For more than a decade we've been writing about how to travel alone. We've been connecting with solo travelers on Facebook where the Solo Travel Society has over 1/4 million members. Our annual Reader Survey also gives us lots of information on why, how and where people travel alone.
We are well versed in what people think are the best things and worst things about solo travel.
It's interesting to note that the dislikes of solo travel have changed somewhat over the years. What people found intimidating a decade ago is not the same now. This is, in part, due to solo travelers becoming more common. Traveling alone has been legitimized. One might even say that it's a source of status.
However, there are still a few issues to contend with. Let's have a look.
The Worst Things About Solo Travel Are Really Not that Bad
There are many myths and misconceptions about solo travel. Some people have worries that actually have little basis in reality. However, there are, legitimately, some issues that solo travelers have to face. Here they are and how to set them right.
- Traveling alone doesn't feel as safe. There is safety in numbers. That's a maxim we've been raised with. This is particularly important for children and teenagers who don’t have the life experience to assess situations quickly and make sound decisions. However, by the time we reach twenty or so, with a few precautions, traveling alone can be very safe. As an adult, you can find safety in numbers even when you don't know anyone. Read “5 Principles of Solo Travel Safety” and check out the safety section of the blog.
- The single supplement makes the cost prohibitive. Ah, the dreaded single supplement. True, most tours and cruises charge extra for people who choose to travel solo. However, we've been taking on this issue for over a decade and now promote over one hundred tours and cruises every month with no or low (20% max) single supplement. Check out our All Trips and Searchable Trips pages for many solo options.
- Dining alone is awkward. This has become less of an issue over the years, however, there are still people who find it uncomfortable. There are many ways to deal with this issue. Read Eating Alone Is Easy When You Know How.
- What to do with your stuff at the beach alone. This one has many people stumped but our reader community had many suggestions. Read Going to the Beach Alone: How to Manage Your Stuff, Relax & Enjoy.
- Traveling alone is lonely. One might expect it to be so. And, on occasion, it is. But when you travel solo you learn that being lonely is not a function of being alone. It’s easy to find lots of people to do things with. Read: How to Travel Alone Without Being Lonely: 10 Tips & 12 Posts.
- Traveling solo is too much responsibility. Keeping track of your documents, money, itinerary, tickets, and everything else by yourself can be a challenge. You get used to it. I did, after years of people managing my passport for me because I had a tendency to leave it behind. The “responsibility” upside of solo travel is that there is no one to be responsible to except yourself. Freedom is a pretty big upside.
- Responsibility can lead to feeling overwhelmed. While freedom may be adequate compensation for responsibility, the latter can still be a burden. It can even be overwhelming. Read When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed: 43 Tips for Traveling Alone.
- Fear of getting sick when traveling alone. Being sick when traveling is no fun. Being sick with no one to take care of you is even worse. Here’s how to prevent illness as you travel and what to do if you become unwell: Sick & Solo: What’s a Traveler to Do?
- There's no one to share experiences with. This, for me, is the most difficult thing about solo travel. Fortunately, it is a rare occurrence. There are also occasions when I meet people who have knowledge, passion, or talent that enhance an experience, people I would not have access to if I was not traveling solo.
- Traveling alone I don't have anyone to share the memories with. This may be true but you have more people to tell stories to. Remember to take pictures of yourself on your travels as friends and family will be more interested in those than landscape after landscape.
Solo travel is not perfect, but just about any objection can be overcome. When comparing it to traveling with a partner, many people consider it a far superior option.
For the best of solo travel, read Freedom, Independence, Personal Growth: Why We Love Solo Travel.
To see that you are on trend as a solo traveler, read Why more of us are travelling solo.