I get a lot of mixed reactions when I tell people I enjoy traveling alone and do it as often as possible (if you don’t count Leo). Some people react sympathetically because they think I have no friends or family members who want to accompany me. Others admire my independence and express how they wish they had the guts to do the same. Overall though, a lot of people are surprised – especially when they find out it’s for pleasure and not business.
Whatever reaction I may get, I will happily explain to people what it is I love about traveling alone. Of course, I’m also sure to inform them that it’s not for everyone. Traveling alone can be tough sometimes. So how do you know if you’re cut out for independent travel? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of traveling alone. Before we start, though, I want to point out that I don’t dislike traveling with others. I enjoy any form of travel.
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1. No Extra Worries
Traveling alone means only having to worry about one person (and one dog), which is generally easier than having to worry about more than one. You don’t have to worry about losing anyone or checking to see if you have your whole group. Plus, you never have to sit around waiting for stragglers. You only have to check that you’re taken care of, rather than checking to make sure everyone else is also taken care of.
If you’ve never planned a trip before, you might not be aware of how much usually goes into it. This changes dramatically when you’re traveling alone. You don’t have to do nearly as much planning because it’s not that difficult to find accommodations for one. Tickets for planes, trains, attractions, etc. are also easier to acquire when you only need to get one. You are also able to change your plans very easily when no one else is involved. Besides, you’re the only one who’s disappointed if something doesn’t work out.
Freedom is, perhaps, the thing I like most about traveling alone. You make all of the decisions about where to go and what to do; you decide where, when, and what to eat; and you decide if and when you want to stop to take pictures, sleep, or go to the bathroom. Following a schedule isn’t a necessity – you don’t even have to set one at all. Figuring it out as you go can be exhilarating and, in my experience, can result in some pretty awesome experiences.
4. Life Experience
Any traveling experience you lack is quickly remedied by traveling alone. You learn how to navigate your way through all sorts of things pretty quickly because it’s necessary. Mistakes will be made, but these mistakes will help you grow. Traveling alone can teach you how to be independent and how to rely on yourself. It’s a chance to really see what you’re made of.
I’m not usually the type to get lonely when I’m traveling, but I’ve found over time that some things are more enjoyable when they’re experienced with someone else. However, loneliness is more in reference to what happens after a trip. It can be tough not having anyone to reminisce with when all is said and done. Sure you had some great experiences, but telling them to a third party isn’t nearly the same as reliving shared memories.
If you’re a generally irresponsible person, then traveling alone will present some very serious challenges. You are solely responsible for the budget, the route you choose to take, and any and all necessary decisions. I mentioned earlier that you’d be the only one disappointed if something doesn’t work out. The flip side of this is that you’re really the only one to blame as well.
3. Decisions are Hard
Along with responsibility comes decision-making. If you’re good at making decisions, then this won’t be an issue for you. However, if you’re indecisive like me, then you will struggle with this to no end. You may have the freedom to make all of the decisions, but this means you will have to actually make some decisions. No one is going to step up to make them for you,so be prepared to bite the bullet.
Ready to Try Traveling Alone?
Traveling alone is certainly different than traveling with another person or a group. While some people love to be alone, others crave constant company. Since I started traveling alone, I’ve done so many things on my own that I never would have dreamed of doing before. My experience is my own, though. You can read about traveling alone all you want, but the only way to know if you enjoy it is by trying it for yourself.