Solo travel has gained immense popularity in recent years. The benefits far outweigh the cons and you’ll find loneliness is not an incurable disease that you’ll be cursed with. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are all abuzz with solo travel stories that make you long for an escape like that.
The pandemic brought the world to a standstill and all travel plans were put on hold. That’s when virtual tours made an entry and redefined travel. Thanks to that, solo travel was never easier and more accessible, costing a fraction of what it would if we went in person. But virtual travel, all the pros aside, has its limitations too. You can’t post photographs on social media and it cannot replace the feeling of physical travel.
However, social media only tells you a part of the story – the part everyone wants to hear. Solo travel is way beyond all the Instagram-worthy photographs; it is not all rosy. What people don’t tell you is that solo travel can be scary too and has facets that many people won’t tell you.
Below, we have curated a list of challenges that many solo travellers face. Take a look!
Your personal safety and the safety of your stuff is the biggest challenge you face during solo travel. This doesn’t mean that solo travel is dangerous. It is as safe as any other way of travel; just that, when you travel alone, you are more prone to incidents if you are not careful enough. There is a sense of security you get when you travel in a group; but when you travel alone, you are totally in charge of your own safety. Even local goons or bad elements target solo travellers more as they know that they are more vulnerable than someone who is traveling in a group.
This applies to you, especially if you’re an amateur solo traveller. Since you are not used to the nitty-gritty of solo travel, initially, you struggle to manage everything on your own. You are fully responsible for your travel, right from planning stage to execution stage. All this does take a lot of time, effort, and patience. It is always easier when you have someone to share the load. But, in solo travel, just like you don’t share the rewards, you don’t share the hard work as well. You don’t have a fall-back option.
You Can Get Lonely
Again, if you’re an amateur solo traveller, the journey tends to get lonely after a day or two. Therefore, if you want to go on a solo trip, you need to be willing to talk to strangers and other people who are going solo just like you. Mingle, connect and make new friends. After all, that’s what solo travel is all about. Go to hostels or traveller bars and cafes to make friends. Hire a tour guide to know more about the place and have a chat. It can be difficult in the cities but there will always be people and a thousand possibilities!
You Need to Make All Your Decisions
No one will be there to make your decisions for you or take a second opinion. You have to do everything all the time. You have to find out how to go to your next destination, buy the tickets, read the map, find a place to sleep, pay attention that you do not run out of money, ask for directions, buy food and cook or find a place to eat, etc. From the smallest to the most important decision, you’re on your own.
Even though travelling to many places isn’t that expensive – what you need to be careful of are expenses like stay and food, which can disturb the budget. Every place one goes to, one cannot live in a hostel, and stay at a decent hotel can be expensive and choice of food can be limited and no one split up the cost for the drinks. Another thing that follows is the expense of cabs and other site travel which sometimes upset the whole budget, especially in times of emergency.
Nothing in life comes without challenges. There is no doubt that travelling on your own can be the most amazing, liberating, and powerful experience you can ever have in your life. But it’s also scary and at the same time, makes you grow as a person and makes you stronger. It’s a major learning curve and you need to learn how to go with the flow.
That being said, do your research well, especially if it’s your first time travelling solo. The best option is to go on a virtual tour. Select the place you want to go to and scope it out via a guided tour so that you know what you’re getting into.