Traveling alone: Pros and cons of the solo adventure

Traveling alone: Pros and cons of the solo adventure

We are now traveling as a couple. But at the beginning of our journeys, we both traveled alone for a long time. And we loved it! Sure, traveling alone might not be for everyone, but we think it is something every traveler should try at least once. Are you trying to decide whether solo traveling is the right fit for you? Are you struggling with some doubts or fears? Then you might have come to the right place! We are here to share with you the pros and cons of solo travel.

Traveling alone: Pros

traveling alone photography
Costa Rica, 2018. Photo by Andres Viviani.

If you are reading this post, it’s probably because you haven’t tried solo travel yet. Maybe you are trying to find encouragement to do it, or perhaps you want to know beforehand how traveling alone would be. The truth is every traveler will live its own experience, so you will have to try it to discover how it works for you.

In the meantime, these are some of the main advantages that traveling alone has brought to us, and to many travelers before.

You will experience the ultimate freedom

The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.

– Henry David Thoreau

This is definitively the main advantage of solo travel. The freedom you will encounter alone on the road will be like nothing you felt before.

When you travel alone, you are in charge of everything. You will have no need to convince anyone to do what you want to do or see what you want to see. There will be no one around to stop you from following your guts.

You won’t have to wait for your partner to wake up or discuss where you should go next. You will follow your own schedule and be in charge of every second of your time.

Your itinerary will be completely up to you, and so will be every decision you will have to make. You will experience complete freedom. Whatever it is you want to do, you can!

You will interact more

Humans are social by nature, and travelers are not the exception. As you will be alone, you will be forced to socialize more with people outside your circle.

You won’t have your friends to talk to, so you will have to interact with strangers when you want to chat. Ergo, you will end up building new friendships with people from all over the world.

This works perfectly even if you are a shy type of person, as you won’t even need to start the conversations. Sometimes, just sitting at the common area of your accommodation or sitting at the hostel bar will serve as a hint that you are open to talk.

Besides, everything you will need to do, you will have to do it yourself. That means buying a bus ticket could turn into a perfect opportunity to practice that foreign language. Or even asking for directions could become a transcendent adventure.

You will get to know yourself better

traveling in colombia
Taganga bay, Colombia 2018.

There is nothing to self-discovery as good as traveling alone. When there is no one around to impose their ways, all you will have left will be your own will.

What do you really like? Are you a morning person, a hiker, a nature lover? What do you want to do with your time? How do you react to adversity, or to happiness, or loneliness? Are you a conversation starter, a natural leader, a follower? All the answers will meet you along the way.

If you travel alone, you will have the perfect opportunity to listen to your true self and learn more about who you are.

Many people think that traveling is somehow escaping from something, or attempting to leave something behind. Truth is, traveling is an excellent way to connect with yourself on a deeper level. Traveling alone, even more.

In the end, it will be simply you facing the world. Nothing else.

You will develop your self-esteem

Yes, traveling alone might be scary or uncomfortable at first. But as you keep moving, you will gain more and more confidence.

Traveling alone will present you obstacles you will most likely be able to overcome. It will push you to your limit and, as a result, you will develop new skills and grow, both as a traveler and as a person.

Sure, every kind of travel will make you grow. Leaving your comfort zone is an amazing learning opportunity by itself. But when you travel alone, the growth will happen a lot faster.

If you decide to embark on a solo adventure, you will be rewarded with the feeling that there’s nothing you can’t do. Just imagine, what a great way of being proud of yourself!

You will become responsible for yourself

When you are traveling alone, there’s no one to turn to when things get difficult. You will be the one person you can rely on. And that can be a fabulous thing!

Solo travel will force you to take full responsibility for yourself, your actions, your choices, your mistakes, and your good or bad judgment.

So you will most likely learn a lot. How to stay within your budget, how to take care of yourself, and even small mundane things, like how to cook!

I have heard that, when you travel, you can learn even more than if you were in college. And I definitively think it’s true. Do you agree?

Traveling alone: Cons

Of course, as with everything in life, there are also some disadvantages when it comes to solo travel. And even though we love this way of traveling, we were able to experience some of them.

So, when you are contemplating embarking on a solo adventure, don’t forget to consider also these cons before drawing your conclusion.

You might feel lonely sometimes

bolivia backpacking
Isla del Sol, Bolivia. 2019. Photo by Andres Viviani.

Sure, you will make new friends and you will meet interesting people all the time, but there will be moments when there will be nobody around.

Maybe you will have to hop on a long bus ride alone, and you will have to spend hours and hours with no one to talk to. Or perhaps you will arrive at some new hostel just to realize that you are the only guess around. It happened to us before!

And even homesick could affect you more because you won’t have anybody around to make you feel a little closer to home.

So the fact of being alone could really hit you. But if you think about it, maybe the loneliness could be the perfect excuse to work on your relationship with your self. Everybody needs some alone time eventually, don’t you think?

You will be on your own

When you decide to go on solo travel, there might be some occasions when you will miss having someone close around.

What if you are in the bus station waiting for your ride, and you need to go to the bathroom? You will probably have to carry all your belongings with you.

Or it could happen that you are in the mood for some fun night out in a new place, and you will have to go to a bar by yourself because you haven’t met anybody yet.

As scary as this might sound, being on your own is not as bad at all. Sure, you will have to do some extra work sometimes, but, as I said before, this will help you become more responsible for yourself. And that’s a great thing at the end.

It might be slightly more expensive

Some tours, accommodations, or even transportation all over the world are more likely to have group discounts, and if you can’t find people to join your activities, you might end up paying a little bit more.

Even catching a taxi will become a higher expense if you have to pay it alone. It’s not probable that you will meet someone at the airport going to the exact same accommodation, right?

The same concept can apply to almost everything. Cooking by yourself it’s gonna cost a little more than cooking with somebody else and splitting the costs. And it will be like that when it comes to drinking as well.

So this is definitely a disadvantage. But don’t worry too much, for most things, you will probably find a company along the way.

And even traveling alone can be done in an economical way. Discover how in this post about traveling on a budget.

“Loving life is easy when you are abroad. Where no one knows you and you hold your life in your hands all alone, you are more master of yourself than at any other time.”

– Hannah Arendt

We want to know what you think. Do you feel ready to travel alone now? Have you already tried it? Can you think of some more pros and cons? Use the comment section below. We will be happy to answer your questions or read about your experience.

Have a great adventure!

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