Traveling alone has always appealed to me. It likely has something to do with being a strong introvert... Although I love the crazy vacations I've taken with my family (12 of us went to Europe...we were basically a tour group), the thought of traveling on my own both excites and scares me. I haven't had a lot of chances to travel solo, and most of the time it's only been for the actual travel portion of the trip, but in those few circumstances, I've learned a lot about what it's like. Here's what I've found to be the pros and cons of adventuring on my own!
- It can get lonely- This seems obvious, right? Even being an introvert, I still need to interact with people on a daily basis. Travel days can seem a lot longer with no one to chat with!
- Your stuff comes everywhere with you- This mainly occurs in the airport. If I want to get coffee or pick up a magazine, I have to drag my suitcase with me. But this can also occur if you're out to eat or in any other public place alone and you have to, say, go to the bathroom. It seems trivial, but it can get exhausting having to haul everything with you!
- Activity limitations- Depending on where you travel, there's usually plenty to do alone. But there are also things that are just better in groups. I likely wouldn't want to go to Disney World alone. I'm not saying it wouldn't be fun (Disney World is always fun), but it's a lot more fun with other people.
- Safety- Safety does truly come in numbers. There are many places that are perfectly safe to travel alone, but it still requires extra caution. If I'm traveling alone, I'll be more likely to spend a little extra money on something like a nice hotel to ensure safety. Using caution when traveling alone may also limit your activities.
- You have complete control of your itinerary- As a child, and even sometimes as an adult, it's nice to have someone else in charge who plans the whole trip. It takes away a lot of the stress of travel! However, traveling alone allows you the luxury of doing what you want and doing it at your own pace. Want to go to a museum? No need to worry about your travel partner thinking it's a waste of money. Only took you 5 minutes to go through that walking tour? No need to feel guilty about dragging someone along to it. Need to take a midday nap? No one's stopping you!
- Alone time- Another seemingly obvious point. I think it's a good thing to learn to spend time with just yourself. Traveling alone provides a LOT of thinking time (sometimes a little too much...). I feel like the combination of traveling + being alone is the perfect recipe for big ideas! Does anyone else always come back from vacation with a new perspective on their life??
- Openness to experience- Traveling solo can really push you outside of your comfort zone in a positive way. Without the comfort of being able to chat with your family or friends, you're forced to talk with locals or other tourists if you want any human interaction at all (which you most definitely do!). You may also try things that you otherwise wouldn't have because you have no one to "hold you back"!
Overall, I think traveling alone is a great experience for everyone. As long as you manage expectations on what it will be like, it can be a great opportunity to learn about yourself and the world around you.
Have you ever traveled alone? What were the pros and cons of going solo?