Here’s me attempting a post that may be a surprise to some..I do not solo travel.
And, neither am I an advocate for it.
Aside from the many posts I have done featuring me alone in my photos, it is actually, mostly un-solo. I travel approximately 8-10+ holidays a year if I am lucky, but I haven’t planned/ gone on a single solo trip so far. I can count with 1 hand the handful of trips that I had a couple of days solo on my own without any friends/ people travelling with me:
Yes, that’s about it. And there are reasons why I prefer it that way.
No doubt solo travel is growing. There has been an increasing trend of female solo travelers across the globe, and I have met many many such travelers during my voyages and travels. Indeed, there is much pleasure from getting to plan your getaways to your preference- type of attractions, places to stay base on budget/ how much time to spend in a particular place, not to mention the immense amount of people you meet in 1 trip when you solo travel. For my Canada trip alone, despite me only spending less than 6 days in my 23 days trip without a friend by my side, I had made up to 30 over new friends from all over the world over those few days, and some of them I still keep in touch till now.
However having said that, I guess it’s time I jump into why despite such great experiences, I am still not a fan of solo travel, or traveling solo, and here are some reasons why:
5 Reasons why solo travel isn’t for Everyone
1. Experiences are best enjoyed with friends
I love immersing in the places I go and being overwhelmed by the scenery or bustling energy of a destination/ ciry. Yes, while traveling solo can give you full autonomy to go to places you might find difficult to convince a friend to go, but the pleasure derived from that moment of seeing something spectacular and you stare and squeal in sheer delight with the person next to you, its priceless.
Be it at the top of a ski slope in Japan before you speed down, or witnessing an awesome mountain top sunset in the Philippines, it’s nice to have a friend/ buddy next to you to share that immense joy/ excitement. There is something extremely infectious about that shared moment or memory when you look back on it.
2. Better to be safer than safe
Safety is something on a higher yet somewhat reduced priority these days. With travel being so much more accessible and many more countries being more ‘tourist-friendly’ for solo-travelers ( mind you, friends traveling in India and South Africa alone), it has triggered a lot of travelers to visit the more off the beaten track places in the globe. However, there is a difference between being aware/ mindful of the danger in the places you go and negligent of danger that you might bring yourself.
Solo travel, despite making some acquaintances or friends along the road that you spend a day or more with, it will still have you covering quite a fair segments of your travel -- on your own. And doing so, it will put you in a bit more risk versus traveling with another friend where you can look out for each other’s blind spots.
Eg. Doing road trips in South Africa where car theft is a common occurrence. Or squeezing through the bustling streets of India knowing that you have a friend watching your back/ or front, as you immerse in the surroundings. Hitch-hiking in Europe in pairs might also at least ‘help’ -- when it is 2 in a car versus 1 driver ( not sure how exactly, but at least you know there is someone who is as serious about getting home in one piece as you. Seriously, try to avoid this unless you are really on a really tight budget.
Rock climbing or hiking expeditions overseas are also another type of trips you wouldn’t want to risk your safety on a line/ rope with people who you aren’t familiar with/ barely know. So it’s always ideal/ better to go with friends or buddies who are dependable and regard your life as high as theirs.
Hence, its always good to have someone in your trip having your back. Having said that, I have traveled with some people who have made us more receptive to attracting danger than being on my own 😉 So, do make some discretion what friend to invite on for a slightly more ‘dangerous” holiday.
Dangerous holidays ? Find out some tips on what to take note when going on one.
3. Shared Planning and Decision Making
In my opinion, this is one of the best things one could have when it comes to travel, as I hate having to do all the work and planning in a trip during crunch time. Yes, when you plan the full itinerary yourself, you get to see and to do everything you want, but when trouble comes, sometimes you just want a nice traveling buddy who can help you book a train ticket while you dash to figure out the timings of your hotel shuttle bus. 2 minds can work pretty efficiently, vs just one person who is stuck with worrying about check out and chasing after the shuttle bus at the same time.
4. Costs Savings
The most practical reason to not travel solo is -- shared costs. And I am talking specifically with regards to road trips and campervan-ing trips, where your vehicle rental costs is going to be fixed, regardless of the number of passengers.
Places like New Zealand/ Australia/ Iceland and Scotland are destinations where they are best enjoyed by doing a road trip. For such trips, go with pals or friends who you know is unlikely to be a crazy kidnapper disguised as a fellow traveler.
5. Instagram Buddy
These days, everybody wants an ‘instagram boyfriend’ 😉 #whynot
Okay jokes aside, it is really quite helpful if you have another friend with you to entrust your camera to -- to take great holiday shots for you.
Solo travel just makes it too difficult and risky to pass your camera about. Especially so for a person like me who like shots of me taken a distance away from the camera -- as a smaller subject in the backdrop, like the examples below.
Hence, I don’t think one would be too thrilled to turn around and see your new-found-friend-aka-new-found-friend-aka-stranger-aka-now-thief scurrying away with your camera.
So this concludes my little post about why solo travel isn’t for everyone, and some of the limitations of solo travel or traveling solo. No doubt solo traveling works once a while when you just want some serious personal time to yourself and do some kind of project ( sit by the streets and sketch/ paint the effiel tower). Other than that, I won’t advocate for everyone to jump on the bandwagon straight away unless you have a kind of idea what you are going to experience, as there are a lot of factors that needs to be considered before making that trip -- solo.
Share with me your thoughts about this?
To read about my ‘partially’ solo trip in Canada, click to find out more.