Whether you have a vast travelling experience or not, there must have been a moment in your life when you thought about organizing a solo trip. To have an adventure, figure out something in your head or get lost for a while – everybody has his own reasons. Traveling solo is no joke. You spend the majority of your days with yourself. You should not be afraid of travelling alone as long as you are making sure you care about your safety. But you must stay aware of the benefits and disadvantages of these specific types of travels. As everything in life, they have two sides. Let’s begin with the cons.
- Traveling solo is lonely.
People don’t often talk about it, but the truth is that traveling by yourself can be incredibly isolating. Whether it’s just for a few days or even a few months, you don’t have anyone with you to talk about your bad day, celebrate accomplishments, or share an experience. You will inevitably miss everyone — friends, family, significant others, even random people. This deep sadness causes some people to either head back home, or look for comfort in the wrong places.
The danger intensifies.
One person traveling alone is much easier to target for a mugging, or worse, than a group. If you get stuck in a sticky situation, your only friends are “me, myself and I,” which, depending on the scenario, may not amount to much.
- Friendship becomes temporary.
During your travelling you will meet lots of new people. When you travel alone for an extended period of time, the list goes on and on. And, while meeting new people is a wonderful experience, it’s also a bit disappointing when you realize that many of the strong relationships you forge with others while traveling easily turn into dust when you’re no longer in the same place. Impermanence is a deeply embedded truth of life, but it can still hit you with immense force when you experience it.
- Solo travel are more expensive.
Traveling alone makes it harder to negotiate on the price for a place to stay, because group prices always reduce total costs. But you can still use the moment and share some expenses with other travelers you meet. For example, when looking for a company to trek the mountain, search for a company in forums – prices are regularly about $50 more if you tagged along with an existing group versus if you already had one of your own.
Here come the pros:
- You get to decide your own schedule.
Traveling alone drastically reduces the drama of having to decide where to spend your day today – reading a book on the beach or partying till sunrise. The point is, when you travel alone, you are in charge of what you do, when you do it, and who you do it with, which is incredibly liberating! When you’re solo, there’s no wasted time trading and negotiating some experiences for others because you decide your itinerary from beginning to end.
- You have time to think.
When you don’t have someone constantly talking a whole lot of nonsense, you have a seemingly infinite amount of time to spend with your thoughts and emotions. This can be immensely helpful if you’re someone frequently bombarded with stimulation. You can think of countless ideas while just relaxing. Having the ability to be by yourself, work through personal problems, and find solitary modes of happiness is truly a gift.
- Discomfort increases.
If you encounter someone, or something, that makes you uncomfortable, solo travel is such that you won’t be able to shoot a glance at a friend and mouth, “What. The. Hell.” You’re on your own, which means that you’re going to become far more uncomfortable in far more situations than if you had a friend around. Being uncomfortable stretches who you are, and causes you to adapt, change, and grow in ways that you never imagined were possible. Without discomfort, progress becomes impossible.
- You make more friends.
We’ve talked about temporary friendships above, but anyway making friends is always joyful. It’s up to you, and them, how your friendship grows or dies, after you part. Being alone makes you a magnet for other solo travelers, who may be looking for friends. It also forces you to be a little more outgoing, if you’re looking to meet new people. Regardless of who and how you are, it’s extremely difficult to travel alone and not meet people.
- Traveling alone makes you responsible.
Arguably the biggest pro of solo travel is that you cultivate a strong sense of self-reliance. Traveling alone forces you to summon up a certain amount of courage in order to go places, get things done, and navigate your way through all of the unpredictable situations that travel will place you in. When you’re on that flight back home, you will undoubtedly be different than who you were — one hopes stronger, smarter, and more open-minded.
The only way you’ll know if a solo travel is for you is to try one. But, before you make a choice, think it through properly.