Thinking about taking on Paris, New York, Tokyo, London or other big cities on your own? Travelling alone in a buzzing metropolis might seem intimidating with the millions of people, confusing transport and different culture, but it doesn’t have to be.
Big cities are some of the best places in the world to experience by yourself— and we’re going to show you why.
You Can Choose Your Own Adventure
The real joy of travelling alone is that you, and only you, gets to decide the agenda. It’s a fun little bubble where the only opinion that matters is your own (so enjoy it while it lasts!). There’s no better place to indulge your very specific interests in their purest form than a big city.
If hunting down the best ramen in Tokyo means eating only ramen for four days? Go for it! Maybe your idea of a perfect day is slowly wandering around a gallery or art museum? Then spend a whole day (or two, or three) in New York exploring some of the world’s best masterpieces – without someone complaining about sore feet or whether paint splatters on a canvas really “counts as art”.
There’s *Always* Something To Do
When you’re not used to a lot of your own company, staying busy is the key to staying happy. Travelling alone can have its down moments, but whether you’re someone who likes to plan their itineraries to the minute or you’re more of a go-with-the-flow type, a big city has plenty of things to keep you distracted. Actually, the one thing you might feel is overwhelmed by options.
But there’s an antidote for that, too. One of the best parts of a big city is soaking in the (sometimes intense) energy and doing some serious people watching – so get a podcast or your favourite playlist pumping and hit the pavement.
You Can Get A Taste Of What Another Life Would Be Like
Travelling is all about having new experiences and trying things you don’t usually do at home. But incorporating some everyday activities into your holiday can be a great way to see a different, local, side of a big city.
Are you missing your weekly yoga class? Check out if the neighbourhood yoga studio has drop in classes and start one of your mornings with some sun salutations. Do you love snuggling into a cinema seat with a big box of popcorn? Go see what’s playing at the local cinema (just double check there’s a version with English subtitles, if you think your high school language skills might not quite be up to scratch).
Transport Is Easy And Affordable
One of the downsides about travelling alone (other than having no one to take your very casual and absolutely not posed photo-shoots for social media) is that it can be expensive. However, easy transport to and from the airport, public transport networks and larger availability of rideshare apps in big cities mean that affordable (and safe) travel is more accessible for everyone.
A RER train from Paris’s city centre to Charles de Gaulle airport will cost you €9.75 (AU$15.50); a 3-day metro pass in Tokyo will set you back ¥1,500 (AU$18); or, top up a visitor Oyster card for London’s tube system £30 (AU$53) should last you four days. In big American cities, rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft have a “pool” or “line” option, which means you’ll share the ride with another person and bring the cost of the whole trip down.
Maybe You’ll Meet The One
The attitude we’re in when we’re travelling – open-minded, full of wonder, happy to try new things – means we’re much more likely to find love (or something like it) while we’re travelling. And if you’re out and about on your own, there’s nothing and no one holding you back from saying yes to that handsome stranger, swiping right or dancing up to that person in the bar.
You’ll Never Feel Like The Odd One Out
Pulling up a seat at a “table for one” on a candlelit beach destination full of honeymooners or heading to your room for an early night when everyone around you is knocking back shots (for the seventh night in a row) can leave you feeling a little out of place if you’re travelling alone.
A big city, with its fast-paced energy and many different types of people and places means that there is something out there for everyone. Whether you decide to be one of the many people reading a book in the park on a Monday afternoon, or strike up a conversation and a night of bar-hopping with the people next to you at the pub, or wander the streets in search of your next best meal, there’s nothing you should be doing, and there’s everything you could be doing. The pressure is off, so enjoy it!
(Lead image: Kinga Cichewicz / Unsplash)
Mia Abrahams is an editor, writer, and lover of road trips