During my last few years of traveling I often take solace in solo travel. I feel as if every day I spend traveling I become molded into a better version of myself. But solo travel is often bittersweet; I sometimes find myself wanting someone to share the moment with. I definitely think it’s worth traveling alone especially when often times my other option is to stay home- which there’s no way in hell I’m going to go that. So here are my reasons why I love solo travel and a few for why I hate it!
6 Reasons Why I Love Solo Travel
1. I decide what I do and when I do it
When I travel alone, I get to decide what I want to do and when I want to do it. I get to be utterly in control of my trip. This means that I don’t have someone else dragging me along to see sights that I’m not all that interested in or having to be the friend that says we can’t do something because it’s out of my budget. I felt so bad for a friend of mine who went on a trip to Thailand with me and some others because everything that he wanted to do at least one other person in the group didn’t want to go. He didn’t end up doing most of what he wanted because of the other people in the group. I love the control and freedom solo travel gives me.
2. I don’t have others’ negative energy around me
Travel is a stressful time and often things don’t go your way. Some people react poorly in these situations and that can totally kill the mood or ruin the trip. It’s much easier when you don’t have to negotiate other people’s negative feelings
3. I’m not responsible for anybody else
When I’m traveling on my own I much more easy going because I don’t feel like I have to be responsible for making sure everything goes according to plan. If something changes then so what? But when I’m in a group, especially if I’m the most experienced traveler, I feel responsible for planning and making sure everything goes smoothly so when something goes wrong (like walking five blocks in the wrong direction) I feel like it’s my own fault and then get more frustrated because I feel like people are relying on me. Whereas if I’m by myself, it’s easier to shrug off whatever’s going on.
4. There’s no hemming and hawing over what to do.
What do you want to eat? I don’t know what do you want? Do you want to go check out this museum? Eh, I’m not sure what do you think? This conversations are total time wasters and they end up making whatever your about to do seem way less exciting. This dancing around where nobody will actually say what they want drives me insane!
5. There’s more time for reflection and observation
When I travel alone, I find that I observe more of what’s around me. I take it in more and reflect on my experience more. I’m content people watching for hours. I’m not sure why, other than maybe since I’m not in a conversation with someone else I have a greater awareness of my surroundings. It’s almost like I let the experience take over me more. I think more about actions I take and the actions of those around me.
6. I talk to more locals and people different than myself
When I’m traveling with friends, I almost never met new people. When I travel alone I have more of a reason to open myself up to random conversations with locals and other travelers. I’m also more often approached by people; it’s less intimidating to talk to people who are alone. Meeting other people while traveling has sparked some of my favorite travel moments, like my random night hanging out with some Russians in Nha Trang, Vietnam or road tripping to the Emerald Pool in Krabi.
4 Reasons I Hate Solo Travel
1. An explanation to someone is not the same as them being there
Every once in a while I’ll eat, see or do something that I just know my friend, mom or brother would love and while I can explain the experience to them it’s just not the same as having that person there with you. Also if you’re in a super romantic place like Hoi An, Vietnam, where the ambiance just makes you want to fall in love, it can get a bit lonely.
2. My pictures don’t look great
It’s hard to frame a good shot of yourself while traveling alone. I’m often too scared to leave my camera a few meters away to stage a photo which means I don’t have a lot of good photos with me in them. Most of my photos end up being selfies. I also finally broke down and bought a selfie stick. It’s so bad…
3. Going out to bars or clubs can be hard
When I’m solo traveling I have to keep my safety in mind more than when I am with a group. Typically, I feel incredibly safe but it’s a challenge to experience nightlife as solo travel and keep yourself safe. It’s not impossible but just a bit more difficult.
4. I am responsible for all the planning
After traveling alone for most of my recent trips, it was great to go to Singapore with a friend who knew the area a bit more than I did. I felt off the hook. I didn’t have to book anything or figure out where we were going; I could just relax during the trip. I wasn’t worried about getting lost or making sure we got somewhere by a certain time. It felt so nice! Yes, I know this somewhat contrasts the idea that you can do whatever you want, but sometimes it is nice to have someone take you around and not have to think about where you are.
Have you traveled solo? If not, what’s holding you back? If so, what’s your favorite part? Comment below!