…But you may want to at least try it.
It’s Friday. It’s almost time to go. This will kill your time.
So this little gem popped up last night and is still going this morning…
Without hesitation, I booked dates for October 10-24 (my birthday is October 15). I didn’t consider where I’d stay, what I’d do in Australia or — what most people consider first — who would go with me. Like, it’s just never a thought in my mind anymore who will travel with me because usually no one does. You know how this goes:
Six months in advance:
You: I’m planning a trip to Not Even That Far or Expensive.
People: Oh I’m down! Send me the info.
Six months later: *crickets*, meanwhile deposits lost and friendships severed
That’s why I book first, ask questions later.
Why Travel Alone?
I can’t tell you why you MUST travel alone. I can tell you why I HIGHLY recommend it though (at least once):
- Once you conquer that first solo trip, you’ll feel like you can do anything. It’s legit empowering. If nothing else, my solo travel sheninigans have shown me I can actually do all things through Christ (and wifi). Pretty much, once you are able to navigate any place where you don’t speak the language but then you beast that situation, no one can touch your travel confidence. And travel confidence is a subset of just plain ole confidence. So it’s a win.
- A lot of blogs will promote the whole social/community/we are citizens of the world aspect of solo travel (i.e. you’re solo but not ALONE, you meet such great people while traveling yada yada yada). Generally this is true. Especially if you frequent hostels, which I do. However, some people are private and prefer not to be skipping around the world collecting multinational friends (or “friends”) like this is some global Easter egg hunt of humans. So I don’t stay in touch with anyone I interact with while out. It is fun to meet and eat and see the sights with people you meet on your travels, and you personally may opt to keep in contact with them. Having international friends is like sticking a locator pin in a place that you can revisit.
- My biggest reason for traveling alone: you can do whatever the heck you want, whenever you want. You can do nothing at all. You can stay in a hostel or a 5* hotel. You can deviate from the plan. You can be planless. You can book a glitch fare to Australia as soon as you see it without waiting on anyone to decide if they have enough PTO or if they’re gonna go to their cousin’s wedding because if so they can’t go but they won’t know if they’re going to their cousin’s wedding until they talk to their OTHER cousin who is supposed to split the hotel………..*dial tone* I’m gone.
- That’s it. For me. I mean, there are other reasons but it’s Friday and I’m just tryna give you some light reading to take you to 5:00 since you’re not working anyway.
How To Start Traveling Alone
- Stop telling yourself you can’t. Oh girl, that’s brave. Couldn’t be me. Imma be like you when I grow up ha ha ha. No. No ha ha. Just decide. There is no reason at ALL that you actually can’t go somewhere alone, even on a trip. If you don’t want to, no shade. But if you’re curious and are afraid, that’s an owl of a different color. Now, I am being somewhat hypocritical because I’m afraid of almost everything major (commitment, change, failure, unknowns, being out of control, failure, success, failure…) which is really all the same root issue but that’s a different blog. We’re here to talk travel. My point is if I can do it, you definitely can.
- Start small. Whatever is relatively small to you. If your goal is an international solo trip, plan something for the next state or city away and go alone. Or if you’ve NEVER done anything alone, start with that. Dinner, a movie, out to an event or venue. It’s not that scary. I kinda cheated. I worked alone in Japan for 6 weeks in 2010 and the rest is history. That was my first taste of solo travel and clearly, almost 40 countries later, it was addictive.
- Start big. This is the opposite of starting small, in case you didn’t get that reference. By big I mean book a solo trip. Just book it. Too big might be scary (I’m thinking a 6-month excursion backpacking through South America) and I wouldn’t recommend something HUGE for a first solo outing. But just pulling the trigger and booking something, anything, is starting big. You can do that if you choose. Just decide to.
- The rest is all admin work. Research your destination. Talk to people who have solo traveled and will encourage you rather than freak you out. Be safe and practice common sense.
The Downside of Solo Travel
- You will have experiences that you wish you could share with someone. I’ve had plenty of that. Why do you think I even started this blog?
- It can be more expensive than traveling with others. There’s no one to split costs with and you can forget about vacation packages. They’re almost always priced for double occupancy or else there’s the horrible single supplement, ole child of Satan. Bleh. And I say it can be more expensive but it’s not necessarily so. The group may not want to stay in a cheap but still clean, safe and cute $14/night hostel. But alone, I can do stuff like that.
- It CAN be risky. However, that’s where common sense and situational awareness come in. It’s actually more dangerous in many places in the United States (where I live) than abroad. It just doesn’t feel that way because home is familiar. Traveling around is generally safe. When alone, it’s best not to be so touristy. Don’t flash money or be all loud and obnoxious. Don’t assume you can just go wherever you want. Respect the local rules and culture. Be aware. Basically, turn your Americanness down from a 9 or 10 to a 3.
- You may find that you have to check your patience when you do travel with other humans again. Because humans try patience. Fact.
So that’s my rough spiel about solo travel. Did that entertain you until quittin’ time?
Any other questions or comments about solo travel? What’d I miss?