Solo travel can be an enriching experience. It is a great way learn about different cultures, the local language, and even make new friends.
Unless I feel it’s necessary, solo travel is really my first choice. I love my travel companions and don’t mind the company, but I won’t cancel my plans if they do. I get on planes and buses alone all the time and I’ve always gone where there’s someone a phone call away, but when I planned my first solo trip to Curacao, I was nervous because I had zero friends and family there.
Many people thought I was crazy for going alone, but they fail to see there are benefits of solo travel. With highs are also lows so if you’re thinking about going away by yourself, here are some advantages and disadvantages of solo travel that you may come across and potential workarounds.
Solo Travel Advantages
Little to no Drama
Why do I love solo travel so much? One of the main advantages of solo travel for me is no drama. I’m not saying there won’t be any crazy airport/airline staff, canceled flights, or lost luggage drama; it happens to everyone at some point or other.
The drama associated with [some] people you travel with is so real. I love traveling with my group of friends and family, but I can’t travel with all of them. This is why it is important to know the travel styles of the people you associate with.
Solo Travel Allows You to Meet New People
Traveling solo does not mean you’re alone. There’s always someone to meet on a solo trip whether you’re in a public place like the beach, a restaurant, a coffee shop, or on a tour group.
Traveling solo encourages you to be social. This opens doors to new friendships, cultural exchange, and unforgettable connections with local people and fellow travelers. You’ll have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, learn from their experiences, and create lifelong memories together. While meeting new people is fun, you should still be alert and use caution.
Solo Travel Gives You Freedom & Flexibility
A significant advantage of solo travel is the freedom flexibility it provides. There is complete control over your itinerary, destinations, and activities on your own terms, at your own pace without hearing any complaints.
There’s no need to compromise with solo travel so you can make spontaneous decisions and change your plans if you want. You can also immerse yourself fully in new experiences without having to consider anyone else’s interests.
Self Discovery and Personal Growth
The biggest benefit of solo travel for me is the personal growth. Part of the travel experience is trying new things. Sometimes “the rush” makes you step out of your comfort zone and you do something different. During the solo time, you learn that you’re a risk-taker, courageous, and pretty awesome.
Remember the first time you took public transportation or even driven in a car by yourself? As nerve-wracking as it was for me, after a few tries, I became more confident. It goes the same as going on a trip abroad. The more you do something, the more experienced you become.
Disadvantages of Solo Travel
Solo Travel Can Sometimes Get Lonely
One of the main disadvantages of solo travel is that it can sometimes be lonely. Although solo travel allows you to meet new people, it’s not the same as being at your dream travel destination with your closest friend or travel partner. Solo travel can lead to moments of loneliness or homesickness during downtime or in unfamiliar surroundings.
If you’re a long-term solo traveler, there may be days when you experience homesickness and miss close friends or family members. To keep in touch, you can always use your smartphone and share texts, pictures, and videos to your friends directly or via social media during your time away.
Solo Travel can be EXPENSIVE
Traveling solo can be more expensive compared to traveling with a group. Rates for hotel rooms and transportation can be pricey when you’re the only one paying for them.
There are ways to reduce some travel expenses, such as opting for shared accommodations, using public transportation, or participating in a group tour or other group activities where available.
Picture Taking can be Annoying
I love taking pictures and showing my travel through my eyes, but there are some days when I want to take that corny touristy photo like the one on Mt. Isabel de Torres. As tired as I am of selfies and selfie sticks, learning to take solo travel pictures has helped. You can also ask someone to take a picture of you or hire a photographer.
One of the biggest cons of solo travel relates to ones safety. Being and staying safe when traveling alone is a big concern especially traveling to a foreign country with language barriers. The term “safety in numbers” is true. You’ll most likely feel safer in a group of trusted friends or family members in an unknown place as being alone makes you an easier target. An extra set of eyes, especially as a solo female traveler would be great, but not always an option.
To combat safety issues, it’s crucial to remain vigilant, stay informed about local customs and potential risks, and take necessary precautions to ensure your well-being. Don’t tell someone you’re traveling alone, where you’re staying, or your travel plans. You can also use a tour company like G-Adventures or Gate 1 that offers group tours for individuals.
Traveling solo is a transformative experience that offers numerous advantages, including freedom, self-discovery, and cultural immersion. However, it’s essential to consider the potential disadvantages.
Ultimately, the decision to embark on a solo adventure depends on your personal preferences, comfort level, and willingness to embrace the challenges and rewarding experience that come with independent travel. So, pack your bags, set out on your own, and let the world become your classroom as you explore new horizons and create memories that will last a lifetime.