Whether you’re just thinking about what it might be like to travel solo or you have a trip booked and are counting down the days – it can be an intimidating experience.
Many people shy away from solo travel because you lose that safety net of another person being by your side and looking out for you. Having experienced many different feelings and thoughts while preparing for my own solo travels, I wanted to share some insights into what you might expect and to hopefully show you that although scary at times, solo travel can make you grow and change in ways you never thought possible.
Expect to feel lonely (sometimes)
It is inevitable. If you are travelling alone, you will likely find yourself feeling lonely at times. This is okay for two reasons: (1) you learn to enjoy your own company as a solo traveller; (2) you won’t be lonely for long, new friends and experiences are just around the corner! Although feeling lonely is a major reason that people avoid solo travel, the rewards of pushing your limits and getting outside of your comfort zone are totally worth it. Plus if you want to experience semi-solo travel, try heading out on a group trip – the other travellers will become fast friends and you’ll realize how easy it is to meet people abroad!
Expect to get lost
When you are alone you will very likely get lost. Especially if you are anything like me and are terrible at navigation. That is the beauty of a travel partner, it is likely that one of you isn’t absolutely terrible at finding your way around. If you both are, then find a new travel partner – kidding! Getting lost is scary but it can also lead to some pretty amazing adventures and unexpected experiences. I have gotten lost before only to find myself in the middle of a huge bustling marketplace that I never would have found otherwise. One way to avoid getting lost frequently is to download maps and directions while at your hotel that will work offline. Or you can be old fashioned (aka vintage) and carry a paper map!
Expect to eat alone (and be okay with it)
This one was probably the hardest for me. For a long time I avoided it altogether, choosing takeout and street food to avoid eating at a restaurant alone. Then one day I decided to try it. Armed with a book as my companion, I went into a little restaurant and said “table for one” – trying to ignore the pity in the hostesses eyes as she sat me and cleared the other cutlery. As I ordered and ate my food, picking up my book to read if I ever felt too self conscious, I realized that I was actually enjoying myself. Even today, it doesn’t feel effortless to dine alone, and I have to admit I still bring a book or my phone as a crutch, but it is a small freedom I have begun to enjoy. And I bet you will too if you just give it a try. Table for one – please!
Expect to make great friends
Even thought you may be travelling alone, that doesn’t mean you have to be alone. In fact, if you really don’t want to be on your own much, there are a ton of ways to meet and hang out with other travellers. Spending time in local travel hang outs and hostels is one way to meet fellow travellers. Be open and friendly and you will have no shortage of company, I promise you.
Expect to want to do it again!
Once you experience the unique thrill of solo travel you will most likely want to do it again – and again – and again. I know that my experiences travelling on my own (the good and the bad) have only made me realize how gratifying it can be.
So get out there and give it a try. If you are safe and smart about it, there is no reason you can’t have an absolute blast!
For great advice and insight on travelling solo as a female, check out this awesome blog Be My Travel Muse.
I want to hear from you!
What we’re some of your best (and worst) solo travel experiences?
SEE THE WORLD, MAKE IT BETTER.
~ Earthly Traveller