I have now done my fair share of Solo travelling and although I admit it can sometimes be difficult, it is somewhat enjoyable as well. Ok my travels alone have only been around European and Philippine cities and have yet to try a more nomadic and backpacking type of experience, but travelling alone have the same hurdles and pleasure whatever the territory may be. I have encountered many people whether friends, families and colleagues who question the experience of travelling alone. Many feel they wouldn’t be able to survive, some say it wouldn’t be enjoyable, others feel too scared to try and many envisage loneliness whilst traveling. All I could say is “you wont know until you’ve tried”, I know many people including myself who wouldn’t even think of the idea of going away alone but for those who did really enjoyed it and appreciated the experience.
What stops people?
There is many reasons to why people are hesitant to travel alone many that are actually true (makes sense) and some just a state of mind. Most frequent reasons are:
- Have got many people to go with, why travel alone?
- Will get lost
- Safety (especially for female travellers)
- Boredom, no one to talk to
- Nobody to take my pictures
- Dining alone
- and many more…
All the above are reasons I have heard from so many people in many occasions, non of the reasons are wrong, its just the way you look at it.
Firstly, why would you travel alone? Yes, why would you? if you have plenty people to go with, it doesn’t make sense. However in the current world many of us, our families and friends work, and we all know it is very difficult syncing leave (holiday) dates with each other, so there are times that the date you really want or prefer cannot be taken as you’ve got nobody to go with. Further more your friends and family may have no interest what so ever in a place you want to visit. Whatever the reason, there are times where you may be better off travelling alone but too ashamed to admit it. Travelling alone is nothing to be embarrassed about and more and more people are doing it across the world whether male or female, young and old.
Another main reason that people are resistant travelling alone is because of the social aspect. Simple reasons such as nobody to talk to, no-one to take photos, do activities or to dine with are expressed a lot as negatives to travelling by yourself. Many Solo travellers will tell you that these reason will only be true, if you let it be true. Travelling alone will encourage more interaction with strangers, some of which are solo travellers as well. There are increasing amount of young people who travel by themselves purposely to meet new people, they are everywhere and you can tell who are alone, usually lone travellers are very approachable. After meeting new people it is then that you will have company to dine, do activities and much more. In conclusion, there is plenty of ways connecting with other travellers if you find yourself bored being alone, its just the way you act about it.
The only aspect of being companionless which I hate to admit is true, is the fact that it can be unsafe and make you vulnerable to theft. However this aspect can be true whether you are by yourself or not, vulnerability is just higher when alone, all you need is extra care and everything will be fine.
Why everyone should try travelling Solo?
Solo travelling is something you full heartedly want to do, not something that you have to do. However I do believe that everyone should travel alone at least once in in their life, to gain and appreciate the experience whether the outcome is positive or negative.
My personal reasons I think travelling alone is sometimes good are:
- You get to visit places at your own time and pace
- Do and eat whatever you want with no compromising
- Meet new people
- Learn and experience travelling independently
- and many more
First reason I always tell people why they should try travelling alone is that “you go places at your own time and pace”, especially at airports I have noticed some individuals are early birds whilst others like to be there just at the right time. This is no difference to the holiday or travel itself, I have noticed that the larger the group the slower places are visited as breaks, rests and stopovers are more frequent, maybe its you who cant handle the pace or others that fall behind. So going at it alone, there will be nobody to wait for and you can stop whenever you want.
“No need to Compromise” is another reason to go alone. Everybody has to admit that travelling with others especially a big group has many positives but also has its problems. As every individual has different opinions, preferences and budgets, travel plans may need to be compromised for food, activities, transport and other arrangements. By yourself all plans and decisions are made by you and nobody else, there will be no regrets and “what if’s” should anything go wrong with the trip.
Another perk in travelling alone is the chance to “meet new people”. Although you can do so with companions, being alone increases self encouragement to go out and meet locals and other travellers to converse. This is overseen when within a big group, as friends and families are more inclined to stick together, with the exceptions of bars and clubs. In my opinion, it is easier to approach or even be approached when alone on your journey.
Inevitably travelling solo will increase your independence in many aspects such as location finding, money handling, conversing and others alike. You have to admit that in a group there will always be some more active and dominant, whilst others like to be the observant type and just follow the actions of their companions. Furthermore there will be the character that love to do the talking on the trip, another that likes doing the budgets and others take charge orienteering. When alone everything is left to yourself and whatever your weaknesses in travelling (eg, direction finding, conversing) will definitely improve as there is nobody to depend on.
In Conclusion there are both positives and negatives to travelling alone, for those who have done it admit hardship but always recommend it as it is a very unique experience. I personally believe everyone should try it if you are looking for an easy relaxing holiday wanting to learn about different countries and cultures, however for a more action packed party type holiday then go with companions. Ultimately nobody can force you to travel alone and only you decide whether you want to try it.