Trust Me, It's Worth It: The Pros and Cons of Solo Travel
To be completely honest with you all, I never thought I'd be the solo travel type. Don't get me wrong, I love my alone time but having someone to talk with and take your pics on vaca is pretty nice. Really, it just got to the point where I wasn't willing to wait on everyone else to finally take the leap to take a trip. I have impulsed bought more than one flight and I don't regret it in the slightest. I'd definitely do it again actually. I finally came to the realization that not everyone, including my friends and family, held the same passion for travel that I do, and that's perfectly fine. That's also the reason I became a solo traveler. I don't consider my study abroad trips with school to be solo trips. They're still very much group trips, you just don't get to pick the group. I've officially been on 1 & 1/2 solo trips. I count the half because one of my girlfriends meet up with me later on in my Chicago trip. Peru is truly my first solo trip and the longest trip I've been on as an adult so far. This trip has taught me a lot about myself, travel and how I am in regards to travel and I'm super thankful for that. So let's get into it!
- You're On Your Own Schedule
No having to decide with someone else where you'll have dinner tonight. Not having to worry about if someone doesn't want to take the bus into town even though its cheaper. No arguing about which tourist attraction you're going to hit today. Just pure simplicity. Everything is up to you!
- You'll Make More New Friends
That's not to say you can't make new friends while traveling with someone, but the chances are less likely when you're already with someone. While these may not be lifelong friends, only temporary ones, they can come in very handy. Whether it's someone to have lunch with now or someone to tell you not to eat at a certain restaurant because they had a bad experience.
- Personal Growth
If I've learned nothing else while being in Peru for a month, I can say I've learned to rely on myself way more than I expected. You're all you got so you have to trust your instincts and learn to roll with the punches in some cases. You also get time to think and reflect in peace and solitude.
- You Pick Up The Language Faster
My Spanish speaking and comprehension skills improved quicker because I don't have someone else to speak for me or translate. It allowed me to build a different kind of confidence in myself and I'm truly grateful for it.
- One Fits Easier Than Two (or three or four or ....)
In many countries, public transportation is the most effective way to get around. Whether that's a bus, ferry or train, one is easier to fit than two. That also goes for if you want to hop countries randomly in the middle of a trip and there's that message that says "only one seat left." No worries, you'll take it.
- You'll Get Lonely
We're only human and as much as we may enjoy our alone time, eventually we like someone else's company. Technology is great. Hop on FaceTime or WhatsApp and talk to your closest friends and family when you're feeling low or want to tell someone about your amazing day.
-The Possibility for Danger Increases
As a solo traveler that's a black woman, I have to be very mindful of this. I have to put a lot more consideration into the places I want to go, the time of year, the political climate and much more than lets say an older white man would. It's an unfair truth of the world but a truth nonetheless. Use your common sense. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Always be aware of your surroundings. Sometimes it's hard not to look like a tourist in a foreign country, but it's also best not to draw too much attention to yourself. These are the things we have to take into consideration when traveling alone as women in general.
-Possible Higher Costs
This is the best example I can think of: If you book a Groupon trip, depending on the price of the trip, you could end up paying an extra $200 to $900 just to travel alone. We typically think "oh, it's just me it must be cheaper." That's not always the case. Negotiating prices may also be harder or you simply don't have someone to split costs with you, which would ultimately making it cheaper.
I really want to emphasize that solo travel is truly an empowering experience. You're going out in your lonesome and having to cope with whatever challenges the world throws at you. You'll have to figure it all out for yourself from finding your way and negotiating in a foreign language to navigating through a foreign culture. You'll learn to rely solely on your own inner resources and develop skills you probably never knew you had. That's the definition of growth.
Until next time, Stay Trippin'!