Solo travel is great, until you need someone to put suncream on your back 😂
I have spoken at length about why I prefer to travel solo and the positive effects that I find it has on my own mental health and well being. I stand firmly by the fact that everyone should experience travelling alone at least once in their life.
Thanks to social media I can watch other fearless females take on the world as they gallivant around the globe all by themselves and ultimately, this is what inspires me to follow suit and do the same. Instagram and Twitter is flooded with articles and headlines encouraging solo travel and I have embraced this concept myself many times now, building up my confidence and pushing myself further out of my comfort zone with each new trip that I embark on.
However, what I find is missing from the online world that is shoving the advantages of solo travel down our throats is the sometimes harsh truths about the downside of being on your own. Solo travel isn’t always as glamorous as it seems and perhaps it isn’t for everyone. The reality is that there are several pitfalls to being alone in a foreign country.
Safety is probably the biggest thing to be aware of, especially as a solo female traveller. Being on your own does make you more vulnerable and at more risk than if traveling as a group. Violent attacks on women are sadly becoming more common, especially in under developed countries such as India. I try not to let this issue put me off and I have travelled solo to places such as Istanbul and Jordan without any issues. Safety is always in the back of mind and I take precautions to avoid situations that could put me in danger or that make me feel uncomfortable.
Loneliness can creep in when you least expect it. I very rarely feel lonely when I am away on my own as I am more than content with my own company. I tend to prefer solitude and often shy away from group situations as they can cause real anxiety for me but occasionally, I find that when I am visiting somewhere that completely blows my mind (visiting Jordan comes to mind) I get that slight pang of wishing that I had someone there to share the special moment with.
Being on your own means having to figure EVERYTHING out your self and plan things all on your own. This can sometimes feel intimidating or scary or confusing but you WILL always figure it out. As you travel solo, being totally responsible for yourself means that you will inevitably discover just how capable you really are.
When you’re with someone and come to a kink in your travels, it’s usually turns out to be a ‘good story’ when you relay it back to other people. When you’re by yourself though, these setbacks can feel much more frustrating, disheartening and usually cost more money to fix.
Solo travel can be more expensive. Obviously travelling in a group means splitting the cost of things such as hotel rooms or taxis and often hotels will charge a single person supplement. This always seems unfair to me and almost feels like a punishment for being on your own.
Solo travel is not as glamorous as you think. You have to do all your own planning and research, carry all you own luggage, do all your own driving and like I mentioned before there is no one to put your sun cream on so you either end up trying to contort into positions just to reach your back or more often than not end up with burnt areas that you have missed 🙈
Yes…..this last point may sound very vain but not having anyone to take your picture can be highly annoying. There has been many times that I have had to sweet talk a nearby person in to taking my picture (often multiple times as I am very fussy about how I like my pictures to be taken) trusting that they will not run off with my phone or camera. And soon enough, the selfie stick will become your best pal in order to get the perfect shot standing in front of that iconic landmark!
BUT despite all this, solo travel is truly exhilarating, liberating and totally rewarding. I wouldn’t travel any other way and I still choose to travel solo at every opportunity that I can.