Feb 19

Traveling Solo

Traveling solo is a challenge for some.  It can be the worst of times but also the best of times.  I’ve traveled solo many times – sometimes by choice and sometimes by necessity.  Whether you’re a life-long single like me, or recently divorced, or anything in between – solo travel can be extremely rewarding.

 

Advantages:

  • Do everything you want to do, when you want to do it.
  • When you are solo, locals seem to be more friendly. I’ve had some amazing opportunities due to traveling solo – including Tea with Jam and Bread in a yak herder’s home in Kyrgyzstan and lunch in an Armenian village.
  • Locals even may look out for you. When I left the Amazon jungle in northern Ecuador when a bus strike was going on, I hung out for hours with oil workers that were also waiting for the bus.  They protected me when a guy was harassing me and helped me find a taxi when we arrived in Quito in the middle of the night.
  • It’s so much easier to meet other people and when you’re solo – but you need to be approachable
  • Every so often, you can get the last seat on a tour that you wouldn’t be able if you were two or more. In Norway, I was able to get the last spot on a great tour to the Troll mountain, and I grabbed the jumper seat on the bus in the front with the driver!
  • It can be inexpensive. Depending on how you travel and where you stay, it can be way cheaper than group travel.  I find I can often travel for 50% cheaper than the least expensive tour I can find to any destination.

 

Disadvantages:

  • It’s not unheard of to spend several days in a row by yourself when traveling solo. No one to share special locations and event with.
  • Eating meals in restaurants can be sad. I find that I can mitigate this by bringing something to do or read.  I also like going to night markets where you can interact with locals.
  • Sometimes men get the wrong idea when you go to a bar to have a drink and listen to music. This varies greatly by the country.
  • It can be expensive. Taxi rides, car rentals, and hotel rooms cost the same whether there’s one person traveling or two.  In places like Cuba where hostels are basically non-existent, your sleeping costs are double if you’re solo.
  • Could be more dangerous. Every so often you hear about a solo traveler that disappears or dies while out for a hike or out for the night.

 

What do you think about traveling solo?

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