Solo travel is something that everyone should try at least once. You get the freedom to experience a new place, your way and at your own pace. And, waiting on other people to join you is so limiting!
“But aren’t you scared you’ll be (kidnapped, murdered, mugged, or some other thing that is equally likely to happen where you currently live)??!”
Short answer: No. I live alone in a major city. It doesn’t make sense for me to miss out on a place I want to visit out of fear of someone doing something to me. In fact, the U.S. State Department’s registry of American deaths abroad shows that of the 68 million Americans who travel abroad each year, an average of 827 die of unnatural causes. That number also includes people who died in car accidents, drowning and suicide.
Exercise the same cautions you do at home, and you’ll be fine. Do you walk alone flashing large sums of cash in sketchy neighborhoods at home? Then you probably shouldn’t do that when you travel. Trust your gut instinct when you meet new people. You don’t have to interact with anyone you don’t want to. Making friends with a local resident can be a great way to learn a new place, but be careful. I like to befriend a hotel employee or someone who is well known in the area. I also announce to other hotel employees where I’m going and who I’m going with.
Schedule and Budget
How many times have you been dying to go to a place, only to have trouble getting friends who have the funds, time and interest to go with you? It can be a nightmare trying to plan a trip with other people. Even if you have friends that are willing to go, you have to take their budget into consideration. There’s always going to be that person who wants to stay at a 2 star motel, when you were hoping to stay somewhere luxurious. Or that person who wants to do everything the most expensive way, when you were hoping to stay on a budget. And lets not talk about that friend who wants to tag along everywhere but always manages to run out of money halfway through the trip. Booking a solo trip ensures that every aspect of the trip is exactly within your budget.
You get to do what you want, when you want
Want to try that weird dish on the menu? Go right ahead! See an interesting person at the bar you want to meet? Go chat them up! Say you meet a nice local and they invite them to their home for dinner, or out for a night on the town? You can do all those things, without someone judging you for doing you.
Traveling solo also gives you the opportunity for self-reflection and true relaxation. While traveling with friends is fun, it can also put pressure on you to “enjoy yourself” by trying to fit in as many activities as possible, and returning home less rested than you were before. Its also hard to be alone with your thoughts when you have people along with you that you may feel the need to entertain.
So, what do you guys think? Do you enjoy traveling solo? Share some of your experiences in the comments section!