“You’re going by yourself?” This is a question that I receive often when sharing my travel plans. Yes, as a 23-year-old woman, I travel alone. The world will quickly pass you by if you wait for a friend, family member, or significant other to accompany you..a world that you may never get to see. Your friends may never have the same holiday schedule or paid time off as you. Some people’s budgets may never match yours. We are guaranteed no days on this Earth. Why wait? I would like to dedicate my first blog post to the subject of solo travel. I will share the pros and cons, as well as my experiences.
Why would you ever travel alone? Well, let’s start a list.
- Freedom and Flexibility: You have the complete freedom and flexibility to create an itinerary made just for YOU. You can choose to wake up before 6 am to see a beautiful sunrise over the river. You can choose activities, such as art museums, that your friends/family may not be interested in. It is your trip, and you are on your own time.
- Making New Friends: If you are an extrovert, this will be extremely easy for you. You make friends everywhere you go. What if you are an introvert, much like myself, though? Solo travel forces you to break out of that shell. I have made tons of friends on my solo travels. I took various tours and stayed in hostels. By doing that, you are guaranteed to meet new people that you may have otherwise overlooked. Friends often provide a comfort zone and safety net. FORCE yourself to step out of it, and you will be amazed.
- Self-Reflection: “If you are never alone, you cannot know yourself.” – Paulo Coelho. Solo travel is one of the best spiritual and meditative/reflective times in your life. You truly will get to know yourself in the process. You will gain an understanding of what you like, dislike, what brings you joy, what brings you discomfort, etc. You will connect with your inner self.
- Yes, it can get lonely: Going back to your room at night alone, eating dinner alone, seeing that sight alone. These aren’t exactly fun, but they are a part of the process.
- No Friend Photographers: You have no one to get that amazing photo of you on the 15th try. You may have laughed at this bullet point, but we all want that glorious Instagram photo. You feel more comfortable asking a friend to take it than you would a stranger, and you don’t want to be annoying. It is okay though; you will make new friends who will get the right angles! You can also practice those foreign language skills.
- There aren’t any: The cons listed here are almost like that interview question, “What is one of your weaknesses?” You answer it by transforming that weakness into a strength. There are no cons to solo travel, in my opinion. The very least you can do is TRY!
- Is traveling alone unsafe? The simple answer is no. Exercise the same caution that you would at home. Don’t walk around with a ton of valuables, especially in blatant sight. Keep your passport and some cash or cards in a safe in your room. I traveled to Bogota, Colombia alone and never once felt unsafe. Be smart!
- What destinations do you recommend? Whatever your heart desires! I have traveled to Spain alone, for a study abroad. I have traveled to Colombia and Costa Rica completely alone, but I met up with some friends from my study abroad. I traveled to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam semi-alone. (It was a group tour) I suggest that you just go somewhere that you have always wanted to go.
This is a photo from one of my many solo adventures. Yep, that’s me up there!
Would you travel alone? Where would you go? What’s holding you back? Feel free to leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you!