You’ve probably never given much thought to eating alone at a pub let alone travelling to some far flung place on the edge of the Earth totally alone… But let me tell you, travelling solo is one of the best kept travel secrets you’ll ever discover.
I personally think travelling alone is a right of passage, meaning…. if you have a chance you should do it because the benefits outweigh the issues that most people feel travelling solo brings.
There’s also a negative stigma to female solo travellers. I’ve personally had to deal with a bunch of misconceptions, too. With this article, I want to give you guys a different perspective on solo travel that’s not just from me. This is why I have include one of my awesome friend’s who’s a total travel BADASS.
Meet Tin! Tin is totally brave and has traveled to some pretty crazy places! I’ve peppered in Tin’s take on solo travel below:
“I travel solo because I don’t want to have to fit my dreams and goals into someone else’s schedule. Too often, friends cancel or their financial situation changes. Or they get too wrapped up in a man and decide that they would rather spend that time with them than exploring the world. If I go solo, I can go anywhere anytime that I please without needing to check someone else’s schedule.”
Tin’s completely right, too. I feel the same way. I was once in Dublin where a group of about eight backpackers wanted to go to the pub and nobody could decide on one place. Then, half the group needed to go the ATM, and the some others wanted to have dinner. I found this an utter pain in the arse because if we were all on our own, we would have gone to where we wanted to be.
“Traveling solo also gives me the freedom to change my plans at any time. If I arrive in a city and I feel like it’s just not my vibe, I can hit the road and find someplace that is more my style. I can do this without having to confer with anyone else who might not feel the same way about the place that I do. It is my trip and my trip alone and I can make all the decisions! Unlike so much of my home life!”
Spot on. Also, this is why I don’t ‘bulk book’ accommodation. Sometimes we may not gel with the destination, so being flexible (and alone) allows solo travellers like us to hit the road a few days earlier, or if we come across a really cool pace, why leave? The only person you need to ask is yourself, and sometimes there’s badass benefits!
“Another benefit of traveling solo is that I can usually squeeze in on any tour. Even if they say it’s fully booked. I was in Greenland recently and got a spot on a sunset iceberg cruise that had only one opening left. When I got on the cruise, it was filled with professional photographers from all over the world. They basically gave me a class in how to take dope pictures! Every time they turned their cameras towards something, I followed suit! My pictures were amazing!”
I asked Tin what kind of gear she carries, as I’m quite partial to travelling like a minimalist so a little pack is how I go… this is what she suggests:
#TeamCarryon is definitely the way to go! You don’t wear half the things that you bring anyway and you sure as hell don’t wear all the shoes that you think you will. And if you only bring a carry-on, it’s way easier to bring up that never ending flight of stairs at that gorgeous little B&B that you found in Italy! Also, I bring clothes that I leave behind along the way. Clothes that would otherwise go to the thrift store great to bring while traveling. You can leave them behind and fill up your bag with new clothes or other souvenirs! It also saves on laundry!
I also like to bring a sleeping bag insert to sleep in. REI or most other sporting goods stores have them and they’re usually made out of a silk/cotton blend. For me, it’s nice to have some kind of continuity at night when I’m sleeping. This gives me the feeling of sleeping in the same sheets every night. It’s also good because it’s sealed on three sides and you can put your money belt in there or any other valuables and it would be very difficult for thief to get them out.
Tin also has some travel rules that she lives by for safety.
“I know it’s unpopular but I don’t drink alcohol when I travel. I always travel alone and I want to be as safe as possible. I don’t go out to bars at home alone and traveling is really no different. But that’s just me. I will still go out and talk and socialize and have a great time, but I will always be sober. For me it doesn’t ruin any fun but for others, they might feel like it will.”
And for Tin, and myself, travel is healing and I completely get where she’s coming from:
“I’m actually kind of an introvert and traveling solo forces me out of my shell. It makes me talk to strangers and engage with others whereas at home, I would never do that. It gets me out of my comfort zone.
Have you travelled alone? What was your taken on it? Please leave your suggestions and stories in the comments!
An Aussie girl gone walkabout in the great big world!