Solo travel is not for everyone (and that’s ok)

Komodo Padar Beaches V
Solo travel is awesome… if you dig it!

You’ve read all those travel blogs, lots of people out there expounding on their love for solo travel, swearing that it is the ultimate freedom, spending time spent on their own without heed for anyone else, scorning the herds of ‘tourists’ being led around by a flag… solo travel seems to be one of life’s greatest challenges, to strike out on your own and experience amazing adventures!

Sometimes, it feels like you’re not a proper traveller if you’re not traveling solo.

Tomonoura Ioji Sakura Feet
Just me and all the fallen sakura to myself

But guess what – it’s perfectly ok not to like solo travel if that’s not your thing.

There are so many ways of travel, and going solo is just one way to go about it. I’m very much about travelling however you like as long as it makes you happy. Maybe you just like having a familiar voice in your ear when in a foreign place, or having a buddy beside you to share the experience with during and after a trip. Maybe you’re just happier travelling when someone else takes care of all the nitty gritty details and planning, but you shouldn’t feel any less of a traveller just because you don’t like traipsing off on your own.

Kenya Nairobi Giraffe Centre Warthog
The warthog and the giraffe seem vastly different but you’ll often find them living together so they’re about as friendly as wild animals can get – remember your best friends may not be your best travel buddies!. I took this at the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi, Kenya

But that being said, don’t knock solo travel until you’ve tried it for yourself. I never thought I would love travelling on my own until I actually embarked on that first solo trip to Seoul, and now I’m making it a point to do at least one solo trip every year. You’re never gonna know how you really feel about it until you actually do it, right?

France Nice Chateau Hill Selfie
My first solo trip was to Seoul in 2011, but my first ever solo experience was back in 2007 when I spent a night on my own travelling the Cote de Azur. This is me on a very rainy day in Nice – read more about that here

Travelling solo is an adventure and can be a big step for lots of people who are used to being with others. If you’re eager to try travelling solo but are not sure whether you want to plunge right into it, there are lots of things you can do to get that feel and see if it works for you.

My advice is to start small – don’t immediately embark on a long Around-the-World solo trip unless you’re prepared for it, or you might just end up being really lonely and hating it. Perhaps start by making parts of your group trip solo, by taking half a day or a day off to amble on your own. If you enjoy that, start extending that solo portion to days, or go on trips earlier/later than your friends and see how you like being on your own. You’ll start to get a better feel of what exactly your comfort level is when it comes to going solo.

Solo Travel Stormtrooper Ducks JD Hancock
Sometimes you just gotta try and shake things up a bit! Photo via Flickr CC by JD Hancock

And while I think you don’t have to like solo travel to be a ‘proper traveller’ – that’s just plain snobbery – I think it’s important to always be self-reliant whether you’re travelling on your own or with a group. The thing about travelling with other people is that you start to overlook the details assuming that someone else will pick up the slack, and for me that takes away from the whole experience. You remember something a lot better when you’ve had some stake in making that decision.

So always make sure that you are contributing to the group planning – it also makes you less helpless if the main planner suddenly pulls out. Be a traveller that others want to travel with, and not the clingy helpless cautionary tale everyone bitches about having to travel with.

Solo Travel Helpful Loren Kerns
When just offering a hand is not always the most… helpful. Photo via Flickr CC by Loren Kerns

Are you a solo travel lover or one who prefers to have a group? What type of travel do you enjoy?

Read more about my solo traveller musings, or some stories on my encounters on the road as a woman who loves travel.

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2 thoughts on “Solo travel is not for everyone (and that’s ok)”

  1. I started traveling solo last year and like you, now plan to do one solo trip every year. I’ve just come back from a trip to London and Edinburgh, and relished every minute of being on my own.

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