The journey begins! You have decided to take the plunge and be a lone traveller. You’re excited at first, yet soon enough that wave of excitement turns into fear, you become apprehensive and finally self-doubt creeps in about whether it is indeed a good idea to go to an unfamiliar foreign country on your own.
The fear will play on your mind right until you take off on the runway of your flight that takes you to the country of origin and so begins the first steps of going travelling on your own. Soon enough into your single travel experience, you realise that your self-worry was for nothing as you enjoy the freedom of being a lone traveller and working through your itinerary that you created all by yourself.
Let the journey begin! The initial fears will come, there is no stopping that, but while you’re at home preparing for your vacation alone and creating your itinerary, have a read through this article and check out the positives, the negatives and a few solo travel tips that may come in handy for your impending adventure overseas.
The Lone Traveller – The Pros & Cons of Travelling on your Own
The Positives of travelling alone
There are many positives when you are going travelling alone; in fact, the pros largely outweigh the cons, especially if you’re an introvert style individual and love the thought of going alone. Let’s nut out a few of the positives when tripping alone and get you all excited for your time abroad.
☑ Freedom to do as please: Freedom is absolutely the most significant thing to come out of travelling alone, you can wake up when you want, stay up late if you wish, go to attractions that you want to see and eat what you want, when you want. There is no one else stopping you from doing as you please, you are the master of your destiny, and if anything goes wrong on your solo trip abroad, you only have yourself to blame.
☑ Keeps the cost down: The cost of travelling alone is kept down, way down. You book a flight for one, accommodation for one, tours for one and you dine alone. Usually, when travelling alone, you keep everything at budget prices, as there is only yourself to please and you know exactly what you want out of your solo holiday travel
☑ The ability to Pack light: You can pack light and bring with you the essentials you need for your trip. There is no need to pack or worry about others and if a backpack suffices for your travels, even better, as it gives you the freedom to move around and be versatile in your daily decision making.
☑ Get around with ease: When you are a lone traveller, there is no need to look over the shoulder at your companion or kids to see what the hold up is. You can board the flight, the bus, the tour with only yourself to worry about and get to your daily attractions with ease.
☑ Meet other solo travellers: It can’t be helped when you take trips by yourself, you’ll always find other single travellers during your everyday adventures because there are many out there in the world of travel, and usually, they are great people to hang out with. While you have the right to remain cautious when meeting new people, embrace the fact that they are too solo travellers and wish to socialise over a beer for a few hours. You never know, you may meet a few long-time friends or that someone special along the way.
☑ Appreciate the world in a whole new way: Travelling on your own opens the world in a whole new light, as you sit back and enjoy everything that is around you with new meaning. The streets open up, and you get into the finer details of what is around you. Attractions are appreciated because you have further time to get to know the place you are visiting and food is enjoyed as you devour the flavours of the locally made dish in front of you. There is no one to rush you when you vacation alone, and time is not essential.
The negatives of being a lone traveller
There are negatives, only a few, but to be honest, they are only the negative nellies if you let it be, so let’s check out a few of the things that may get you down when taking a trip alone.
⬊ Loneliness does creep in: While you’ll initially enjoy the freedom of being alone, at times, loneliness will creep in, and you’ll miss the comfort of being around your partner, family and friends. It’s only natural that when you’re flying alone that a little sadness and homesickness will come and get you, usually late at night in your hotel room and wish to have a conversation.
⬊ Vulnerable to safety & security: Of course, you can be exposed when you are taking a trip alone, perhaps you lack a little confidence, and you get taken advantage of, or you get ripped off the because you are no good at negotiating prices and don’t feel the strength to get into a fight. Naturally, there are safety and security concerns too; it’s best to avoid travelling alone at night or to avoid visiting places that have some risk, in doing so, it’s advised to do your research when heading into an unknown destination.
⬊ You can get a little uncomfortable: Going travelling alone can create a few awkward moments where you can feel like the biggest dill in the world, and there is no hole big enough to hide away in. It’s probably your sense of insecurity that makes you feel this way because when you do travel alone, there is usually no one to assist you, to partner up with to make decisions or to offer support when you make a foolish mistake in front of strangers. Don’t threat; however, only you’ll remember the awkward moments at the end of the day.
⬊ Best moments are seen only to yourself: When I travel alone, I often think, “how cool would it be if my wife could see this with me.” While it is fantastic that you are witnessing the best moments in life, you do wish that someone special was with you to share those epic moments with when abroad. Not the end of the world, you can always brag about it when you get home.
Helpful tips of being a solo traveller
Do your research: Research your targeted destinations by reading reviews, advice and tips on which specific destinations are more suited to solo travellers. Which countries are the best solo female travel destinations? What areas should be avoided? If any, and if you do find yourself in any trouble where do I go to seek help, such as your country’s consulate or police. Any secondary research you conduct can help with future decisions you may make on your solo adventure travel.
Reduce your Vulnerability: Steer clear of dark alleys, don’t go out late at night on your own or avoid areas that don’t look right. You get the drift, reduce being in a vulnerable situation by not putting yourself in a potentially tricky position.
Minimise the amount of cash you carry: Minimise the amount of money you take with you when out and about or try to avoid walking around with your credit card if you are going to be the target of theft, at least let the damage be minimal. On the same note, take copies of passport with you and leave the proper passport in the hotel safe along with other valuables.
Carry a bag that is secure: Carry a day back with you that cannot be pried away from your grip with ease, examples are a travel wallet that wraps around your waist or a day backpack that is secured over your shoulder where all valuables are safe and secure in the zipped-bag.
Best countries to travel alone
If you do your research, you’ll find there are many high countries to travel alone that offer an abundance of activities to do individually, and you don’t need to narrow it down to the last ten or twenty you find on websites during your google research. No matter which country you choose to go for solo travel, you always need to have your wits about you and remain alert for any suspicious behaviour, much like you do for group travel.
In saying that, the team at Fair Dinkum traveller has come up with its list for the safest countries to travel alone, to give you the lone traveller, suggestions for where you should go for your upcoming solo trip.
Fair Dinkum traveller’s selection of the ten best countries for Solo Travel. (No disrespect for those left off the list)
The Final Verdict of the Lone Traveller
If you look beyond the vulnerability, safety concerns and insecurity involved with solo travel, you’ll find it’s an experience to simply saviour. Especially if your the type of person who loves their own company, because let’s face it, you’re going to spend a lot of your time on the road alone.
I love to travel alone, not as much as taking my own family abroad and teaching the kids the way of the world. However, if there is a time I get the chance to be a selfish traveller, I grab it with both hands without asking questions and appreciate the world in a whole new light.