Do you have any thoughts on solo travel

I’ve been wanting to travel since I left high school 6 years ago, but haven’t. I’ve been reading the thread about “advice you’d give your 18 year old self” and the “regret” thread, and it’s made me really want to just get out there.
But, one of the reasons I’ve never gone is that no-one I know wants to go travelling for any length of time. They all have jobs/businesses they won’t leave, or just plain don’t want to.
So, I’d love to hear if you have any thoughts, opinions or experiences of solo travel around the globe. From what I imagine it might be quite lonely, and this would far outweigh the benefit most people rave about: not having to compromise on what YOU want to do.
So, you guys got anything to share??
Thanks :slight_smile:

Hey I’m a early 20s female who has backpacked through Southeast Asia and I’m currently backpacking through Eastern Europe solo. I love travelling alone!! I have done the group travel before and nothing compares to travelling alone. The freedom to do what you want, when you want is amazing and I think you haven’t really travelled until you’ve done it solo. But its really a personal decision - are you comfortable being alone? I’m an only child, so this feels totally natural to me. Also, if you are really outgoing and friendly, that helps a lot too. Often I’ll go to bars/clubs and just go up to groups of people who look friendly (and speak English), introduce myself and ask if I can join them for a drink. Are you comfortable doing that? If not, travelling alone could really suck. Another option I highly recommend is the website Although the primary purpose is to look for places to crash while you’re traveling, I prefer using it mostly to meet people for drinks. It’s been a fanastic help, and people on that website sign up to host travelers so it won’t be weird or awkward if you email them.

Travelling alone is great and I can’t imagine traveling any other way. Whenever I travel in groups, you always get stuck hanging out with the people in your group so you never meet anyone. Travelling alone forces you to meet the locals and its been wonderful. I have friends all over the world now!! But seriously, if you don’t consider yourself an outgoing, friendly person with a positive attitude, then travelling alone may not be for you.

When I was 18 I backpacked around Europe for 2 months by myself. Best experience of my life, really. I would recommend staying in hostels if possible–they’re a natural place to meet people who are also traveling solo. I never felt lonely and always had company when I wanted it, and never felt obligated to do anything that I wasn’t inclined to do just because someone in my party wanted to do it. You should go for it.

Do it! I’m a woman in my 40’s and, if I add it all up, I’ve travelled quite extensively on my own. I haven’t found it lonely, although I’m not particularly sociable. More importanly, if you’re open and friendly, you get to meet all kinds of people you wouldn’t normally.

Several years ago, I took myself on a road trip up to New York’s Finger Lakes where I visited, among other things, the Women’s Rights Hall of Fame. I was having lunch at a Friendly’s one day when I got to talking with a woman and her young daughter. I told them I was touring the area and they told me about a mail boat cruise of Lake Skaneateles. This is something I probably wouldn’t have found out about or considered if I didn’t talk to them, and it turned out to be great.

The advantage of travelling alone is you can set your own schedule and do your own thing. It’s true you don’t have someone to share the cool things you’re doing with while you’re doing them, but writing them down can make up for some of that, and I’m not much good at keeping diaries.

One piece of advice I would give is take a good, reliable camera and, if you’re using film, get it developed by someone reliable. When I made a semi-solo trip to England a few years ago (semi-solo because I was visiting relatives), there was a problem with half of the six rolls of film I took and they didn’t come out.

Go for it, and enjoy! There’s a marvelous world out there and I know I haven’t seen nearly enough of it!

While I love being married, and traveling with my wife. . .I definitely miss traveling alone.

If you’re really interested in seeing a place, there’s no better way to do it.

YES, you will encounter stretches of pretty high boredom. But man. . .you stay where you want. You eat when and where you want. If you want to walk through a museum in 30 minutes or 6 hours, you got no one else to worry about. You never need to accommodate their desire to go out or stay in.

I took a solo trip to Spain last year, and I really enjoyed it. It’s different from traveling with others, in both good and bad ways. I missed not being able to share my experiences with other people, but I loved being able to make my own schedule and just do what I wanted to do.

When I travel with my sisters I am constantly having to compromise - on hotels, places to eat, which sights to see, how long to spend in each place. It’s great having the company and sharing the experience, but it’s not always the experience I want. Traveling solo gives you the freedom to do what you want.

Another benefit was the confidence boost it gave me. I proved to myself that I could plan and execute a great trip, and even though I got lost and ran into some problems, I was completely able to take care of myself and work things out. Also, there was no one to blame me and no one to make fun of me when I screwed up!

I am a fairly shy person, so I did not meet a lot of people on my travels. I’m certainly not the kind of person that can just walk up to someone and start talking. But once I got over my fear of eating alone in a restaurant, I was just fine, and I didn’t feel like I needed to have company. For those of you that are looking to make friends along the way, there are certainly plenty of opportunities when you travel alone, but for me, I didn’t feel it was necessary and was perfectly happy just being on my own.

For many years I longed to travel overseas, but I never did it because I either didn’t have the money or I didn’t have anyone to travel with (my husband does not have any desire to do this kind of touring). I finally decided that if I was ever going to see the world, I’d better find some way to make it happen. My first trip was with my 16-year-old daughter, which was kind of a primer for solo travel - I was the one making the decisions on that trip. Planning that trip gave me the confidence to travel solo to Spain, and I intend to do it more in the future.

If you want to travel, just do it. You’ll be glad you did.

I actually prefer traveling overseas alone- most of my friends don’t share my interests in art galleries, etc. I also like to go spur of the moment when I see a good deal, and its hard to get someone who can go spur of the moment as well. I also enjoy the occasional feel of being “alone” in a strange land. If you have the chance and solo is your only option, go for it.

I love traveling alone. It’s a lot easier to meet people, and you don’t have to spend half the day hanging around the hostel waiting for everyone to be ready to go.

That said, it’s easier for some personality types than others. If you’re reasonably self-contained and don’t mind spending a lot of evenings with your travel diary and a good book, you should be fine; ditto if you’re really good at making friends with strangers. I get the feeling that someone in between those two poles might find it tougher to travel alone for long stretches.

It wasn’t around the globe but I just got back from my solo trip around Europe yesterday morning. It was, quite simply, super-cool. I’m not a very sociable person and I still met people. Having only myself to worry about and being able to make decisions on the spur of the moment totally rocked. I’d never done anything like it before, and it changed a lot about myself and how I see myself.

Do it. You’ll be glad you did.

Iko Iko thanks, I’ll definitely check that website this weekend, I had a quick look today while at work, and it seems very interesting, exactly the kind of resource I’m looking for.
I’m totally in awe of all you people for being so brave as to just step out into the world on your own! You’re all very inspirational! Thanks for all your opinions and stories so far. I really really appreciate it. Definitely giving me itchy feet! Please keep sharing them if you have them.
I’ve found a few sites which are kind of meeting places where you can get in touch with other people wanting to travel but who also have no-one who can just up and leave with you. seems like the best one. As the others seem a bit like how to get nookie on the move, or how to meet up with people who want to get high on the same beach as you in Thailand!
Anyhoo! Thanks again! Much appreciated,
M :slight_smile:

I always assume single men travelling alone in Asia are perverts… Hey I’m not perfect. We all have prejudices. That’s just what I think.
That’s why I brought two friends me when I went to Japan.

Sounds like you are about my age. I just got back from spending 2 months in south-central Mexico. People looked at me like I was crazy when they found out I was a young, married female traveling on my own. The horror!!!

But the truth is, I was so busy making meaningful connections with the folks who lived in Mexico, that I never at any point really felt alone. I could go wherever I wanted (within my budget, that is)–and I did! I spent a month in the city of Guadalajara and then another month in a little farm town, teaching English. Then I packed up and spent a week on the beach in a hotel (the only time I really got genuinely lonely.)

It wasn’t always easy, of course. In fact, sometimes it was downright hard. I went through more than a few ‘‘god I just wish I was back at home’’ moments, but ultimately those times gave me a greater enjoyment and appreciation for my own country, my culture and my loved ones.

I think this is an incredibly important experience for anyone to have, but especially at this age (I’m 24.) That was the moment when I realized I have absolute, perfect freedom to do what I want with my life. Since my return, the world just looks a whole lot brighter. The possibilities in my life are practically limitless.

Sometimes it just takes us really pushing the limits of our comfort zone to comprehend that truth.

The thing is, in January or thereabouts I posted a thread asking whether I should spend the money to take the trip, and the answer was universally, unequivocally, ‘‘DO IT!’’ I’m so glad I followed the Dope’s advice.*

*hint, hint. DO IT!!!

ETA: I highly recommend speaking the language of the country you’re in. It adds such crazy depth to the experience. I also traveled in Europe without knowing French, Italian, Greek or Croatian, and though the trip was a blast, it was less meaningful than Mexico.

Do it. Do it now. I traveled solo throughout SE Asia and Australia as a fresh out of college kid (and in the Netherlands later on). Solo travel is one of the best things I could have done for myself. It’s exactly the opposite of lonely: if you’re traveling with a group, you tend not to meet people and have to make a lot of compromises as to what you can do, but people see a solo traveler and want to talk to you. You have to make an effort yourself, of course, but my solo trips were always incredible for meeting people. And you’re meeting people like yourself–lovers of travel. To be fair, I also wound up with a lot of time alone, but I like that–it relaxes me. Carry a paperback or a journal and you should be fine. And I came away from the trips feeling more at ease with myself because I learned to enjoy my own company, and more confident and capable because I had done something that my girlfriends were afraid to do.

As a solo, you have the freedom to follow your itinerary or not, to go left or right, or to spend three hours talking with a dude on the street if you feel like it. You can go wherever your heart leads you. It’s travel at its finest, IMO.

Anecdote: in Singapore, I met another solo traveler who turned out to be a chef on sabbatical who was eating his way around the world. I went around with him for a few days (eating things I never would have tried on my own) and had a blast. Learned a lot, too. That’s the kind of thing that just can’t happen when you’re with other people. And I got a million of those kinds of stories.

Being a young white woman, I took certain safety precautions, like not strolling around naked at night, but nothing beyond what I would consider prudent here at home, too. I also carried a small (fake) gold ring that I could slip on my left hand if I was drawing too much unwanted attention. I kept a phrase book on me for whatever country I was in, and learned things like “please” and “thank you.” I think that showed people I was serious about wanting to learn about their country, which made them more inclined to help me out, which of course made my travel that much more fun.

Keep basic safety in mind, but go and enjoy yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

I totally had that feeling travelling alone in Bangkok, like everyone was thinking I was there trolling for 11 year olds. And that stigma would probably keep me from ever going to Vietnam or the Philippines alone.

Go! Have fun! Life is too short to make your decisions based on what other people are doing. You will only be in your early 20’s once and should make the most of it.

Look at it this way, even if you find out you don’t like traveling by yourself…you still had the experience. It’s better to go and find out for yourself if solo travel is right for you then to wonder what it would have been like for the rest of your life.

Sorry, but this made me LMAO.

A “Let’s Go” travel guide will save your life over and over again.

While I agree with this in a sense (being able to hold a meaningful conversation is very different from keywording your way through simple requests), it does limit your possibilities enormously unless you’re the greatest polyglot in history. I’d say “Don’t worry, language will work itself out”.

Do it.

That is so true Antinor01, I never thought about it that way.

I think all I needed to hear was you guys giving me reasons to do it! And you sure have. You all make it sound like a no brainer. I think I need to start thinking about where to go. Decisions decisions… scary biscuits!!

Seriously though, thank you all so much for the words of advice.