While initially daunting, traveling and volunteering solo could be what turns a great volunteer abroad experience into an outstanding one! International Volunteer HQ not only provides pre-departure support, but also peace of mind for solo travelers with an airport pickup and 24/7 in-country assistance.
We asked our community of IVHQers on Facebook and Instagram why they preferred to travel solo, and the response will not only calm your nerves, but excite you for your upcoming journey as a solo volunteer abroad…
1. Get Out of Your ‘Comfy’ Place
Alice Melton // You’re forced out of your comfort zone and thrust into the heaving mass that is the rest of the world. You do crazy things, meet crazy people, and make wonderful memories.
Kelly Bares // Traveling solo is the greatest. I traveled solo to Lima, Peru with IVHQ and it really gives you the opportunity to connect with the other volunteers and locals as well. Once you are out of your comfort zone, the world really begins. (:
@peachylisete // Going to Kenya solo was the best decision I have ever made! It pushes you out of your comfort zone and I can honestly say I made friends from all over the world! I feel that volunteers have the same type of mentality so when you meet others like you, you just instantly grow an unbreakable bond.
Photo: @hannahhollaa (IVHQer in Costa Rica) via Instagram
2. Live Like a Local
Renee Coughlin // Flying solo allows you to connect with new people without having the ‘fallback’ of familiar and comfortable relationships from home. You can really immerse yourself in something new - giving you a totally new experience.
@micdyphoto // It gave me a chance to immerse and learn their culture and most importantly, make REAL connections with the locals.
Silvia Rosetti // I think it is the best way to “disconnect” from your day to day life and immerse yourself in a new culture in order to be open up to new people and experiences.
Photo: @sandrine_lessard (IVHQer in Nepal) via Instagram
3. Make New Besties
Claire Wairimu Bliss // You don’t really travel solo, you start off solo then collect an amazing group of friends that you share some of the best times with!
@melleesa // ‘Traveling solo’ literally translates to ‘making new friends’. Solo travelers rely on nobody, and yet none of us would do it again if we couldn’t make beautiful connections along the way with other travelers or the locals.
Hannah Holladay // I traveled solo to Costa Rica with IVHQ and it was the best decision I could’ve made. Even though you may be traveling alone, you’ll never feel lonely among other volunteers!
Bethany Gross // Flying solo made me open up and talk to new people. After I met other volunteers and people in Cuzco, Peru, it never felt like I was traveling by myself as I had so many friends who were doing the same as me!
@nourmady // It gives you the opportunity to make a family out of the amazing people you meet at your destination!
Photo: @aaaurelie (IVHQer in Italy) via Instagram
@sydneyfeatherstone // I’d rather go alone than have to worry about coordinating everything with someone else’s schedule!!
Eva Monique McDonough // You create your own schedule, can do whatever you want when you want, and it allows you the freedom to become exactly who you want to be!
Rachelle Roberts // I met great people and saw/did things that I may not have had the opportunity to do if I had travelled with a friend the entire time.
Eva Bonita // The freedom to travel at your own schedule and make last minute changes or plans. You’re also more likely and open to making new friends.
Photo: @shannonhoward (IVHQer in Peru - Cusco) via Instagram
5. Meet the New You
Kerry Watson // Travelling solo allowed me to grow into the person that I am today and who I want to be in the future. The journey is an individual one. You can’t be anyone else but yourself and it’s fantastic.
Ariel Kligerman // Traveling alone allows you to make stronger connections with those you meet and, as corny as it may sound, let’s you learn more about yourself. Volunteering is an absolutely life changing experience. You’re stronger than you think - just do it!!! I can promise that you will not regret it!
Colleen Dowling // I LOVED traveling solo. I spent 3 months in Peru. It helped me learn a lot about myself. I learned I was a strong confident woman.
Photo: @vintagebarbie17 (IVHQer in Cambodia) via Instagram
Convinced that volunteering and traveling solo is right for you? Take our quiz and discover where you should travel solo or read through our ultimate solo travelers guide to volunteering abroad.