Pack your bags, grab your ticket and head off on your next adventure. Seems simple enough right?…… well it can be, but traveling unprepared and uneducated can also be dangerous.
While the thought of traveling alone can seem daunting, it can be an incredibly liberating experience. So much so that once you have experienced it, you may never want to travel with a companion again. Starting off solo does not necessarily mean that you will travel alone. There are many travelers on the road, traveling by themselves for the same reasons you are, which makes it easy to connect.
Traveling alone exposes travelers to people they may never have encountered had they been traveling in a twosome yet it can also be significantly more dangerous than traveling with another person. Below are the pitfalls and joys of solo travel.
The very reason you decided to embark on this trip is to see the world on your own terms, so why have someone holding you back from crafting the very best possible trip for you? Traveling solo affords travelers total flexibility.
Some backpackers prefer to stick to a regimented itinerary while others like to go with the flow. Traveling solo is the ultimate form of self–indulgence as it allows you to do what you want when you want without worrying about the needs of anyone else but you.
Traveling in a group, even in a twosome, can often close oneself off to new experiences and people. As a solo traveler, you are more open to meeting new people along the road and chatting up the locals. Not only will you encounter new and interesting people that you may never have met traveling in a pack but these people will also expose you to some new experiences.
For instance, while traveling solo in Spain I met some Swedish guys who were playing in a beach volleyball tournament and one of their players was injured. I ended up filling in and later flew to Sweden to meet up with them again. I likely would never have gone there had I not been traveling on my own.
Depending on the type of traveler you are, this may be either a positive or negative aspect of traveling on your own. As a solo traveler, you will have long stretches of time where you have no one to talk to.
This is always a good time to reflect upon your life, trip, and what you hope to accomplish once you return home. For some, this may lead to feelings of loneliness while others relish the time away from others.
It’s always nice to have a sounding board to bounce ideas off of; for instance, is this travel agent trying to scam me, is this a good price or is getting into this sketchy car a good idea? When you are traveling alone you need to rely solely on your own instincts.
When traveling alone you always need to be more cognizant of your safety this includes: indulging in sketchy food; having one too many drinks; to traveling to remote regions where there are little to no other travelers. Women should be particularly careful when traveling alone. Some ways to stay safe are:
While it may be exhilarating to meet new people, at the end of the day you return to an empty room and are ultimately by yourself. Undoubtedly, even the most independent travelers have moments where they wish they could share an experience with another individual; whether it’s a mesmerizing sunset or a lonely meal. But don’t sweat it, these moments are few and far between and you will likely have company whether you like it or not.
Since single rooms are generally more expensive than double rooms, solo travelers should be prepared to pay a few extra bucks. Solo travelers can reduce the cost of their accommodation either by finding a roommate or sleeping in a dorm. Generally, sharing the price of a room brings your cost down by half.
It’s always a good idea to negotiate the price of your room beforehand and see if the hostel owner is willing to give you a break.
Don’t let your fear of the unknown keep you from the open road. For more tips on meeting people, see – How to Make New Connections on the Road.