Unless I feel it’s necessary, solo travel is really my first choice. I don’t mind the company, but I won’t cancel my plans if my travel buddy does. 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 solo trip to Curacao, I was concerned because I had zero friends and family there. Many people think I’m crazy for going alone, but they fail to see there are advantages of solo travel. If you’re thinking about going away by yourself, here are some advantages and disadvantages of solo travel that you may come across and possible workarounds you can use.
There is Little to no Drama in Solo Travel
Why do I love solo travel so much? Almost every point circles back to no drama for me. 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 the other. The drama associated with [some] people you travel with is so real. I love traveling with friends and family, but I can’t travel with all of them.
Solo Travel Can Sometimes Feel Lonely, but You Meet New People
Coming from a big family, I like my own space, but I do tend to miss my family members when going away. Along with the ‘no more than 5 consecutive days unless approved’ rule at work, I tend to not be gone for more than a week. Yes, you get to meet and greet new people, but it’s not the same as being at your dream destination with your closest friend. To keep in touch, you can always use your smartphone and share texts, pictures, and videos. Traveling solo does not mean you’re alone. There’s always someone to meet on a solo trip especially in public places like the beach, restaurant, coffee shop, or group tour. While meeting new people is fun, you should still stay alert and use caution.
Solo Travel Gives You Freedom
I have six brothers and sisters, so I definitely know how it is to not have my own space. When traveling solo, you have the freedom to do whatever you want WHENEVER you want. You can plan your own itinerary and make changes as you wish without regrets or complaints.
You can Spend Less money, but Solo Travel can be EXPENSIVE
This depends on the type of person you are. There are some people that don’t stick to their budget when traveling with others. There’s nothing wrong with bringing extra money just in case, but splitting the bill if you don’t drink and the person you’re traveling with does? Not happening on a solo trip. It also is much cheaper staying in a hostel or Airbnb versus a hotel any day. Almost all of the deals you see on Groupon and LivingSocial include an extra $200-300 or more if you’re travel solo. There have been very few that didn’t include this. Even if you’re using travel sites, you’re bound to pay more when you’re staying in a hotel. Accommodation alternative sites are a great option to save money. Just do your research as you would if you were choosing a hotel.
You Gain Confidence Traveling Solo
This pertains to more than just going on a solo trip. 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.
You Discover Yourself
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.
Picture Taking can be Annoying
Unless I’m brave, I have little to no pictures of myself when I go away. 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, selfie sticks or learning to take solo travel pictures has helped. You can also be brave and ask someone to take a picture or hire a photographer.
The term “safety in numbers” is true. You’ll always feel safe in a group of trusted friends or family members wherever you go. An extra set of eyes, especially as a female traveler would be great, but not always an option.