As someone who is comfortable with themselves and appreciates time by themselves, I have never been worried about starting out on a solo trip. I’ve always valued the freedom of being able to sit quietly and uninterrupted with a book on a flight or looking at a map and thinking where do I want to go today and taking that spontaneous trip.
I know however, that not everyone is like this. Solo travel, like living alone is something that most have to get used to. In this article I’d like to share some tips and information about what I get from solo travel, to bring confidence to anyone thinking of setting out on their own, and reassure those who are perhaps worried about taking that first solo trip.
This is your holiday. It is an opportunity to visit a destination that you have always wanted to see, along with the freedom of exploring it at your own pace. Isn’t that great? So you know that thing you really wanted to go see? Hop to it because you know what, no-one is stopping you!
From time to time we all crave quietness and travelling alone leaves you some time to switch off from the world and enjoy living in your own little thoughtful bubble from a while.
No concerns about wellbeing of another –This sounds a bit selfish to begin with, but being with other people does come with some responsibilities and without a break these can begin to take a toll. Solo leisure time really has value in giving us time-out from the norm and the ability to relax in the moment, knowing no-one else is relying on you. Our nature thrives from variety of routine and you will be amazed how little time is needed to give you that reboot.
You are responsible for yourself with no answering to anyone else for the choices you made throughout the day.
While I would always try to keep a fairly clear head when travelling alone, having some solo free time also means that should you decide you want those cocktails with others along the road, you can just go ahead and have them!
Following closely behind this is guidance more than a warning to think of your safety. Mostly this is about awareness and common sense. Trust in your instincts, you’ve got this. If you do find yourself feeling a bit edgy, there are a ton of things you can do for extra security including the use of safety deposit boxes, avoiding quiet areas at night, and staying in contact with loved ones back home.
Learn as you go – Travel is surely one of the best ways of expanding that all important life-experience. With solo travel you are open to anything and everything and it is the situations you come across and learning how to deal with these situations on your own, that can truly help you grow. Have confidence in yourself and remember gut feelings count for a lot. But if you feel uncomfortable with a situation don’t forget, you have the ability to walk away.
I would never suggest taking a trip as a way of running from your problems. But you could have a problem or situation you need some thinking time on. Taking a trip alone, allows you space for you and that may be just what you need to get some perspective.
Its ok to want some company too! After four days of being an anonymous wanderer, you might find yourself craving a little conversation. Its amazing how easy it can be to find company to talk with. Internet cafes and bars are a great place to start as they are normally at least half full of neighbouring travellers. Common areas in hostels are another good bet if you happen to be staying in one. The homesick among you may ring a friend or family. Wherever you are, take the opportunity to chat with people that cross your path.
I try to make notes in my articles of places I encounter that lend themselves well to individual travel. But here are a few awesomes ones to check out: Barcelona / Chicago / Pisa / Bruges.
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