Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple years, you already know that solo travel is all the rage these days. It seems like everywhere you look there’s yet another ode to solo travel. Hey, even here on Belle in Transit, we love a solo adventure as you can see here, here and here to mention just a few. But as with all things, there’s a time and place and today, I’m sharing the truth about solo travel. Keep reading for all the tea. Let’s start with the good.
Solo Travel -The Good
1/ When you travel solo, you get to go where you want, when you want and do exactly what you want without depending on anyone.
This is by far my biggest pro about solo travel. While that might sound selfish, sometimes it’s just what you need. I remember when I decided to visit Cartagena, some of my friends looked at me like I had two heads? Why let others hold you back from living your travel dreams? I could have missed out on what has now become one of my favorite cities.
Have you ever tried planning a group trip? You pick a location, chat up some friends and everyone is hyped up and soooo excited. Fast forward closer to the trip and people start to drop like flies: The dog ate my passport, I hear they’re killing people in Mexico, I don’t really like you and I only said yes earlier cos I didn’t know how to say no, lol. Hey no judgement here, I may or may not have been guilty of some of those.
By the time you make it to the day of the trip, you find you’re the only one still going and you have to suck up that hotel bill you thought you were going to share with multiple people.
Besides, not every friend is a great travel buddy. You might like to keep every second of your schedule packed with adventure while they prefer to stay on the beach all day. Or maybe you like to party till you drop and they’d much rather get a good night’s sleep; you get the drift. You don’t have to worry about any of that when you’re traveling alone.
2/ When you travel solo, you get to meet more people.
There’s something about not being with your crew that makes you more approachable and more willing to interact with people. Don’t get me wrong, of course you can still meet people when traveling with others, but I find that not having that crutch makes you more open.
Solo Travel – The Bad
1/ There’s a solo travel tax.
Yep you read that right! If you’ve ever planned a solo trip, you’ve encountered the solo tax at some point. Don’t think you have? Well have you ever seen the words “all prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Single occupancy will incur extra $$$”? Yup! There goes your solo tax. I even tried to book an excursion in Barcelona once and couldn’t because it required that you book with at least two people. Womp womp! Some random image examples below for what I mean.
2/ You might have concerns about your safety
While it’s true that as a solo traveler, you could be an easier target, I would say do your research and exercise the same caution you would in any city. Also, make sure you have regular check-ins with one or two people back home so they know you’re safe. Finally, I always like to stay in hotels and book group excursions for my tours if I’m traveling solo. I know others who swear by Airbnbs, but this is what works best for me.
Solo Travel – The Ugly
And now, my very least favorite thing about solo travel.
Sometimes, you just need your people or your person around.
The independence that comes with solo travel is freeing but let’s be honest, it can also get lonely. Imagine you’re in the most beautiful place in the world and a thought creeps in: “Someone else needs to experience this beauty with me”. Or you’re having a moment that can only be appreciated by certain friends and you want to repeat the experience with them. Or you need one of those good belly laughs that can only come from age-old inside jokes. I’ve certainly had some of those moments myself.
So, should you travel solo? Absolutely! There’s a time and place for solo trips and the good usually outweighs the bad.
If you decide to take the leap, check out my tips for a successful solo trip here.
Where do you fall on the solo travel spectrum? What did I miss? Share your thoughts in the comments below and as always, thanks for reading!