If you had suggested solo travel to me a couple of years ago, I would have either laughed in your face or looked at you like you had suggested the craziest thing in the world. It was something that had never crossed my mind. Seriously, why would I want to travel on my own? However, that was my opinion then, not now. Now I am all for solo travel and feel that the more I do it, the more I learn, not only about the world but also about myself. Therefore, I would recommend it to anyone, especially if you are currently on the fence about taking the plunge.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was beyond anxious before I took my first solo trip, especially as a nervous flyer. Even though the flight anxiety is still there, it is nowhere near as intense as it used to be. In fact, in a weird way I actually quite like it as every time I touch down I feel like I achieved something huge (if you too are a nervous flyer, I’m sure you’ll understand).
Is Solo Travel Safe?
There are many preconceptions about solo travel being unsafe for women. This argument may hold a bit of weight in certain countries. However, it is likely that the safety warnings in those particular countries apply to men too. Therefore, regardless of your gender, providing you don’t take stupid risks, the likelihood is that you will be just fine. Obviously, do your research before you head anyway.
It’s important to familiarise yourselves with what is considered the ‘dodgy’ areas of the place you visiting and steer clear. This advice is just as pertinent regardless of if you are on your own, travelling as a couple or even in a group. There are unsavoury neighbourhoods everywhere and if you’re worried or fearful of what could happen, just don’t venture to or near them.
The Pros of Solo Travel
You Are The Decision Maker
The biggest draw when it comes to solo travel is that you are the boss of your adventure and therefore get to make all the decisions. You can visit whatever you want, whenever you want. If you’re hungry you can grab something to eat, if you’re tired you can nap.
Basically, you can make your trip what you want it to be and be as ‘selfish’ as you want without having to take anyone else’s needs or wants into consideration. I’d say that I am great a compromising on a day to day basis, therefore it’s nice to sometimes just do what I want when I want.
Opportunity to Test Yourself
I have always found that solo travel is an opportunity to test myself. Every time I travel on my own, it tests me in a different way. Including overcoming the nerves and preflight anxiety, navigating a city I have never been to before and eating at a restaurant on my own etc.
All if which I had fallen into the trap of relying on others to accompany me, which is odd considering I am such a confident person. However, through the tests, I have developed skills which I now use in day to day life. I’m excited to see what other tests I will face and subsequent skills I will learn on my future solo travels.
Great Way To Make New Friends
When I travel with Mr ESLT and/or friends, the likelihood is that they are the only people I will talk to throughout my trip, apart from the odd waiter, bar person, shop assistant etc. And that is fine. After all, why would you travel or take a holiday with someone if you don’t want to spend time with them?
However, travelling on your own gives you more of an opportunity to meet new people, especially other solo travellers. Great places to meet others are on organised tours, bars and in hostels (if you are staying in one of course). The likelihood is the friends you meet while travelling will be from all over the world. Therefore giving you an insight into different cultures and the opportunity to learn new languages.
The Cons of Solo Travel
It Can Get Lonely
Some people are not designed to be on their own for long periods of time including me. Even though I love my own space after a while I do get lonely and need human company. Depending on how confident you are and if you have the opportunity to make friends there is the chance that you will only have yourself for company throughout your whole trip.
Therefore, it is something you need to be prepared for in advance of your trip and if you really do need interaction with other people, maybe you need to consider if solo travel really is for you. Maybe a singles holiday would be better? You still have the freedom to do what you want to do but have the back up of likeminded people there too.
You could get homesick
Getting homesick was something I never thought would affect me. However, it is something that has intensified as the years have gone on and it does set in very quickly when I’m travelling, regardless of if I’m on my own or not. I miss my big, wonderful, comfortable bed, my cats, my friends, my family and most of all – my fantastic husband – Mr ESLT.
When I’m travelling on my own it hits me harder. This because I have no-one with me to remind me of or talk about home. Therefore, whenever I travel on my own, my phone is always bursting with lots of photos of my loved ones. Also, Facetime becomes my best friend.
It Can Be More Expensive
Everyone I know who travels on their own regularly has the same bugbear – that it is usually more expensive. If you are happy to stay in a hostel then you won’t be affected by the difference in price. This is because in the majority of dorms you pay per bed. However, if you prefer to stay in hotels, be prepared to pay a premium.
Very few hotels offer single rooms and if they do the likelihood is you will only get a small discount on the room if you get one at all. More often than not you will be expected to pay the same price for a single room as you would for a double. Therefore, this needs to be factored into your budget when preparing for your trip.
Should You Travel Solo?
I’ve never been one to tell people how to travel but what I will say is that you don’t know you don’t like something until you try it. It is important to think about what you are like as a person and if you have the confidence and more importantly, desire to do it as it’s not for everyone. Whereas for some, it’s the only way to travel.
Do you like to take trips on your own? What pros and cons of solo travel can you throw into the mix? Let us know.
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