Is solo travel right for you?
Here’s a thought….
I told someone the other day…If I waited for people to do stuff with me, I would have never done about 80-90% of the things in my life; including travel!
With that said I am a huge proponent of solo travel. While there are some obvious downsides, these minor infractions in no way outweigh the massive benefits one gets for traveling solo. For starters, as a solo traveler you are your own boss! Think of it like running your own business. The ultimate entrepreneur! You are able to start work when you want to (i.e. start your day when you feel like waking up), work as long as you want to – or not want to (i.e party all night or go to bed early), and book as many clients as you want to (i.e. take a nice stroll for the day or pack in a site seeing extravaganza).
If these references don’t cut it, how about I break it down in another form. Solo travel essentially puts you in control of your day. The beauty of this is that depending on your mood, energy level and of course budget you can plan to do as little or as much as you like for as long as you like; without having to consult another person or group of people. This is such an underrated experience because most people wouldn’t dare make plans to travel somewhere without knowing they have a pocket pal to tag along. While having a friend escort you throughout your trip brings it’s own benefits, one must also take into consideration what comes with having a second (third or fourth) party on the invite list. If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’ll tell you in one word: attitude! Yes, that’s right…good ole fashioned moody, flaky, unreliable attitude. This is something you don’t have to deal with when you solo travel. Let’s face it, people bring their baggage – both literally and figuratively. Most of the time, people don’t pack light ….if you know what I mean. It is rare that you can find an amazing travel buddy that you both like to do the same things, eat the same things, have the same budget and can get along with each other 100% of the time.
If you have found such a person, hats off to you- I’m incredibly jealous! Because while I will tout my praises for solo travel, I will also be quick to admit that every now and then having someone along for the ride can bring an added dimension to the travel experience. For example, if you see something funny, cool or spectacular that you can’t quite capture in a photo to share it with someone later, it does provide an added value to have someone with you to share that moment with (let’s hope it’s not an Igor who always ruins moments and makes you wish you were instead by yourself). Also, while the invention of the selfie stick, self-timer and tripod feature have changed the solo travel photo game, there are still some shots that even these gadgets can’t quite capture. Of course if you are a savvy solo traveler you can just go with the old fashioned way and actually talk to a stranger and ask them to take your photo (but who does this anymore since social media has killed all forms of social interaction- sigh that’s a whole nother blog post).
Finally, I must say that while solo travel provides you with so many joys of flexible travel it does come at often times a higher price than booking for two (that is unless you are a nomadic couch surfing hostel backpacker). If you like to travel in style (i.e book a nice room, rent a car, or even catch a cab) you have to foot the entire bill on your own. Whereas if you have a travel mate, oftentimes the cost of splitting a room or a taxi saves both travelers’ money in the long run. So there’s a slight win in this category for the non-solo traveler.
Despite this small victory, I’m still in favor of solo travel. What’s great is that the memories you make while traveling are yours and yours alone to keep for the rest of your life. No one can ever taint, change or take that away from you. When you think back on that time, you won’t have to remember the people who may have ruined the trip for you or whatever happened between you and that person that went with you on the trip (but they are no longer in your life). Your travel story is your travel story and is one the most precious thing you can experience in this life.