Oh, I love solo travel. It’s a big step at first, but once you go on that first solo-trip, you are hooked. Scheduling solo-trip after solo-trip. If you are still doubting about going: Let this list of pro’s and cons help you decide!
The cons of solo travel: Why you shouldn’t do it
Let me first start with the negative things about traveling solo. This way you don’t get all dreamy before I crush your dreams with negative stuff. Also, ending on a positive note is something other bloggers tell me to do. So yeah, that’s also in play.
It can get lonely
This one is pretty obvious. You can get lonely when traveling solo. This, of course, depends on who you are. Some people need other people around them to feel good. Others, like myself, love to have some time for themselves. So this is a bit of a personal thing. But no matter who you are, if you are traveling alone for a longer time, you will experience lonely moments. And that’s okay!
Solution: Book hostels so you meet new friends easily. Or fly in a friend once in a while when you are gone for a longer period.
It can get more dangerous
Being alone can be more dangerous. It all depends on where you are and what you do. Going by yourself at night in a known bad neighborhood is asking for trouble. So, research the locations you’re going.
Solution: text friends where you are going. Or ask the people at the reception what they think of certain places.
You have short friendships (and relationships)
On those solo-trips, you will definitely make new friends. However, it’s sometimes a friendship for a day, a couple of days or only a week. And that’s perfectly fine. It’ just something that sometimes can become an issue because you don’t have those running jokes that actually run for a while or deeper conversation with someone that knows you.
Solution: Call and text your friends regularly. Or try to open up more easily to people, if you are extroverted like that.
Some activities are cheaper to do in a group. Sometimes it’s possible to join a group as a solo person, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes you need to be with a (small) group to even be able to do an experience. For example, you won’t get a helicopter-ride for just you.
Solution: be active in (Facebook-)groups for solo-travelers. Often there are ways to connect with people in the same area, so you can do activities together.
No-one to share experiences with
Doing new activities and seeing new places is a lot of fun. Often it’s even more fun if you can do all that with someone you really like. When going alone it’s perfectly fine and possible to enjoy it by yourself. Sometimes you will feel a bit lonely and would like to share experiences with friends.
Solution: Bring your new friends or just realize it’s perfectly fine to enjoy these things by yourself too.
Higher costs for hotel rooms
If you’re not staying at a hostel, it’s often more expensive to travel solo. You can’t find a lot of hotels with bedrooms for just one person. Often it’s a double room. So you pay for that extra space. Normally you split that price with your friends, but now it’s all on your account.
Solution: Sleep in hostels and share your dorms. Often it’s much cheaper than a hotel. And an extra plus is making new friends more easily.
You have to do all the research
When going with friends, usually you have your specialty. One is better in picking out restaurants, the other loves researching the museums and when they are free, and that one friend that seems to find all the speakeasies. Now you have to find everything yourself.
Solution: Enjoy your possibility to only pick the things you really want to do!
Eating by yourself
Eating by yourself can be daunting for some people. Especially the first time it isn’t easy. Sitting in a restaurant where everyone is chatting to someone at their table, and you’re there, all by yourself.Solution: I have an entire blog post dedicated to this ‘problem’. Find the solutions here.
Some people might think you’re weird
Or at least, you think people think you’re weird. No-one actually thinks it. Most people on the street, in restaurants and at museums aren’t even paying attention to you. They look at what they are doing.
Solution: Try to not care what people think of you. You will never see them again anyway.
The pros of solo travel: Why you should do it
So, we discussed the cons of traveling alone, so it’s only fair I now update you with all the pro reasons.
You’re own planning
Going on a trip with friends means you have to take their choices and preferences in consideration too. Traveling alone means you don’t have to do any of that. Just do what you want to do, eat where you want to eat, and go to bed as early or late as you want.
It’s not necessary to go on a trip with a couple to be the third wheel. Sometimes, if you go with an uneven amount of friends, you are the odd one out. Or someone is. Walking on the streets with three next to each other is annoying, so one of you has to walk in front or in the back.
Technically, you are traveling alone at that moment. So why not do it for the entire trip anyway.
You get time to think (instead of talk)
Going with friends means you’re constantly chatting. About that day, the trip, or other things that happened in the past. All of that is great, and you should regularly try to do that. However, sometimes it’s a good thing to just walk around and observe. Think about things, and not just say things to keep a conversation going.
You find new ways to solve things
Traveling solo means new ‘problems’, which also means new solutions. You will look at things differently. You don’t have a friend to talk you through things or to confirm your decision (even if it was a bad one).
You make new friends easier
Being alone makes you want to talk to other people easier, and also makes you more approachable. Go to the bar of the hostel, where the other solo travelers hang out. You will notice you will be in a conversation within the hour.
Hostel conversation starters:
- Oh, where did you get that souvenir?
- Have you been into town already? What can you recommend?
- Where are you going next?
- Do you know good places to grab some food?
You get more confidence solving and doing things by yourself
Being alone means you will do things you might otherwise let friends do. Acing them will help you build more confidence. And even failing will help you. Next time you see a problem, you will know how to solve. And you will feel awesome about it!
Knowing you can book a hotel, buy tickets in a foreign country, and do activities all by yourself without the help of anyone else. It’s such a great feeling!
Personal growth by getting to know yourself
You will get to know yourself. How you react in certain situations. What your own thoughts are at certain events. If you do a solo-trip on a regular, you will get to know yourself. How you react and what you really like to do.
You decide what to spend money on
This is a bit of an extension to the planning point I made earlier. You’re only doing the things you like to do. This means you also only have to spend money on the things you want to spend money on. No admission fees to museums you don’t really care about, eating at those restaurants where you pick something off the menu because your friend desperately wants to try a dish there.
I know, this point was also one of the cons. But hear me out! When eating alone you’re actually focussing on the food. Not on the conversation you’re having with your friend. You get to experience the taste so much more intensely. You will enjoy your food even more!
You don’t stand out (no vendors speak to you)
If you are walking the streets alone, you stand out less. The street vendors that try to sell power banks, umbrella’s, or whatever other crap they have, will be less likely to approach you. People walking alone seem like locals to them. And locals don’t get their stuff from scruffy street vendors.
*throws another one of those light helicopters in the air*
Related blog posts:
- The 10 commandments of a road trip
- A bike trip checklist: what to bring on a trip by bike
- How packing cubes can improve your traveling experience
- Things not to do in a hostel
- 7 essential tips for your first solo adventure