The Pros And Cons Of Solo Travel

The Pros And Cons Of Solo Travel

Every part of life has it’s good as well as it’s bad; this is especially true of solo travel. There are positives and negatives to traveling by yourself, and in this post we’ve written down our thoughts on each.

 

Pros of Solo Travel

The biggest advantage of traveling by yourself is that you get to do whatever you want, whenever you want. If you want to wake up early to watch the sunrise, you can. If you’re tired and want to sleep in, you can. If you want to linger and read every placard at a museum, you can. If you’re not hungry and want to skip lunch to get to the next attraction on your list, you can.

 

Another advantage to solo travel is that you have the opportunity to meet and talk to a lot more people. If you’re traveling with a significant other or friend, you are most likely going to spend your time paying attention to and talking to them. You may miss out on some interesting conversations or friendships.

 

When you travel by yourself, you also discover just how strong you can be. You rely on you and you alone, and often end up pushing yourself in ways you didn’t know you could. It’s on you to figure out the bus system. It’s on you to figure out which trail to take. It’s on you to negotiate the price for a taxi ride. Things you never thought you would or could do, you end up doing. Maybe not always gracefully, or even that well; but you do them. And that’s something to be proud of.

 

Iguazu Waterfalls

During my solo trip to Iguazu, I met amazing people that I am still friends with today.

 

Cons of Solo Travel

I take a lot of photos. But when you travel by yourself, you’re just not in any of them. I’m not a fan of selfie sticks either, so once in awhile it’d be nice to travel with someone who wouldn’t mindย taking pictures of me. Sure, sometimes you can find another solo traveler and offer to take their picture in exchange for them taking yours. But still.

 

Baby elephant at Elephant Nature Park

During my visit to Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, I befriended another solo traveler and we took pictures of each other throughout the day.

 

When you travel by yourself, there’s no one to watch your bags while you use the bathroom. Airport and train/bus station bathrooms aren’t huge, and trying to squeeze in while carrying backpacks or luggage is a pain in the ass. It’d be nice to be able to take turns with someone… “You go and I’ll watch the bags. I’ll go when you get back.”

 

There have been a few times now where I was denied a better table at a restaurant because I was eating alone. For example, I went to a restaurant in Cambodia where besides dinner they also had a show of typical local dances. I got there early so I could get a good table, and even though the place was still pretty empty, I was made to sit further back. They told me the better tables were for parties of two or more.

 

Dancer at Temple Bar in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Trying to get a decent photo above people’s heads in Cambodia.

 

Another pretty big disadvantage to traveling by yourself is you have no one to share costs with. If you’re traveling on a budget, you may have to stay at a hostel. If I was traveling with someone, a hotel would be doable if we were splitting the cost of the room.

 

Safety is also a concern. I realize anything can happen to anyone, whether they’re traveling solo or in a group. But the truth is, you do have to be a little more cautious when you’re traveling by yourself. Sometimes I’ve stayed in at night instead of going out because I didn’t feel comfortable walking by myself.

 

A street in Ao Nang, Thailand at night

Some places feel safer than others when you’re walking by yourself at night.

 

Adding on to the topic of safety, when you’re traveling by yourself you can’t (or shouldn’t) drink as much as you would if you were traveling with someone. If you drink too much, who’s going to help you back to your room? Who’s going to make sure no one steals your wallet?

 

I know that I mentioned that a positive thing about solo travel is how tough it can make you, but sometimes it’s nice to have someone there with you when you have a freak out moment. Like when everything has gone to shit and you feel like screaming and crying (like when I had my road trip from hell). It’d be nice to have someone help you figure things out, or just calm you down a bit.

 

And of course, when you travel by yourself you sometimes get lonely. When you’re sitting by yourself at a restaurant. Or lying in your bed at night (especially then). You wish you had someone there to share the amazing experiences with.

 

Should you travel on your own?

So with all that being said, do I think people should travel by themselves? Yes!! Solo travel can be exhausting at times, but also so exhilarating. Just like anything, I think people should try it at least once in their lifetime. You may love it, or you may hate it. But there’s only one way to find out.

 

Have you ever traveled by yourself? What do you think are the pros and cons of solo travel? We’d love to read your comments below! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Considering traveling on your own? We tell you the pros and cons of solo travel and whether or not we think you should take that solo trip.

 

24 Comments
  • Stephen says:

    I love solo travel, particularly for the reasons you’ve stated. Ability to go anywhere, and set your schedule the way you see fit. But, yes, there are times when it would be nice to have someone with me. Again, for the reasons you mention. ๐Ÿ™‚

    6 of one, and half a dozen of the other?

  • Joe S. says:

    I think one of the reasons I don’t travel more often is because I don’t want to go alone. I want to share new places and experiences “with” someone. That’s just me though. I really should just get over that and just get out there!

    • Buddy says:

      I totally understand Joe. I say you travel alone at least once though, just to see what you think of it. You may find that you really like it. And if not, at least you know you gave it a fair shot.

  • I totally agreed with you! I love traveling by myself because I have all the freedom in the world, but I also love traveling with my husband so I can share the experience with him. I guess it is about finding that balance in life!

  • Sheena says:

    The biggest cons for me are not being able to go to the toilet easily while travelling or having someone to do many photo takes till I get the shot I like! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • You nailed it. I love traveling solo. I’m able to interact more with locals when I’m by myself. But it is hard to get great pictures of yourself. And the safety concern, especially for a woman, is huge. One thing to add is that tours and cruises are more expensive because of the single supplement.

  • Mags says:

    That’s crazy about the restaurant in Cambodia! They won’t let you sit up front by yourself?! That’s awful.

  • I travel by myself quite often for blog related events and press trips, so I can vouch for just about every one of these pros and cons. I do love that I can do whatever and go wherever I want to go without having to take anyone else into consideration, but I also love traveling with my family and sharing the experiences with them.

  • Claire says:

    I’m a huge fan of solo travel but there are a few downsides. I think not having someone to watch the bags has always been the most annoying to me

  • Sutee says:

    I’ve too experienced the ups and downs of traveling solo. I’ve had more meals by myself than I had every imagined and am not always eager to meet new people because I’m introverted and get tired of having the same smalltalk. I think the good medium is to meet closer friends during various segments.

  • Drew says:

    I’ve never done a ton of solo travel, but the times I have, I definitely found it very different to my normal travel style. The cost alone is such a bummer, especially when it comes to accommodations and the dreaded single supplement on tours/cruises/etc. Of course, the best part is doing exactly what you want to do all day!

  • Rachael says:

    I’ve never traveled solo, but it is something I plan to experience at least once just to see what it is like.

  • Holly says:

    Funny I was just sitting down thinking about this yesterday. I personally like to travel with others or at the very least meet up with people I know when I get to my destination.

  • Having no one to watch your bags is a huge con with solo travel. Argh! I hate lugging my bags everywhere, haha. The freedom is worth it, though.

  • Indrani says:

    Yes while pros are many for solo travel but the cons are equally demotivating. That is pretty annoying that the hotels refuse good tables even though you came early. Hope you get someone to look after your bags when you are in. I have faced that situation a couple of times.

  • This post definitely speaks to me and I actually wish I read it a few years ago! I don’t regret my solo travel at all but I would change a few things. One thing being not traveling solo for TOO long. I think 2-3 weeks is my max. Thanks for sharing your experiences ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Yes, you certainly meet a lot more people when you’re on your own! I really enjoy that. I’ve met some great people while solo traveling and it’s why I recommend solo travel to everyone… at least once! It never hurts to try. Thanks for sharing and happy travels ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Doing solo travels are the best things that I did in my travel life. I agree on all of these especially on the photo part. ha ha ha Well I’m just being friendly to ask people to take photo of me ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Even though I have a built in travel partner in my awesome hhusband I do like to get away on my own once in a while.

  • Therie says:

    Definitely agree about safety concerns, but traveling solo is something everyone should try at least once in life. It’s not for everybody but it’s worth the try.

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Hi! I'm Vicky, a South Florida-based blogger traveling around the world with my stuffed monkey Buddy. We show you how to make travel a priority while working a full time job. Click on the photo to learn more!

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