Why You Shouldn’t Travel Solo:
I love traveling solo. It’s my preferred way to travel hands down. I don’t even bother to ask friends or family if they want to join me somewhere, I just book the flight and go. I love it and I recommend it to everyone but…yeah, here comes the BUT. But, I know that solo travel isn’t for everyone and I know it isn’t always amazing every moment of every day. There have even been times when I, yes I, have wished I had a travel partner. So should you or shouldn’t you travel solo? Here are a few reasons why people don’t travel solo…followed by a few reasons why they do.
Solo Travel Can Be More Expensive
When you travel with a group or with a partner you have the benefit of splitting things. You can split your meals or qualify for group prices. You can split the cost of a room. All that good stuff. It’s also nice to know that if you’re ever running low on funds you have someone that could spot you a few bucks. It’s not unheard of for banks to surprise travelers by putting a hold on their accounts in the middle of their trip. This has happened to me about half a dozen times. Not fun.
Also, if you get pickpocketed or you just up and forget your wallet on a park bench. You won’t be forced to beg for change on the street if you have a travel partner that is willing to help you out.
Real-life Example: I met two young women who were traveling together. Woman #1 had lost her credit card and they were both traveling on Woman #2’s dime until Woman #1’s mother could wire her some money. All was well until Woman #2 lost her credit card too…
You’re going to have so many adventures when you travel. You’ll paraglide, feed elephants, climb the Eiffel Tower or maybe bet it all, and lose it all, in Las Vegas. You’ll be having an amazing time and at some point, you may wish you had someone to share it with. Someone who could take part in your “You had to be there…” moments. You don’t have that when you travel solo.
Of course, you’ll meet people on your trip. You’ll make friends, hang out, grab lunch and go on day trips together but unless they drop everything and decide to become your travel buddy, you’ll eventually say your goodbyes. When you do, you’ll be back to collecting memories that can only be shared through pictures and videos.
(Goodness, I didn’t mean to make this one sound so depressing.)
Real-Life Example: I went paragliding for the very first time in Interlaken, Switzerland. It was the most terrifying and exhilarating thing I had ever done. It was a pretty big deal for me because heights Freak Me Out. But I did it…and no one was there (except for a bunch of strangers and the guy I was strapped too) to see me have this personal triumph. I didn’t even have pictures.
Safety Can’t Be Guaranteed
Things happen. Bad things. Good things. And all the things in between. Anything can happen, anywhere, and to anyone. When you travel solo, you are entirely responsible for your safety. You have to protect your things and yourself without the comfort of knowing someone you trust has your back or at least will know right away if you go missing.
Now, don’t let me freak you out. I believe women can and should travel solo and that they can be safe while doing so. Women have different concerns when we travel but there are things we can do to minimize the risks. There are also plenty of places where solo female travelers can frolic to their heart’s content and reasonably expect to be safe. But still, I would be full of it if I didn’t put safety on the list because I know this particular topic is what trips many people up when they consider traveling solo.
Real-Life Example: I am very happy to say I don’t have a real life example for this. I have traveled on my own for years and I have never been robbed or assaulted. I never even been in a situation where I thought I would be robbed or assaulted. The world isn’t all rainbows and candy, but there also aren’t predators lurking around every corner. There are destinations that are perfect for solo female travelers and there are safety items you can pack to help protect yourself.
Why You Should Travel Solo:
You don’t have to compromise on what you want or where you want to go. If you want to make a pit stop in Chiang Mai before heading to Laos, then do it! No one is going to tell you that you can’t. If you want to scrap the whole itinerary and just do what feels right in the moment then Do It! You don’t have to run your choices by anyone. You don’t have to ask if they agree or if they think you’re acting like a Looney Tune. You can do whatever you want. (As long as you follow the laws of the country.)
When you travel with others you have to be willing to compromise because unless you’re really lucky your travel companions may not want to follow your every whim. They might want to do things you have no interest in and vice versa they might not have any interest in the activities you want to do. Who needs the stress, irritation or the potential arguments that can come from that?
That’s part of the reason solo travel is so addicting. You get to spend every day doing exactly what you want to do. Eating what you want to eat. And experiencing what you want to experience. How many people have that kind of freedom for five minutes, let alone a whole vacation.
Forced Out Of Your Comfort Zone
This could be an introvert thing but when you travel solo you gotta peek your head out of that shell, little turtle. You have to force yourself to talk to people, invite others to lunch, ask for directions, suggest they join you on a day trip, etc.
When you travel with others you don’t have to do any of those things, and I bet you don’t. You already have lunch companions. You already made day trip plans with your friends. You already have people to talk to. So you don’t have to make any real effort to meet people, which is a shame because you miss out on the amazing new friends you could have had.
Being forced out of my shell wasn’t always comfortable, and there were times I had to be pried out, but I don’t regret it for a second. Some of my best travel stories start with a “Hey, mind if I join you?” and some of yours could too. You’ll make friends, some of them for life, all over the world.
You Can Be Yourself
There’s something totally liberating about being miles away from everyone who knows you. You’re suddenly free of all the roles you have to play. The Perfect Employee, the Perfect This, the Perfect That. You’re in a completely new place where no one knows who you’re supposed to be. You can re-invent yourself. Be someone else for a little while or…
You can just be you.
Maybe it’s just me, but the only time I ever really feel like me is when I’m traveling. I don’t have to shoulder the burden of anyone’s expectations. I can just spend my days doing what I love with only me to answer to. That is one of the gifts of solo travel: freedom to be yourself.
Find Out How Strong You Really Are
Some don’t think they can travel solo. They don’t think they could have a good time with only themselves for company. They don’t think they are brave enough to go it alone. Then, they travel solo for the first time and those ideas are tossed into the toilet where they belong.
Solo travel shows you what you’re made of. It shows you how strong you really are. You set out by yourself ready to face whatever the road throws at you. Language barriers. Bank problems. Persistent strangers. Being lost. Feeling lonely. Being tired. Getting fed up. You rose to every challenge, you collected a few life-altering memories that changed the way you viewed the world, and then you came back home and got ready to do it all again.
That is amazing. I’m serious. My fellow solo female travelers, you are amazing. I used to scoff when people said that, but now I see that it does take a certain measure of courage to set out on your own, whether it’s for two weeks or two years.
And that is the ultimate gift of solo travel: the strength it reveals within yourself.
There You Have It
These are a few of the main reasons why people don’t want to travel solo and they are valid reasons but don’t forget all the reasons why they do. Traveling solo is an amazing, addicting experience that I recommend to women of all flavors. So Good Luck and Happy Travels!