Solo Travel: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Solo Travel Slider

I love traveling solo! I love the little every day challenges, making new friends on the road and having complete freedom in making my decisions. It’s not all roses though, but for me personally, the pros outweigh the cons. That being said, solo travel might not be for everyone, but is something that I like to encourage others to try at least once!
 
Female solo travel

 

The GOOD

Independence, flexibility & freedom

Traveling solo gives you incredible independence, flexibility and freedom. There is no making compromises with others, no agreeing on fixed travel plans etc. Changed your mind about your next destination? Well, just go ahead and go wherever you want! I’ve found this feeling of freedom absolutely intoxicating and loved being so flexible in making decisions.

 

Making new friends on the road

A lot of people might think of solo travel as a lonely experience, but I actually find myself to be more willing to go out of my comfort zone and to approach other travelers and locals. Traveling alone kind of forces you to talk to new people, while traveling with a friend or partner allows you to just stick to each other.

 

Solo travel fosters personal growth

Traveling solo pushes you outside your comfort zone day by day. It challenges you and your perspectives and values and will make you reflect and re-evaluate many things. Traveling teaches you many lessons, boosts your confidence and turns you into a more independent person with every challenge faced. Accidentally ended up in a small Japanese town? No problem. Stuck on a deserted island in the dark? Don’t sweat it. Think you’ve lost your credit card? You’ve got this! Being on the road alone will make you a better traveler, turn you into a pro at problem solving and leave you feeling very accomplished.

 

Alone time

When was the last time you took time for yourself to recharge you batteries? There are so many benefits to taking time for yourself and to reflect on life. In our ever-connected world full of digital distractions, it can be difficult though to maintain a balance between me-time and social time. Solo travel gives you the freedom to choose what benefits you in the moment and will teach you to enjoy your own company.
 
Solo Travel, Sandanbeki CLiff Shirahama

 

The BAD

The same conversations

Where are you from? How long have you been traveling for already? Where have you been so far? What’s your next destination? I loved hearing people’s stories in the beginning, but after a little while it gets old. Having the same conversation over and over again just gets a little boring with time.

 

Alone time: boredom

As much as I loved spending time alone, I did not always like it. It can be boring. Discovering new places on your own can be exciting and exhilarating. At the same time, there are only so many activities you can do until you wish you had some company. It of course depends on you as a person how quickly that happens!

 

No one to take photos of you

You can only ask a stranger so many times to retake that photo of you because it’s not the right angle, while when traveling with a friend you basically have your personal photographer accompanying you. And I mean, who doesn’t like to have nice pictures as a memory?
 
Solo Travel Japan

 

The UGLY

Alone time: Loneliness

Alone time can be really enjoyable, it can be boring, and it can make you feel lonely. Sometimes, I’ve found myself visiting amazing places, but wished that I could share all of these great experiences with some of my close friends. Of course you meet a lot of new people on the road, but sometimes that just does not compare!

 

Facing challenges alone

Traveling certainly has its ups and downs. Challenges are inherent to travel and I usually try to embrace them as I know that I will learn something from it. Being alone on the road means that you have to face all of these challenges on your own though, which can be quite emotionally draining.

 

Homesickness

No one is immune to homesickness. You might miss your family, your close friends, your own bed…For me personally, it wasn’t as much homesickness as a desire for familiarity. I wanted to know how things worked for once, without having to ask ten people first.

 

What are your experiences with solo travel? What’s the good, bad and ugly from your perspective?

 

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29 Comment

  1. Alaina says: Reply

    I saw your post on GLT!

    I love this post. I posted something similar on my blog awhile back as well. I feel like there is a trend of people glamorizing solo travel, but forget to realize the cons as well. Homesickness is the worst for me. Love your blog by the way!

    Alaina

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Thanks 🙂 Totally! Even though I love solo travel & think it’s a great experience, I fee like it’s important to keep the cons in mind as well. Maybe someone realizes that solo travel isn’t for them, and that ok as well 🙂
      Will check your blog (post) out!

  2. I need this post right now, just booked a ticket for two months in Indonesia. Been there many times before, but never alone so I’m super nervous 🙂

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Oh, that’s awesome, I love Indonesia (especially Lombok)! Where are you headed to?
      I was super nervous as well before my first solo travels, I totally get it 😀 I’m sure you’ll have good tme though 🙂

  3. Aisha says: Reply

    I LOVE this post because it’s exactly how I feel. I especially relate to the boredom and the hassle of having people take photos of lol. You did a great job laying out all sides of the equation. While I love the independence though, I have so many great travel buddies I think overall I prefer the company 🙂

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I’m glad that you like it! I think the most important thing is to find out how you enjoy traveling the most – doesn’t matter if it’s solo or with friends! Great to hear that you have nice travel buddies 🙂

  4. Suz says: Reply

    I’ve been travelling with my husband, and it’s been wonderful. I always have someone to hold my hand when I get nervous about things, he can make me go out and do things if I just want to stay inside for one day, and he helps me research. But it’s also kind of a pain too; we have a hard time meeting people since we have each other, it’s sometimes harder to appreciate where we are, when we have each other to dream about what’s next (if that makes sense?).

    I think one day I would really, really, really like to travel solo. While there are pros and cons to both sides of the coin, I think it’s important to experience both!

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Totalle makes sense! 🙂 You are definitely right with the point that there are pros and cons to both solo travel and traveling with a partner/friend!

  5. Lies says: Reply

    I’ve been on one solo trip so far, but I definitely prefer to travel with someone. My main issue, apart from no one there to take photos of you, is being alone for dinner!

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      That’s something I don’t really like either, could have included that as well…. I think I got used to being alone for dinner after a little while. Still prefer eating out with other though 🙂

  6. ada says: Reply

    Great post ! I never traveled alone before, not sure if I ever will. Luckily my husband is travel maniac just like me. Of course we have sometimes different ideas but we always try find a compromise. But I am travelling solo has positives sites as well just like you wrote above

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Thanks 🙂 There are definitely pros and cons to both solo travel and traveling with a friend/partner! Great to hear that you enjoy traveling with your husband, it really is very subjective what you like best 🙂

  7. I love travelling alone. I love the freedom of being able to do what I want, when I want and not have to compromise for anyone. The biggest downside for me is the cost because it’s always more expensive if you don’t have anyone to split the cost of a hotel room or car or whatever with. But to me, it’s worth the extra cost – I mean I’M worth the extra cost! 🙂

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Oh right, that’s something that I forgot to include – you definitely can save yourself some money by traveling with somebody else! Great to hear that it’s worth the extra cost to you though, we’re definitely on the same page here 🙂

  8. Bianca says: Reply

    It takes balls or ovaries to travel alone but the lessons in the journey can’t be beat!

    Great post!

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      So true 😀 Have you been traveling solo before? Thanks!

  9. I have a love/hate relationship with solo travel. I did a solo weekend getaway this summer, and it was fabulous and super relaxing. But I wasn’t a huge fan of going out by myself late, and by day 3 I was wishing I had someone there to share the time with. I also met a really nice couple, and they invited me out, but I got that “what if they’re psycho axe murderers” thought!

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I get what you mean! Generally, I love traveling solo, but going out late by myself is something that I don’t enjoy thaaat much either. And what your saying about “psycho axe murderers” – I think it’s important to go with your gut feelings if you have just met new people! That’s at least what I always do 🙂

  10. Zozie says: Reply

    I’ve not done it but enjoyed your views – I think I would miss the company too much

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      It’s not for everyone 😉 But I’d definitely recommend trying to travel somewhere solo, it’s a great experience even if it’s only for 2 o3 days!

  11. Great perspective. I love traveling alone for many of the reasons you said. Probably the overall flexibility of it all is #1 for me. I never feel 100% lonely but I have had a couple of moments where I felt “alone in a crowd” and that was kind of a bummer.
    However, with that said I also agree with you on the repeating of stories. I actually laughed out loud because that was how it was for me on the Camino de Santiago. I must have said the same “about me” “why I am walking the Camino, and “why am I walking all alone” story like 500 million times.
    I think the only real hurdle I have with solo travel is dining. I often skip nice restaurants for bars, cafes, or casual places because it seems weird sitting there by myself in a formal dining setting.

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      I know that “alone in the crowd” feeling – not very enjoyable! Haha I’m glad that I’m not the only one who thinks like this about having the same kind of conversations again and again 😀 I would love to walk part of the Camino as well (starting in Porto), I guess I now know what kind of conversations to expect!
      Totally get what you are saying about dining solo. I wrote this post after traveling solo through Southeast Asia where you run into lots of solo travelers. Therefore, it didn’t really feel weird to be eating out alone, but I guess in a formal dining setting, this would be different!

  12. Sima says: Reply

    I hate a big problem with being lonely. It’s nice making new friends but you only hang out for a few days then it’s over. I do think everyone should try out solo travel because it really helped me grow as a person. Great post!

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      We’re definitely on the same page regarding that! I love meeting new people, but it’s a pity if you only hang out for a few days and then go your own ways again…

  13. These observations are all so true. I’ve never done long term solo travel, more than a week or so, but that’s enough for me to feel recharged without experiencing the “bad” or the “ugly!” 🙂

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Great to hear! I’ve only done long-term solo travel – maybe I should try it out for only a week or so as well to see if I only experience the good sides of it then 🙂

  14. My solo travel has only been for a few days at a time and it was magical. If it had been longer, I may have experienced being homesick.

    1. dorohenrietta says: Reply

      Nice! It’s a great experience, isn’t it? 🙂

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