My first solo international trip was to Colombia in November 2017. I called my dad at the airport and told him I was traveling alone to Colombia. Of course, he replied, “You know its dangerous for a young woman to be traveling by herself”. I replied, “Dad it’s dangerous everywhere and I think its perfectly fine for women to travel solo”. After the conversation, I felt a range of emotions such as being nervous, anxious and excited. Although I had various hiccups in Colombia, my first international trip was a success. I’m glad I took the plunge and I encourage you to do so as well.
Let’s check out the Cons and Pros of traveling solo.
Cons of Solo Travel
1 Some people may charge a solo supplement fee-Every time I see supplement fee, I feel as if I’m being punished for wanting to travel solo. LOL. I see this additional fee on cruises, Groupon trips and some guided tours that require at least two people.
- Solution: Book cruises on Norwegian as they do not have a supplement fee. Join a group tour or use Airbnb experiences if available.
2. May feel lonely- If you are traveling solo, you may have to explore, eat, and or sight-see by yourself. Having no one to share these experiences can become lonely.
- Solution: Start by going on solo activities at home. Go to the movies, dine at a restaurant, go on a hike and or attend a concert solo.
3. Dangerous- While I think traveling is very safe, being alone can put you at a higher risk of being harmed.
- Solution: (A) Always let someone know where you’re going. For example, when in Madrid, Spain I text my mother on WhatsApp to let her know I was hanging out with a male friend. (B) Informed hotel/hostel of whereabouts before leaving. (C) Be aware of your surroundings, if it doesn’t feel right follow your instincts. (D) If you drink, don’t set your cup down or drink to the point where you become inebriated. (E) Make friends during the day, so you will have friends to hang out with during the evening.
Pros of Solo Travel
- You don’t have to ask for anyone’s approval of the itinerary– When I travel with others, I create an itinerary and ask everyone to look over it. When I travel solo, I create plans for myself and I don’t have to worry if anyone approves.
- You can book a trip and change plans– For example, let’s say you are traveling in Bali and find out there is a music festival in Thailand. As a solo traveler, you have the flexibility to switch routes and destinations as needed.
- It can be cheaper if you plan your own trip– I plan my own trips and it is significantly cheaper than joining a group tour or going through a travel agent. Although planning trips can be tedious, I prefer to plan in order to save money.
- Meet friends around the world– I love hanging with the locals and meeting other globetrotters. I have friends around the world that I can keep in contact with through social media apps such as Facebook and Whatsapp.
- Be selfish– I normally wouldn’t say being selfish is a pro but in this case, we will make an exception. During a solo trip, you have the option to think of only your needs and wants. Cater to yourself by eating at a 5-star restaurant, splurging on a new dress or booking a fancy hotel.
- Confidence– Taking a solo trip and navigating the world has increased my confidence. I’m sure it will do the same for you as well.
- Time– A Solo trip is a great opportunity to focus on self-reflection. Do you Want to write a book or create something new? This is the perfect time to invest in yourself and work on your craft.
- You will realize your inner strength– It is easy to underestimate your strength. When you have to think quick on your toes and problem solve, you realize how strong you really are?!
If you are thinking about taking a solo trip, as Nike says, “Just Do It”.
Solo Traveling Quotes
“Traveling the world on my own made me more conﬁdent. I am me now!” -Unknown
“If you are waiting for someone to travel with you, then you might wait for a lifetime” -Anonymous
“Traveling solo does not always mean you’re alone. Most often, you meet marvelous people along the way and make connections that last a lifetime.” — Jacqueline Boone