me know in the comments below. Bon voyage!

Book your trip now!

Book your flight

The first thing you have to do is find cheap flights. But where do you find those? There are many search engines, but the one I highly recommend is Skyscanner. Here you can compare fares from all over the world and pick the one that suits you best.

Book your accommodation

The next thing you have to do is secure your lodging. Whether you prefer a hostel, a guesthouse, a B&B, or a hotel, you can find them all on Booking. You can find lodging of all kinds ranging from cheap to expensive and somewhere in between. Many people have scored good deals using it.

Another popular option is Hostelworld. This website focuses on hostels as opposed to hotels.

Book a tour

In some places, you might want to hire a tour. Not all places are equally accessible to visit by oneself. It helps enormously when you visit with a local guide who can show you around and answer any questions you might have…all in your native language. My to-go place is Viator as they offer tours of all kinds and have a presence all over the world.

Rent a car

Public transportation is usually cheaper than renting a car, but it’s sometimes more complicated and time-consuming. That’s a reality. In some cases, it’s more convenient to rent a car. My recommendation is Here you can compare rates and choose the one that fits you best.

Book your bus tickets

You can save money by booking bus tickets online. My favorite site to do this is Busbud.

Get travel insurance

Never travel without a travel insurance policy, especially during these days! Travel insurance can save your life. My recommendations are World Nomads and Insured Nomads. Both companies cover COVID-19 related incidents, which is crucial these days.

More resources

Just click on the “Plan your trip” tab at the top of this page, and you will find more resources like getting Mexican insurance for your foreign car, buying travel accessories, and learning Spanish. And, of course, don’t forget to check back often to read about more tips on Mexico travel.


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6 Replies to “Lessons Learned from Solo Travel”

  1. Great article. 

    Do you have a place in the world that in your dreams you travel to, but in your waking hours you can always find a reason not to go? For me that place has always been Egypt. Since I was very small, Egypt has been that fantastical place with history and glamour that always felt a little out of my reach. Well it wasn’t that far after all. I have fallowed SoFe for about four years now and drooled over their trips and marveled at the stories I would hear, but something always held me back from booking. During 2020 their Egypt Itenerary got me through the hard times. Every-time I would get extra low I would pull up the website and look and tell myself you’ve got to make it to see THAT! Around May I decided I wanted to do more than look and after chatting with the team, I booked for myself. From the moment we were picked up at the airport it was an adventure. For anyone worried about safety, there was not one moment during the entire trip that I felt even a little bit unsafe, we were accompanied by our own Policeman on our trips, which is standard practice. The tour was lead by two locals, Sameh and Victoria. Sameh is a fantastic Egyptologist and all around incredible human being, whose kindness and sense of humor put all of us at ease instantly. Victoria is the best friend you didn’t know you needed, whose local knowledge and experience as an American living in Egypt added a female relatable lens to the trip that I really appreciated. Together they added a perfect blend of History and Everyday life to the trip. The adventure took us all the way from Cairo to Aswan (even as far As Abu Simbel as an added excursion) and by the end of the trip I felt as though I got to see more of Egypt than I ever even imagined. Along the way we had incredible moments Including an unforgettable Falucca ride down the Nile ending in a bonfire dance with local Nubians, a Hot Air Ballon Ride over the Valley of the Kings at Sunrise, Dinner in a local woman’s home in Aswan, and Scuba Diving in the Red Sea. I could go on forever and I am already planning my next trip back. The group of 17 girls was incredible(and I am not just saying that, seriously I feel so incredibly lucky to have met every single one of them), which made everyday so fun! No matter who I ended up sitting next to I knew I was in for a great convo and a good time. Each one inspired me in their own way. The only thing I would have like to change about the trip is a provided itinerary/ list of hotels and a little more transparency in regards to how much money to bring each day and what to expect from the potential pushiness of the shop owners. Other than that I wouldn’t change a thing about the trip, except… maybe have it let me stay longer!? haha! If you are on the fence about SoFe and/or they have a trip to your Dream place, I urge you to give it a try. I’ll for sure be going on another trip with SoFe! Till then I’ll just have to figure out my next dream place, that doesn’t have to feel unattainable anymore

    1. Hi, Emmanuel,

      What a great story! It’s this kind of story that motivates me to travel. Travel is a lifestyle for many of us.

      I can only imagine all the great experiences you went through. I bet you got lots of pictures and videos.

      Have you ever visited Mexico? I’m sure you’ll love it. Feel free to check out my blog to get more info and tips on Mexico travel.

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. Thank you very for sharing your story. I started to travel on my own at the age of 18 – and that was mainly to other countries in Africa. I am from Zimbabwe and my first trip was Lusaka, Zambia – then Windhoek, Namibia. I realized that I became more confident, mature, and a responsible person at a very young age.

    I also encountered incredible experiences and made connections that I probably wouldn’t have if I had traveled with family or friends. From time to time, I always travel on my own – and enjoy it.

    1. Hi, Dave,

      Glad you liked it. I try to do my best every time I write.

      Africa is on my bucket list. I hope to visit someday.

      I do agree with you regarding the confidence you get from solo travel. Solo travel is much different from traveling with others, be it friends or family.

      Thanks for commenting.

  3. Enrique, very enjoyable read. It sounds like you have had some enriching experiences travelling solo. Your article is titled Lessons Learned from Travelling Solo, but it’s also about personal development and self-awareness. You talk about people asking if you got bored; and how you discovered you enjoy your own company. You found being alone was healthy, and you discovered you are your own best companion. Your comments about change and how it can empower us, if we accept the inevitable that all things change, is the foundation to well-being. I got so much out of your article about living a life connected and being comfortable in my own skin; and want to thank you for adding to the quality of my life.

    1. Hi, Terry,

      I deeply appreciate your comment. Yes, solo travel has a lot to do with personal development and self-awareness. If we just open our eyes and pay attention to our surroundings, we will learn a lot from each experience.

      I’m glad you liked my story, and if you have never traveled solo, I highly recommend you do it at least once in your life.

      Thanks for commenting.

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