Solo Travel Fears
I’ve always been very independent. Most times I preferred to do my own thing. But up until a couple of years ago, I had not traveled on my own before. Well, there was that time I flew to Boston, rented a car, and drove to Killington, Vermont to do the Spartan Beast on my own. But I don’t count that as real solo travel, since it was only 2 days, in the US, and for a race. I traveled a lot on my own, but I always met friends or family at my destination. But the idea of solo travel in a different country scared me. I worried about several things – among them:
- Being alone and not having anyone to talk to.
- People thinking I was a loser or something for being on my own.
- Being an easy target for locals or other travelers to take advantage of.
- Traveling on my own would be too expensive.
- The idea of getting lost when I’m by myself was much scarier than when I’m with a friend.
So with all those worries and fears, for years I never seriously considered the idea of solo travel internationally. Then a few years ago I started to realize that I had no problem doing all these things on my own in the US, why should be any different in another country? So I just made the decision to just go for it. I had really been wanting to go to Thailand and Vietnam for awhile. So I decided that would be the perfect trip for my first solo adventure. Of course I still had my fears. But to help combat those fears, I did a lot of research on where I was going. But what really helped me the most was reading several blogs from other solo travelers. The more I read, the more I realized that lots of people travel on their own all over the world. If they could do it, why couldn’t I???
Fast forward…I did make it to Thailand and Vietnam on my own and it was the best decision I had ever made in regards to travel. I learned a lot, experienced a lot, and met a lot of great people along the way. And since that trip, all my international trips have been solo. It’s become my preferred way to travel. And here’s why…
My Top 7 Reasons To Solo Travel
- Save time
- No Compromise
- Internal Growth
- Maintain Friendships
- Easier to meet people
You wouldn’t believe how much time is spent planning and making decisions, even small ones, when you’re traveling with someone else. When you’re on your own, all of that planning and decision making is thrown out the window. Yeah, you do have to plan some on your own and you do have to make decisions. But you have the only vote. There’s no back and forth discussions, except the internal ones lol.
It’s impossible to travel with someone with the exact same interests and preferences. There’s always going to be some compromise. Most likely, someone is going to miss out on something they want to do (or eat). But when you’re solo traveling you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, no compromise.
Since you’re making all the decisions, you can easily change your plans as you travel. Or you can have no plans at all and just see where the day takes you. This becomes harder to do when you’re traveling with others. My last couple of trips, I’ve made no real plans. I’ve just had a general direction and some ideas of where I want to go. Then I just kinda wing it depending on how I like the place (or people) where I am currently. Not having to book hotels and transportation ahead of time also allows for more flexibility. Depending on the kind of traveler you’re traveling with, they might not like the idea of not having things booked ahead of time.
When you’re traveling with others, sometimes you get caught up in you’re interactions with each other and what you’re doing that you don’t really notice things going on around you. I’ve found that when I’m on my own with no one to talk to I’m more aware of my surroundings.
This one might sounds cheesy or cliche, but it’s true. You learn a lot about yourself when you step outside of your comfort zone. Solo traveling forces you to rely on yourself because you don’t have a friend around to lean on. I’ve pretty much overcome all my initial fears of solo travel. And those experiences have helped me in my normal day to day life, giving me more confidence and even more independence. I no longer really care what others think of me being on my own.
Traveling can really test a relationship. You’re with that person 24/7 which is probably like 1000 times longer than in “real life”. So it’s almost inevitable that there will be some tension or strain on the relationship at some point. You could be BFF’s back home but some friends just travel differently. Like I said earlier, it’s hard to find compatible travel partners, especially for longer trips.
When you’re solo traveling, if you want to have a conversation or you’re sick of being on your own, you have no choice but to talk to other people. You cannot just rely on your travel buddy for conversation, which tends to happen when you’re traveling with others. Also, travelers that are on their own are usually more approachable than travelers in groups. It can be intimidating for other solo travelers to talk to others that are in a group setting. I’ve always been pretty introverted. So approaching new people is definitely out of my comfort zone. But I have found that it’s not so hard to do for me when I’m traveling on my own. I’ve met so many great people on my solo travels, that I don’t think I would have if I were traveling with a friend.
Those are my top 7 reasons for solo traveling. Of these, my favorites are definitely the internal growth and meeting new people reasons.
Now that I’ve become more comfortable solo traveling, I feel like I can go anywhere. I don’t have to rely on someone else. If there’s somewhere I want to go, I just go…no planning, no trying to talk a friend into it, no wasted time. There are so many more opportunities and possibilities for me now.
Do you have different reasons? If so, I’d love to hear them. Feel free share in the comments below. Thanks 😀
Here are a couple of the blogs that really helped me when I was making my first solo adventure:
I recently read Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel. I highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking of making their first solo trip and also for veteran solo travelers.