Unlike all those “ten reasons why you should…” posts on thought catalog, I’m going to break away from the template and shed some light on the downside of travelling solo. A little heads up on what to expect. None of the following reasons should discourage you from travelling solo, for they can be easily mitigated. But if you still choose not to, it’s understandable. Solo travel is not for everyone.
Unless you’re some martial arts expert, travelling solo undoubtedly translates to increased vulnerability. The world can be a dangerous place at times.
Tip: Make friends with other solo travellers and head out in a group. Get an international sim card and save the numbers of local authorities to your contacts. If available, you should also save the numbers of your embassy and the tourist police. For ladies who are concerned of travelling solo, here’s a comforting fact. Most of the solo travellers I met on my trip were actually WOMEN
2) Eating alone
“Table for one?” says the waiter with a big smirk across his face. An all too familiar experience for most solo travellers dining out. Couple that with the occasional glance from the group at the table across you or worse being sandwiched between two tables with large groups, dining out is can be too much of a hassle to many. Due to the above reasons and the price of restaurants, most solo travellers prefer to eat takeaway.
Tip: Fret not, there is a wide variety of delicious takeaways and street food in most countries. But if you’re in a gastronomic capital such as Paris, do yourself a favour and endure dining alone in a restaurant. The food will more than make up for any inconvenience you’ve put yourself through.
3) Shared Experiences
One of the downsides of travelling alone is that most of your travel experiences will be shared with people from various corners of the globe. There’ll be no one back home whom you can roll back the good times with over a pint.
Tip: It’s the opinion of many that relationships formed while travelling are transient. It doesn’t always have to be the case. Keep in contact with your new-found friends and develop the relationship. There’s no excuse not to, social platforms has made it significantly easier to do just that! Who knows? Both of you might embark on a trip together in the future.
You’ll be inundated with boredom on long train/bus/plane journeys during a solo trip.
Tip: Seize this opportunity to hold a conversation with strangers. They’re probably as bored as you. If you grow tired of talking to people or you’re simply shy, bring a good book or download a few movies on your phone to help you get through the journey.
A night out hitting the clubs and bars is not exactly feasible if you’re travelling solo. The last thing you want is to be inebriated and alone in a foreign country. You don’t want to wake up in a drain on the other side of the city do you? And that’s the best case scenario.
Tip: Assuming you’ve no trust issues and really want to experience the local nightlife, make friends with like-minded solo travellers and head out together. Some cities have an organized pub crawl to make it easier and somewhat safer for all you party animals!
Travelling solo ultimately incurs higher costs. You can’t take advantage of economies of scale. 2 for 1 deals, splitting cab fare, shared toiletries and many other things are all out of the question. No cost savings for you 🙁
Tip: Similar to the previous tips, make friends with fellow solo travellers and enjoy cost-savings!
A major pet peeve of solo travellers. Every traveller wants an awesome picture at that iconic building/structure/place to show everyone back home. When you travel alone, getting that picture is all the more difficult. There’s only so much you can capture with a hand held selfie.
Tip: Get a selfie stick. Too bad they weren’t readily available when I travelled solo across Europe! If you don’t want to look like a fool, ask a stranger to help you take the picture. Be warned their kindness only entitles you to a single shot. It’s take it or delete it.
8) Getting lost
Personally, I enjoy getting lost. It’s an adventure. I see it as a chance to discover hidden parts of a city/place. Without a second opinion, be prepared to get lost more often than not.
Tip: EMBRACE IT!
If you’re an impulsive shopper, you’ll find yourself with more stuff than your luggage can hold. Travelling solo means you can’t shove the excess stuff into your friend’s luggage.
Tip: Either fork out for added baggage or learn to pack more efficiently. Have you heard of packing squares and bags? Check them out!
In terms of costs and value for money, accommodation options for the solo traveller is mainly limited to the hostel dorm. Single board hotel rooms are rare and more expensive than double sharing hotel rooms per person generally. But hey, staying in a hostel dorm might turn out to be the defining moment of your trip!
Tip: Fork out the extra for a hotel room. A cheaper alternative would be booking a single room via *Airbnb* or a private room in a hostel/guesthouse.
*Get 25 USD credit when you book through this link*
Travelling solo remains the most exciting thing I’ve ever done! Would I do it again? YES DEFINITELY!
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