I love to travel by myself. I can do what I want, when I want. Unfortunately, it also means that if I’m having a low key day, that I may spend the entire day (or two) in my hotel room. I know that in some instances I can easily go alone and explore, but other times I like to have either Mr. S, Rachel, Alyson, Sandy or one of my other trusty travel companions by my side.
Ask several people what their interests are, and a large percentage will put traveling at the top of the list. Many people only consider traveling with someone else, and wouldn’t dream of traveling alone. But for others, traveling alone is a source of pride and great joy. I’ve listed a few pros and cons of traveling alone to help you decide if it’s for you.
Pro – Getting to Choose All Details of the Trip
This is my favorite part of traveling alone. I need to have shopping days. I’m talking spending 8 hours going store to store, trying things on, buying collectibles for my home, etc. I find that nothing quite beats the feeling of being able to perfectly construct the vacation of your dreams. When you are traveling alone, you can do everything you want, and avoid everything you dislike. This is especially helpful when you have a limited amount of time and money.
Vacationing with a friend can mean a lot of compromising, and spending time and money on things you have no interest in. Travel alone for the ultimate, self-focused time of exploration and adventure.
Con – Safety Risks
One of the first things a person often thinks of when the subject of traveling alone comes up, is the issue of safety. Traveling in pairs means you have someone to help you out of a sticky situation, someone to witness any wrongdoings by others, and protection from any seedy individuals who prey on single travelers. If I don’t know an area and have difficulty with the language, this is something that I’ll weigh very carefully.
Pro – You’ll be forced to make new friends
This is easy for me (I’m very outgoing). When traveling with a friend I always have someone to talk to, but when I travel alone means I am forced to make friends (if you want conversation). Sometimes traveling alone can be the ideal situation to force you out of your comfort zone and bring some spice to your life.
Con – Not Having Someone to Bounce Ideas Off Of
For some people planning is important (I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants type of traveler). Traveling alone means that you are the only one who has enough invested in the trip to want to spend a significant amount of time planning. When you are in the middle of your trip, having a travel buddy means that you can discuss any big decisions before taking any action. That is, if you NEED to have plans (I’ve been known to get off at a subway stop I’ve never seen before & explore a neighborhood).
Pro – Taking a Complete Break from Life as Usual.
Traveling alone can be almost spiritual. Not only will have a chance to completely rest from the daily drama that everyday life can bring, but (at least for me) it can bring a creative side out or time to reflect. When you take a friend along, it is impossible to entirely leave this behind. If your friend is bringing up a topic you wanted to avoid, or insisting on giving constant updates regarding everyone’s social media posts, their companionship can become old very fast.
Con – You have to pay for everything yourself
When it comes to hotel rooms and the like, traveling in groups can lessen the cost. When you travel alone, certain situations mean that you will be paying almost double what you would if you took a travel companion along. Take this extra financial cost into consideration when you are deciding whether to travel alone or with others.
Pro – You May Learn Something about Yourself
When we are around those we are comfortable with, we often fall into our usual way of relating. Traveling alone forces you to learn about yourself. Instead of asking your friend what they want to do next, you will be forced to think about what you truly want to do. You will find out what you want to try, and what you love enough to do twice.
I hope that this helps in some way.
If you have any tips for traveling solo, I’d love to hear them.