Most people envision traveling with the company of others. Maybe you dream of a cross country road trip in a car packed full of your friends. Family vacations to historical sites, or down to Florida to visit Grandma can always be a good time. But have you ever considered traveling alone? For a lot of people, that thought can be very daunting.
Is it safe? Won’t I get lonely? Would I still have fun by myself? But once you overcome those mental hurdles, you can realize what an adventure you have in front of you, ready to unfold.
Traveling with others requires can make things difficult. Not only do you need to match up dates of when everyone can take time off their own busy schedules, but also heads can butt once you’re there. Maybe one person can only leave work in May, but everyone else was hoping for a 4th of July holiday. One person wants to go to Prague while the other would rather head down to Cape Town.On your own, these disputes don’t happen. You can go where you want, when you want, and do what you want. It’s pretty liberating to have complete control of your trip.
When you’re in a pair or a group, people tend to be a bit more inclusive. The concept of “no new friends,” is pretty common, but it can be fairly limiting. Flying solo, you’re more likely to reach out to those around you. It can be hard at first, especially if you’re on the more shy side, or just starting off your trip. But taking baby steps, like introducing yourself to someone in your hostel, can go a long way.If you’re a little unsure of where to start, try staying in a dorm rather than a single room, or pick a place with a large communal area.
Many backpacker haunts also plan events like pub crawls or quiz nights, and you can be sure to meet a few friendly folks there. If these don’t make you feel more comfortable, that’s okay; you still have other options. Tour companies like Contiki specialize in creating groups for people traveling on their own. You get to balance getting out there on your own while being in the company of others trying it out too.
In the age of social media, it’s easy to keep tabs on people in your life, even from a distance. You can know things about your old middle school classmates, although you may not have actually seen them in person in over a decade. But do you really need to know if two people you haven’t spoken to in years just had a baby, or that your neighbor in college’s brother’s girlfriend is moving to Topeka? Not really. The amount we rely on superficial information in our daily lives in not only unnecessary, but unhealthy.
Taking some time to yourself, especially on long journeys, allows you to prioritize the people in your life. Who do you want to keep in touch with while you’re away? Who tries to reach out to you? You don’t need to remove these people from your life, but it helps to remind who’s really special to you.
Safety, especially for women, can be a huge concern when traveling alone. While it is a completely reasonable thing to worry about, don’t let it hold you back. Do your research first. Look up statistics of the countries you’re interested in, talk to people who have been there, or read the blogs of others who have been to those places alone. Traveling alone can help you build confidence and recognize your own abilities.Eventually, a sticky situation will come along, and you’ll realize you’re the only one who can fix it.
Whether that means learning how to read a map to get to your next destination, dealing with police in a foreign language after something’s been stolen, or recovering from an illness, anything can happen. Helping yourself to overcome obstacles is incredibly rewarding, and gives you a sense of pride that can translate outside of your adventure.
Going abroad alone can be exciting, scary, challenging and incredible all at once. Give yourself the chance to immerse yourself completely wherever you may go, and take every opportunity that comes your way. Embrace your new adventurous self, and start planning your trip today with Trekeffect! Travel solo!
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