For the first time in more than 13 years, I’m travelling the world alone. Previous overseas stints have mainly been with long term partners, some amazing friends and even my dear mum.
Nothing is quite like travelling by yourself.
Going it alone takes a decent amount of guts, being ok with your own company, a smidge of confidence and the ability to get out of your comfort zone. I think everyone should have the chance to travel solo. So I’ve weighed up my personal pro’s and cons of the loner trip situation.
Lets start with the crappy end of the stick …
CONs of travelling alone:
1 – Its WAY more expensive
Hear me out. Whilst two airfares and two of every ticket to every day trip adds up there are a lot of things that are better expensed in half.
Like hiring a car. Or being able to split the bill for an entree and a main. Or getting a hotel room or twin hostel room so you’re not being woken up every 7 minutes by snorey mcsnoresalot in the bunk beneath you. Or happy hour.
Some of the best things in life aren’t free.
2 – You don’t get any photos of yourself
I’m actually a fan of this in general, as I think I’d rather have a photo of the colosseum than a photo of me in front of the colosseum. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to get a quick snap for mum, that’s not an awkward or blurry selfie.
This usually involves asking a complete random to take a pic, which you’re never guaranteed will turn out right and it never feels right to ask for another.
That or your constantly being asked to take pictures of loved up couples and considering doing a runner with their SLR to pay for your next two weeks accommodation. Just me?
3 – It’s a shared experience
Sometimes you’re standing on a mountain and you just want to say to someone “Holy shitballs that’s amazing!” Which I often do, to the startled looks of children passing by with their parent’s tut tutting my language.
Whilst social media definitely helps to share the story, “Thanks instagram”, it’s not quite the same regaling the tales of the day to a camera lense or the beer (beers) you’re drinking alone at the pub.
4 – There’s no-one in times of crisis
Shit happens. It could be your luggage not turning up, or war breaking out to ruin your plans. When the proverbial boat is up the creek of poo it’s nice to have someone to turn to.
It’s even better to have someone around if you, I dunno, break your arm in an horrific snowboarding accident (speaking from personal experience). Safety matters so when you’re travelling solo you need more wits about you.
Onto the good stuff …
PROs of travelling alone:
1 – You have more freedom
The only person watching the clock is you. Or that weirdly attentive and extremely strict with time German bus driver. Either way you can make plans, break them, go where you want or sit and do nothing.
It’s completely up to you.
You can nap in the middle of the day or stay up till 3am watching the sky. I’m not suggesting that partners and friends aren’t open to all of the above and more. It’s merely that you don’t have to check in with anyone about what your “next steps” will be.
2 – You get into stuff easier
Speaking of changing your plans. Decide to change up your itinerary or do a cheeky day trip somewhere last minute?
It’s way easier to get 1 ticket to destinations, events or excursions if there’s only one of you, cos chances are someone else has bailed and you can snap it up like a black Friday fiend.
3 – You meet more people
This one comes with a caveat. I’ve decided a lot of the time to chill by myself, merely since I’m on a bit of a soul searching kind of eat, pray, love thing… to be honest it’s just eat eat eat.
If you’re keen to meet a bunch of folks though, all it takes it a beer at your hostel bar and you’ve got new besties (or at least facebook mates) for life. When you’re travelling coupled up especially, you’ll tend to stick with each other and not branch out like you do when you are your own numero uno.
4 – You get quality time to your self
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I LOVE a nap. I often need a couple of hours or a night to decompress after a big couple of days to get a bunch of writing done or simply chillax.
When you’re travelling with others you tend to socialise yourselves more. You head out to dinner or meals more often, go on hikes together and tend to stay in the same hotel room leaving little room for alone time.
So that’s my personal pro’s and con’s I’ve come to realise so far on this 2 month soul searching food-a-thon I’m on. I’m sure there’s plenty more, what else can you add?
Let me know with a reply here or on my facebook.