For some people, solo travel sounds scary, unthinkable, and at times-impossible, even insane. Especially as a young 24-year-old woman. It’s risky, gutsy, some say dangerous, and some may think lonely. But hello! We live in the 21st century! I got sick of waiting for someone who had the funds, time, and desire to go on the same crazy adventure…so I said “screw it!” and here I am.
- You can do whatever you want, whenever you want! You don’t have any pressure to conform to someone else’s itinerary. It’s nice to have that freedom of making decisions on a whim. But you do have to enjoy and be comfortable being alone for this to really be a good thing!
- It’s really easy to make new friends in hostels and on tours. When you meet other solo travellers, I’ve noticed it’s easier to form a connection for some reason. I’ve never felt lonely in a hostel or on a tour-when you’re around the same people 24/7, friendships form fast!
- You’re more likely to get upgraded if there’s one seat left in business or premium economy on a flight 😉
- It’s easier to just relax and soak up the nuances of a new country without distractions.
- It’s empowering! You will fully realize what you’re capable of when you are forced to figure it out alone. I’m glad that I have never felt like I was in danger. But you have to keep your wits about you and stay on the cautious side and trust your gut. Also, get travel insurance!!
- It can be expensive. Couples and friends can split the cost of a private room, rental car, or uber. Us solo folks cannot 😬
- It can be lonely. Especially for au pairs or people who prefer a hotel or private room. You may have a sudden realization that “Holy shit, I’m all alone and thousands of miles away from everyone I love!” There are lots of au pair and traveller meetup groups on Facebook which are awesome, but making friends takes an active effort. There’s even an “Americans in Perth” page on Facebook!
- It’s nice to have someone else to brainstorm with and go out on a limb with to try new things. Sometimes going to festivals and restaurants alone can feel weird (see above point). However, maybe you’ll meet someone else travelling and decide to go together (very common)!
- It can feel scary. This shouldn’t be brushed off, but it shouldn’t stop you either. Solo travel is dangerous if you don’t use common sense. Some tips: Trust your gut, and be as cautious as you need. Personally, I prefer to take an Uber when I have my luggage with me rather than taking a bus. Remember that you’re vulnerable. If you’re staying in a hostel, talk to the people who work there and get a read on the area. Also, if it makes you feel more comfortable, keep someone from the hostel updated on your whereabouts by saying something like “I’m going to ___ today, I should be back around 8 pm.” When I worked in a hostel, one of our guests didn’t come back one night or the next afternoon. We all got so worried! But then she came back around 6 p.m. and said she’d spent the night with a friend. Whew! A good hostel will be happy to check in with their guests to make them feel safe.
- It can be stressful. Due to the above points and having to figure it all out alone… it can be draining.
I would be lying if I made it out like travelling alone is always easy. Sometimes, I really, really miss hanging out with my friends and family and hearing the sounds of a Georgia summer. This past month has been extremely difficult and mentally gruelling. But I’m glad to have made some wonderful new friends here and have amazing friends and family back in the States who have been incredibly supportive to me through all of it. Y’all are amazing and I feel so blessed that I have such fantastic, high-quality people in my life.
Overall, solo travelling is the best way to conquer your fears and find your strength. Even if it’s difficult sometimes, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything ❤️