For me, travelling solo is no biggie. I love it and I’m totally used to it (having done most of my travel abroad alone). I’m not saying it wasn’t scary at first, it absolutely was! I remember the first time I travelled solo. I planned to spend 2 months in South East Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand). I flew into Bangkok late in the evening and got a taxi to the hotel I booked – usually I’ll book a hotel for 1 or 2 nights at the beginning of a trip (to ease into things), and 1 or 2 nights at the end (to sleep in a comfy bed and have an amazing shower or bath after being on the road for a month or two!). I woke up the next morning and looked out the window onto the bustling streets of Bangkok and my stomach dropped. I’d been to Bangkok before a couple of years earlier and travelled around for a month or so, but I wasn’t solo then. I thought “Fire truck! I can’t go out there by myself! You idiot, you have 2 months of travelling solo, what were you thinking?!” … then I thought “suck it up, get out there, and enjoy it” – and I never looked back. Of course I still get nervous sometimes travelling solo, but for the most part, I absolutely love it.
So do you think you can travel solo? Here’s five things to consider before travelling alone …
Are you comfortable and happy in your own company? Or do you generally need lots of people around you? Whilst one of the things I love about travelling alone is that you meet loads of new people, there’ll be times when it’s just you. Do you think you’ll be ok with that?
If you need to have lots of people around you, are you up for “putting yourself out there”? Travelling solo sometimes means walking up to a table of people (or even just one person) and starting up a conversation. Is that something you’re cool with?
In those times that you’re alone, all you’ve got is time to think. Sometimes your thoughts might drift off into some new and unchartered territory in your brain. It can be a bit confronting at times. Have you got the strength to deal with what might come up?
Being a woman travelling solo can be a bit more of a challenge (than for you menfolk). A single woman travelling alone will generally get more attention – from men (especially in Latin America) and sometimes other women think you’re a bit crazy! Have you got some tactics in mind to deal with that?
When you’re travelling solo, it means being much more vigilant with your belongings because you don’t have a mate to keep another set of eyes on things. Sometimes this means for example, going to the bathroom with eeeeverything you’re carrying! Another reason to travel light, especially when you’re going alone.
Now I’m not saying the points above are pros or cons of travelling solo, but they’re things you need to think about. I’ve inspired and encouraged a lot of friends to try travelling solo. For some it’s worked, and some it hasn’t. For me it’s the perfect way to travel:
I can do what I want, when I want – it’s the ultimate feeling of freedom;
if I don’t feel like talking to anyone, I don’t have to – perfect for those days you feel like being anti-social; and
it’s such a great way to build confidence – the first solo trip I did, I felt like I could conquer the world! I could do anything and I didn’t need anyone!
But of course, the only way you can really find out whether travelling alone is for you is to try it! So get out there and explore this wonderful world we live in!