According to an article of the International Journal of Travel and Tourism Research traveling alone helps to build self-esteem and open your mind. Well, I don't need this article to know that.Traveling since my teens and visiting other places, peoples and cultures has definitely influenced the way I think and behave. I've travelled solo most of the time and that is liberating. It built my confidence and made me more independent.
Some people ask me: "But you went alone?" and they look at me with pity thinking that it is sad I didn't travel with a companion. I have to say that I travel alone most of the time because people I know are busy or can't afford it. But really I don't mind it. I actually prefer traveling alone.
I learned that the best travel companion you can have is yourself. When you travel by yourself you don't have to agree or disagree on places you want to go and how long you want to stay. It is also more likely to meet and talk to others who are also traveling by themselves. I always make friends wherever I go. So it is really like traveling with others except that I have somebody different to tag along when I cross boarders.
It is also easier to find a couch through couchsurfing, for example, if you are traveling on your own. I've been coushsurfing since 2006 and it is one of the best things I discovered. There is a site for it you can join for free: www.couchsurfing.org. We call it CS project.
I first learned about couchsurfing when I was in Marseille in France in 2006 by a 18 year old Canadian girl I met in a hostel. It is funny that CS project started in San Francisco and I lived in Northern California then. I had to cross the whole country and an ocean to learn about that while it was right there, in my back yard...What are the odds..
Hostels are also wonderful places to stay while traveling alone. They are cheaper for one person. When you travel with someone you might prefer staying in a hotel because for two people could be more economical that way (also provides privacy if you are a couple). This way you could miss valuable opportunities. I've met so many interesting people along the years and learned a lot from them about traveling and life while staying in hostels.
I do enjoy traveling with a companion from time to time but freedom to choose whatever I want to do and choosing something as simple as what time I want to wake up or go for a walk is priceless.