Solo Travel: The good, the bad & the lonely. Written By Susan Walsh
I have travelled on my own since 1997, and I would never trade what I’ve learned and the experiences I’ve had, for anything.
Solo travel is a mixed bag – you have complete freedom to do what you want, when you want – but you’re alone when you do it. I learned quickly to compensate by approaching people, joining day tours, and making myself available for anything unexpected that crossed my path.
Now for the big three of solo travel, and how I use them to make my own adventures a richer experience.
There is so much good in solo travel, it’s hard to know where to begin. Absolute freedom is number one, quickly followed by the ability to change plans at a moment’s notice. My first trip was 3 and a half weeks of wandering, with no reservations – just a list of possible destinations in my head.
To this day it’s still one of my favorite experiences, with memories still as fresh as the day I made them.
To just go, not knowing what each day may bring – that is true freedom. I tend to plan more tightly now, simply because I have so much I want to do, and particular places I want to be, that leaving details like accommodation and theatre tickets to chance is no longer an option.
Someday, I will simply hop on a plane again and let my feet take me where they will.
But being able to make all the decisions, and change them if I want – that is definitely the good in solo travel.
Expense. That’s my major negative traveling on my own. I foot the bill for everything.
No 2 for 1 deals, no splitting the cost of a room, no sharing cheap dinners. It’s all on me.
I accept this as part and parcel of choosing to travel alone, plan accordingly, and find the best deals I can.
Saving in some areas – accommodation, eating takeaways or at my favorite quick-bite sit-down, pret a manger – allows me to splurge on other things, like theatre tickets, day tours, and more expensive sights.
It’s all about juggling, knowing priorities, and being able to make small sacrifices for a bigger reward.
Solo travel can be desperately lonely – especially for someone who’s shy around strangers. (Yes, that would be me.)
I got over my shyness quickly, mostly in self-defense. I refused to spend nearly a month on my own, not talking to anyone except the people who helped me in stores and cafes.
Putting yourself out there, approaching people when you’re alone in a foreign country – can be scary. My antidote for lonely is always the same: talk to people!
I have met amazing, funny, intelligent people in my travels, and my life is richer for them having been a part of my experience. And I have found that the more I reach out, the easier it gets.
The simple truth is, solo travel isn’t for everyone. But if you have the itch, the need to strike out on your own, it can be the most profound and life-changing experience you’ll ever have.
Until next time – keep travelling solo, girl!
P.S – Have you joined our Solo Women Travel Tribe yet? This is a private Facebook community for Solo Women Travellers from all over the globe. This is a place to learn, inspire, share & connect with fellow Solo Women Travellers. CLICK HERE to join us!