Travelling Alone

You’ve been part of the buddy system since you were born.  You’re trained to work in partners, play together at recess and eat lunch surrounded by friends.  You throw pizza parties with other kids your age and maybe even wear Best Friends bracelets. In college you have a roommate in your miniature dorm and share your professors with hundreds of other students.   You move from casually dating someone to sharing a house, a bed, sometimes even a toothbrush.  You enter the real world where you work with colleagues on new projects and collaborate on new ventures.  You are an expert at operating alongside others.

So why would you want to travel alone?

Maybe you don’t want to, but there’s no one who has the time, the money or the urge to travel where and when you do.  Maybe your travel buddy dropped out at the last second.

Or maybe you want some time to yourself.  Maybe you want to prove to yourself that you can do this alone.  Maybe you want a trip that is done on your terms; no overbearing companions, no crazies, no distractions from the places you came to see.

Whatever the reason, welcome to the great freedom of travelling alone.  Sure there’s a downside to solo adventures.  But there’s also a very, very high upside.


Advantages of Travelling Alone

Although it might feel a bit strange to book a ticket for one, the advantages of travelling by yourself are many.  It causes you to push your own boundaries, at your pace and with your goals in mind.  Call it selfish, but solo trips are wonderfully all about you.

No doubt it will be unnerving the first time you step into a new city without a familiar face in sight.  But give yourself a day or two and you’ll find yourself meeting more and more new faces.  Being alone makes you more approachable.  Just think of the classic bar scene in a movie.  There’s a reason it’s the people sitting by themselves that get approached instead of the intimidating group of friends.  People find it interesting (and impressive) that you’re out in the wild blue yonder all by your lonesome.  Inevitably they’ll want to know about you.  And in the process you get to know about them.

Even if you’re still a tourist you’re suddenly part of the local environment, while big groups travelling together remain on the outskirts.  You meet other travellers who take you under their wing.  They lavish you with quirky accents and stories of places nearby you’d otherwise not know.  Travelling alone is travelling in its purest form.  You are the captain of your own adventure.  Each day is a chance to get up (when you want) and decide to climb a waterfall, join the travelling circus or enjoy downtime in your travels.  At the end you have only yourself to thank (or blame) for the outcome of your trip.

Consider that travelling alone means:

  • You’re more likely to meet new people.
  • You can go and do what you like, when you like.
  • Your budget is determined by you alone.
  • You can change your travel plans anytime you want.
  • You can choose to travel with new friends for as long as you want.
  • You learn about yourself.
  • You reflect on your travels as they happen.
  • You gain new self-respect when you see just how good you actually are at planning and executing your own trip of a lifetime.

Disadvantages of Travelling Alone

Admittedly travelling by yourself has some drawbacks.  A foreign place can seem all the more foreign without a buddy by your side.  It’s always nice to have someone from home that can share the memories of your travels and laugh with you over the monkeys that stole your sandwich in Madikwe.  There’s the safety issue of travelling alone – although there are safety issues if you’re in a group, too.  You tend to let your guard down more when you’re among friends, which can let danger penetrate even the largest group of your best buddies.  When you’re on your own there’s no one you know to buy medicine if you’re sick, or push you to try something new.  Be realistic about the disadvantages of travelling alone, such as:

  • You may get lonely.
  • You have no immediate safety net.
  • You need to watch out closely for danger.
  • You will have to rely on your own memory when looking back on your trip.
  • You are your own motivation to try new things and meet new people.
  • You must prepare to ask for a table for one and have that first drink alone at the bar.

Start Small

Thinking of travelling alone?  Start with a small weekend trip.  Get to know yourself before jumping on a boat to Malaysia.  Learn to enjoy your solo adventures and the quiet down time in between.

Travelling alone means the trip is uniquely yours, which is both thrilling and intimidating.  There are plenty of people to warn you of the downside of travelling by yourself.  But there are also plenty who will say just as passionately that travelling alone is a great way – the only way- to have the experience you want.

So what are you waiting for?


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5 responses to “Travelling Alone”

  1. Joanne P says :

    So glad that someone has finally told the true story of travelling alone! You read all the time about how dangerous or boring it is but it so many advantages! Great post!

    • beyonddisneytravel says :

      Hi Joanne,

      Thanks for reading and for the comment. I find travelling alone to be one of the most rewarding ways to see new places. I’m happy to see you also know its advantages.

  2. Amanda says :

    You def need to be more careful if you travel by yourself, but you’ve made a good case for it.

  3. beyonddisneytravel says :

    Absolutely! You’re more of a target when you’re by yourself. But don’t let the fear stop you from enjoying the benefits of travelling alone!

  4. Gary says :

    Travelling alone is the way to go. Some friends you just can’t travel with. It’s the same as how some friends you just can’t live with. People need to stop being so afraid to do things on their own. Good post

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