For some, the prospect of solo travel may seem ridiculous or even scary. There are people out there who view travel and vacations as an opportunity for socialization. They feel the need to travel with friends or family so the social aspect is already built-in.
Presumably, for them, the idea of solo travel must seem absurd. Then, there are the adventurous types. Sure, they like to travel with friends and see new things, but they’re just as comfortable on their own, like me!
I think it’s the newness of the situation that attracts me more than the company with whom I could possibly travel. For people like me, solo travel has far more ups than downs.
Things to think about when planning solo travel:
The mode of transportation (car? bus? airplane??)
Accommodations (staying at a hotel? Airbnb? in the car?)
Knowledge of the terrain and the geographical area (staying close to home? or hitting the road to somewhere new?)
This is, by no means, a comprehensive list. This merely shows the kinds of things one needs to be prepared for, when traveling alone. Other things may come up, but if you can handle these hurdles, you should be able to deal with anything.
Probably the biggest advantage to solo travel is the freedom. It’s definitely my favorite part! No one to argue with when it comes to taking breaks, side trips, shopping excursions, or extra time in a new favorite destination.
If freedom is your ultimate goal, then travel by car may be the best option. Alone, you can just pack up the car and point it in the desired direction. Of course, if you’re traveling very far from home, this may not always be practical. You may be forced to go away by plane. This can include extra expense, but you will get where you’re going more quickly. The biggest downside to plane travel, of course, is time constraints. At least twice, you will be forced to be at a particular location at a particular time.
No doubt, mode of travel can increase or decrease your freedom. Less freedom may be a trade-off for convenience and more free time.
Where to stay is another consideration. Like plane travel, if you have reservations for a particular hotel, you will need to be somewhere in particular at a prescribed time. This can cramp your “traveling alone” style. Other considerations may include camping or, for the real adventurous, sleeping in the car, just make sure you swing by your local dealership for a tune up before hitting the road! At any rate, if you’re alone, flexibility with accommodations can be a real plus.
If you’re going somewhere you’ve never been before, you may not have great first-hand knowledge of the area. Having a good map is helpful. Then again, depending on how much of a risk-taker you are, you may not mind getting lost in a new and wonderful city.
If you aren’t the type to panic and realize, eventually, you will get where you want to be, being lost can be a very freeing experience. Obviously, you have more freedom to get lost, if you’re traveling alone. At least, in the process of being lost, you won’t have to do any arguing.
Finally, if traveling abroad, some basic first-hand knowledge of the language is essential. You don’t necessarily have to master the language, but a little courtesy can go a long way. Many Americans just assume people in other countries speak English. In Europe, this is generally true. Still, learning how to say please and thank you will carry a lot of currency when in a public place in a foreign land. It also doesn’t hurt to know how to ask the location of the bathroom. Sure, it’s an old joke, but if you really need those services, it’s a good thing to know. Obviously, if you’re traveling alone, you won’t have anyone to lean on in this situation.
Solo Travel isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It can, however, be one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime, depending on your sense of adventure, your willingness to take risks and, above all, your comfort level when being alone. After all, when anything does go wrong, you’l have no one else at whom to point the finger of blame. More than anything-just, have a good time.