Updated: April 2015
Before I launched this blog, I took a survey to find out how many friends and family travel solo, what they like and dislike about it, what tips they would offer. You can read some of their answers on a number of posts, including:
- Top Ten Reasons You Love to Travel Solo
- Travel Safety: 50 tips for solo travelers
- Travel Solo and Love It: 50 tips
While most people confirmed that they do travel solo and like it, they were also clear that there are aspects of the experience that they don’t always like. So, in recognition of the fact that nothing is perfect, this post is about what’s not so great about solo travel. And, of course, my thoughts on each.
Traveling alone doesn't feel as safe. We have been raised with the understanding that there is safety in numbers. 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 “Solo Travel Safety: 5 principles” and check out the safety section of the blog.
The single supplement makes the cost of solo travel prohibitive. Ah, the dreaded single supplement. True, most packaged holidays charge extra for people who choose to travel solo but there are occasions when you actually benefit by being alone. Check out the solo travel deals page and have a read of “Travel Solo and Save” and “Solo Travel on a Budget Part I: avoiding the single supplement“.
Dining alone is awkward. There are so many ways to deal with this issue that sometimes I have to remind myself to take a dinner hour just for me. Have a read of “Eat Alone and Meet New People” (Keith’s surprise ending is amazing in this story”), “Dining Solo: A Confession and a Discovery“and the straight forward “Five Ways to Enjoy Restaurant Dining – Solo”.
Traveling alone is lonely. One would expect solo travel to be lonely. 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 & 5 posts“.
Traveling solo I have to take full responsibility for everything. Keeping track of your documents, money, itinerary, tickets… yourself can be a challenge but the big thing about solo travel and responsibility is that, when you travel solo, there is no one to be responsible to – other than yourself. Freedom is a pretty big upside. Read: “Why Travel Solo? Let’s Go to the Heart of the Matter” and “Solo Travel Planning: the important though tedious details“.
There's no one to share experiences with when I travel solo. This, I think, is the most difficult thing about solo travel. I remember coming out of seeing “Kiss of the Spiderwoman” in New York City and being so dazzled by the production that I was desperate to talk about it. I did a 360, looking for someone I could approach, but found no one. So, yes, on occasion this is very difficult. But… there are occasions when you meet people who have knowledge, passion, talent… that enhance an experience. People that you would not have access to if you did not travel 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 often friends and family will be more interested in those than landscape after landscape. Read about how to take a selfie in “The Tricks of a Solo Photographer“.
So, solo travel is not perfect but, just about any objection can be overcome. Would I still travel solo if I wasn’t single? Well that’s the subject of a post coming up next week. Until then, I hope you’ll add your comments on this one.