Last updated on April 23rd, 2017 at 05:03 pm
To start with, Solo travel has two facets to it; one – it can be a matter of choice, where a person prefers or wants to try the experience of traveling solo in spite of having friends and family to accompany as travel companions. The other side of solo travel is the person has no travel companion to take along – it’s solo travel by default if you will.
Whether by will or destiny, solo travel has its advantages and disadvantages. After having gone through a huge number of travel sites and solo travel pages together with some experience of my own, I have compiled below a list of the most common advantages and disadvantages of solo travel.
Freedom: It gives you the freedom to do as you want, for as long as you want and whenever you want – what can be better than that? You are not constrained by the preferences of your travel mate/s. You are not restricted to making your own decisions in terms of eating places, travel routes, or length of stay among other unforeseen differences that may arise.
Meeting new people: When you travel with a co-partner, more so in a group, there is a tendency to interact less with new people along the way. On the other hand, the average solo traveler is more open to chat with locals and fellow travelers and maybe make new friends, keeping his freedom intact all along.
Introspection: For many it is a great time for introspection, self-analysis, coming to peace with your inner self. It makes you learn more about yourself and feel good about yourself – makes you learn to enjoy your own company.
Confidence Booster: A frequent solo traveler gains in self-confidence as he learns to negotiate new streets, new metros, different surroundings, various cultures and new friends. His decision-making abilities will be way above a first-timer, for example. This gain in self-confidence is sure to benefit the solo traveler in the long run.
Safety: Well, as the saying goes, “there’s safety in numbers,” solo travel puts you at a disadvantage of not having your back covered. It can be full of adventure but sometimes things do go wrong like accidents, sickness, and other adverse situations – that’s when a travel companion or a travel group can be missed sorely.
Loneliness: There will be moments when you have an amazing experience and you wish someone was with you to share the special moment with. However, improvements in communication technology like live video streaming makes this a little bit less of a disadvantage.
Cost factor: Sometimes traveling solo can be more expensive as there is nobody to split expenses with. Having a fellow traveler saves you money on cabs, rooms, and discounts for two or more people, to name a few.
For some, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and they enjoy the solo experience to the hilt and for some, the disadvantages hold them back from going solo.
However, if you are adventurous in nature, an extrovert, and especially if you are young, there’s no harm in giving it a shot – you may get addicted! For many the experience is so fulfilling and exhilarating that they want to do it again and again.
Anyways, for those who are solo travelers and for those who may be thinking along those lines, here are a few tips, again from the most common experiences shared by solo travelers and experts on the subject.
Proper preparation: Do your homework before leaving on a solo trip. Check the internet thoroughly for the best destinations and deals.
Travel light: Travelling light has its obvious advantages when you are alone – carrying cumbersome luggage will only come in your way.
Be safe: Be sure to take the right shots and medication for countries where you can be susceptible to diseases. Always be alert as far as your valuables are concerned. Do not trust anyone.
Learn a little language: Knowing a few words and phrases of the language of the country you are traveling to will come in handy.
Start your day early: If you are vacationing alone it’s advised you start early, have a leisurely breakfast and enjoy the day visiting and exploring unless you are a night bird.
Be smart with your cash: Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket! Split up your cash, credit cards and keep them separately – if you lose one you will have the other as backup.
Photographs: Taking pictures will allow you to relive some glorious moments again and again.
Local helpline numbers: Be safe rather than sorry! It’s always good to carry the local helpline numbers for emergencies.
Local cuisine: Don’t miss out on the local cuisine – it’s the best part of any kind of travel be it solo, twosome or group travel.
Have fun: Last but not the least, don’t forget that having fun is the main purpose of any kind of vacation. So make the most of all the opportunities you get to enjoy – make it a memorable vacation.