The first big thing to decide is who you are going to go with, if anyone. You may already know this, as it will have played a big role in your decision to go.
This was probably the biggest problem for me. I had tried to convince my friends for years to come with me, but job and girlfriend commitments, as well as lack of money meant it just wasn’t going to happen. I was really uncomfortable about travelling alone, but I finally just said to myself, “it is on your own now, or never”, so bit the bullet and went for it.
If you are in the same situation I was, I want to give you the reassurance I never had. In retrospect it is definitely the best decision to travel on your own; you ask anyone that has travelled solo and they will tell you the same thing.
To be honest they are all great ways of travelling, having had experience with all three now. This dilemma shouldn’t stop you or put doubts in your mind about going – they all have advantages and disadvantages.
Traveling alone look sometimes complicated, specially for women which the most question asked is where can a woman travel alone?, below I show you the advantages of traveling alone and I hope that it can convince people who don’t want to travel alone.
|Complete Freedom||Lonely (very rarely, only if you don’t make an effort to meet people).|
|Easier/ more likely to meet people.||Safety (for women alone, in certain parts of the world).|
|Learn a lot about yourself.|
|Easier to meet locals.|
|Builds character and skills to put on your CV.|
|Everything is quicker (airports, checking in, food, etc.).|
The best thing about going alone is you do exactly what you want to do, exactly when you want to do it. No waiting around in places you aren’t interested in visiting, no missing a bus because your friend was late, etc. This may sound selfish, but this is your experience, you have very little time and money to do this! Your experience will be greatly enhanced and more rewarding by travelling alone.
The main worry is loneliness, but trust me I was terrible at meeting new people before I went, but I had absolutely no problem talking to and meeting people. You have to remember everyone is in the same boat, everyone wants to meet new people, everyone is there to have fun and is in a good mood!
There is an issue of safety in some countries, particular for women travelling alone – you should always check the foreign office of your country for advice on your destinations safety.
One thing I was looking in to, which I wouldn’t recommend after speaking to people, is looking for a buddy online before you go. This is completely pointless. Firstly a lot people don’t even meet in person before they go and secondly you can meet multiple people easily when you first arrive. What if you end up not liking that person and getting stuck with them?
|Familiar/ comforting person with you in hard times.||Rarely get alone time.|
|Potential to be cheaper for accommodation and food. ||Get sick of each other.|
|Always someone to talk to.||Less likely to start conversation with strangers and meet new people.|
|Waste time in places you don’t want to be.|
|Becoming dependent on one another.|
Travelling with a friend or partner does sound very appealing, but it really depends on how well you get on. If you never argue and have very similar interests/ travel ideas, it should be awesome. You will find it much cheaper to cook food in developed countries and possibly cheaper to get a private room between you, over getting space in a dorm room. However a lot of people I meet travelling together don’t seem to be having as much fun and often go their separate ways.
|Everything is organised. ||Rarely get alone time.|
|Nothing to think or worry about. ||Waiting on a lot of people to be ready.|
|Can join when/ wherever, for as long as you want.||No control on the people you meet.|
|Meet loads of people.Lots of information from guides.||No freedom.|
|More expensive in most cases. |
Tours are fantastic when they go well – some of my best memories have been with tour groups. The key point there though is, “when they go well”. A terrible tour guide, poor itinerary, bad organisation, quiet group, horrible food, amongst other things can severely ruin your time. My advice would be never to do a tour that is too long – except in countries with safety issues or poor transport infrastructures, or if the tour company has exceptionally good reviews – that way you only have to put up with it for a few days rather than weeks. The time you want to go on tours is when it is either too expensive or hard to do yourself. Also if you want lots of information or have heard great reviews from other travellers. Tour groups do offer a nice break from travelling alone or with friends, as you are guaranteed to meet new people.
In summary, they all have advantages and disadvantages. Solo travelling is definitely the most rewarding, but it is good to mix it up. Invite a friend from home to meet you for a few weeks, or tag along with someone you meet. Definitely try a tour or two – some people love them, others hate them – perhaps start with a day tour. To reiterate my main point, the decision of travelling alone or with others shouldn’t stop you or put doubts in your mind about going.