The short answer in my opinion, is yes…
But my opinion of solo travel is one of thousands and my experiences are totally unique to me.
Of course solo travelling isn’t for everyone, but I’ve never heard someone say they regret doing it. Whether it went swimmingly or tits up, you learn, you grow and you’ll be thankful for what it taught you. You will never be the same again after solo travelling and for most, it’s the pinnacle event in their self development.
For this post I’ve asked some of my travel girlfriends (faces you may recognise) to share their experiences of solo travel with you, in hope you obtain a a better idea of what challenges and personal journeys may lie ahead for you…
So many things! I guess the amazing combo of freedom, motivation and newfound confidence that it brought. It’s an amazing feeling when you realise you can do whatever you want, when you want. But in order to live life to the full on your solo travels you need to push yourself to try new things, make new friends and let yourself go!
Loneliness. I think it’s one of the hardest parts about travelling solo. Everyone needs a bit of alone time, but extended periods without anyone to chat to can be really challenging.
It can be easy to lose a bit of confidence when you’re feeling lonely or homesick, but the best thing I found was to put a brave face on and strike up a conversation with anyone who would listen! The guy at the hostel reception, in the bar, at the restaurant etc. In hostels in particular, there were always others travelling solo and often they were just as desperate for some company as I was!
Don’t be an idiot. It might sound harsh, but I haven’t had any major issues while travelling solo, and I think it’s because I’ve erred on the side of caution! I don’t tend to walk down dark alleys at 4am on my own or accept drinks from strangers. It doesn’t have to stop you from having fun, but listen to your gut.
Relax and be yourself! Even if you’re the shyest girl on the planet, you’ll still make friends. I’d recommend researching accommodation to find places that have a social atmosphere. Definitely look for a hostel rather than a hotel, but remember some hostels are better than others for meeting people. Look for one with a bar or communal space and listings of tours or social activities.
My solo adventures have been my most rewarding ones! Every day I was away I felt I achieved something, learned new things and developed more confidence, patience and the happy-go-lucky attitude I have today! It’s something I think everyone should do, and while it may feel daunting, I promise you’ll return so happy you did it!
I’ve travelled both as a couple (with my ex) and single, and what I really loved about going solo was discovering exactly who I am and what I’m capable of. There’s nothing like being confronted with vast amounts of total freedom to make you realise exactly what kind of person you are and what you want to do!
I’m naturally very shy and can get very uncomfortable in social situations, especially around new people. It’s still so scary to me to arrive at a hostel where I don’t know anyone and try to make friends.
Honestly, it’s all just down to practice. The more times you do it, the more you know you can do it. I still get scared every time I have to meet new people or step out of my comfort zone, but I just remind myself of all the times I’ve done it before and how well it’s always worked out.
Do research! Know the areas to avoid in advance and be aware of any common travel scams in an area. And just keep your wits about you. Most of being safe is just using your common sense. Don’t go down empty roads at night and don’t wander around with tons of cash in your bag. If you’re not sure about an area, ask a local, preferably someone working at your hotel or in a restaurant.
Be prepared to say yes to anything. Just keep an open mind and try to be ready for anything. If someone asks you to dinner or if you want to go on a tour with them, just say yes. My instinct is often to say no because I like to avoid awkward situations like going out with someone I just met… but if you say yes you may just wind up making an amazing friend or having a crazy adventure!
When I broke up with my ex two years ago I was a mess. We’d been together six years and all I really knew was how to be one half of that relationship. I wasn’t really my own person, and I was terrible at doing things for myself, or making my own decisions. After I started travelling solo, I really began to discover who I was and what I could do. I was forced to make decisions for myself and figure everything out for myself. And I also found that I was much better at doing things for myself than my ex ever had been; I was stronger and more confident without him. It was such an important discovery for me and over the past couple of years I’ve learnt so much about myself and what I want.
The freedom to do exactly as you please every day and not worry about anyone else.
Having the same conversations with new people over and over again. Not having someone around who really knew me and who I could share in jokes, or history with.
I travelled solo for two years but in my third year I mixed it up with travelling with friends and actually travelling to places where I knew friends would be.
If the situation doesn’t feel right don’t be afraid to leave, however much it might cost you financially or by looking disrespectful.
Join a tour for a day or two and be the first person to make a move. Look up from your phone and get chatting!
Travelling solo helped me to get through a difficult break up. It also helped me to see more of the world than I ever thought possible, and to make many friends along the way. It also taught be a lot about myself and to be perfectly happy in my own company, which I think is a very important lesson for anyone to learn.
Though my experience was minimal, I really did enjoy the opportunity to go at my own pace.
What I found difficult was being a little lonely, having lunch on my own, having no one to have a drink with and no one to appreciate beautiful experiences with. I experienced solo travel on a press trip (with work) so it was only for a weekend. Had I experienced it for longer or in a different environment it may well have been different.
Personally, from the small taste that I had of solo travel, it wasn’t for me. It certainly made me appreciate having people to be able to travel with so all in all it was a positive learning curve.
What did you think about the experience? I’d love to know!
Love as always and happy adventuring,
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