While telling people that I often travel solo, the first response I have often received from them is “Solo? Isn’t it dangerous? Don’t you get scared?” Yes, solo travel is quite intimidating because you will be in a different place, away from home, all by yourself and sometimes you may not know anyone there beforehand. You need to take care of yourself, you have to manage things by yourself and not to forget that the main purpose for which you are there is to travel and explore the city by yourself. Yes solo travel could be quite intimidating because your shoulder is suddenly carrying all these responsibilities which did not exist back home and that is the literal meaning of ‘Getting outside your comfort zone.’
The fact is that solo travel is quite trendy and in fashion nowadays. So much so that you will, at times, find posts glorifying the image of this concept of travelling, but there is definitely a reality check to it. I have discussed below the pros and cons of solo travel to enlighten you about this entire idea.
1) It makes you FEARLESS
The fact that you are going by yourself alone to some strange land is fearless in itself. That courage & that decision does not come to everyone naturally. We being humans are wired in such a way that we love the comfort of the known which is why the idea of going to a strange land among the unknown seems quite scary to us. We often look at other achievers and take inspiration from their stories & yet we never take the initiative of following our own dreams because that idea scares most of us. But how can we become fearless if we don’t have the courage to venture out on our own to a strange land? Answer is we can’t and we will never be fearless if we keep fearing for the rest of our lives. So I’d like to say the first step to solo travel is to take that decision and to make things happen. Solo travel has turned me into a Fearless human today and I promise you that when you come back from your adventure, you will also be like me i.e One Fearless Human.
2) Teaches you plethora of things
We often share thoughts about how school knowledge is completely based on theory & there is hardly any practical training or survival skills taught in these institutions. That is why it is rightly said that not everything can be learned from the textbook. We may not need to find out the value of ‘x’ in the future but we definitely need to learn the survival skills required to live in this world. Enter – solo travel. There is a lot of learning involved while solo traveling. It is not just limited to financial management & planning but you will also learn all the other work like cooking, cleaning & washing your clothes when you are by yourself. You get to learn how to handle different situations that life throws at you and how not to panic and make the correct decisions, you get to learn how to handle the day to day stress and of course you also learn how to be & act mature. You think school can teach you all this?
3) You can finally take control of your own life
Yes you start taking control over your own self when you are traveling solo. It suddenly feels as if your mental age has increased 5 times your mental age back home. You take control of your itinerary, you try to avoid making mischief in a strange land by controlling your behavior, you sometimes even start to be understanding towards others etc. Basically you start to understand the situations when its okay to let that child in you out and when its not okay to do so.
4) It acts as a respite from your daily routine
From what I know most of us have a lifestyle of waking up, working, eating & going back to sleep and yes how can I not mention the endless responsibilities that come for free. That’s right, isn’t it? Well solo travel makes it all go away for a while. You are with yourself, you are doing what you like in a completely strange city. You have nothing to worry for few days – No office, no working & obviously no pressure. Hence it acts as a respite from the daily monotonous routine. We work for the company or for the clients all our lives so it is alright to take some time do something for ourselves amidst everything. Don’t you think?
5) You get to explore the world & its culture in a much better way
Travel in general helps you to explore the world and its culture but with solo travel you get to do it in a much better way. You can easily mix with the locals and still be a traveler in that city. You are considered more approachable by the local people and if there is no language barrier then you get to sit and talk and listen to their life stories & share some of yours with them. That too is sharing of culture isn’t it? In groups one usually has to stick with the group and go only where the group decides due to which you may at times end up skipping those authentic cultural villages located outside the city.
6) Your health will always be in check
Solo traveling is healthy. How you may ask? Well because it keeps you fit. You may be busy exploring places but what you don’t realize is that simultaneously you are walking, climbing, jumping and at times running. There isn’t a moment in the whole day where you would find yourself resting because there is so much to do out there. Basically you are exercising without realizing that you are exercising. Besides no matter how much you eat, it automatically gets digested due to all the above exercises. Which means you eat less and exercise more and the result is that you become physically fit. Having said that, solo travel is also helpful towards mental health. You are resting, enjoying, relaxing and doing what you love i.e. Travel and that too at your own pace & without any outside pressure. This brings peace to your mind which is otherwise almost impossible to receive in the hustle & bustle of the city life and that works in favour of your mental health.
7) Technology has made it easy for solo travelers
With the advent of technology, the travel industry has undergone massive changes in the way people travel solo. Now we have access to content about various places which eventually helps us to plan our travels and know more about the city where you intend to explore. Furthermore apps like google maps, navigation and translate plays a vital role in shaping the way a solo traveler can traverse to lesser known places in non-English speaking countries. It is easier to make friends globally right from one click on your smartphone with the help of apps. Basically such apps & technology together has all in all brought the world together and has made solo travel easier to achieve.
1) You will find it hard to click your own PHOTOS
Photos are necessary for us to create memories and we click many of it especially when we go out exploring. However, when you travel solo you will have pictures of what you see through your eyes but you won’t be in it at all times. You may have to either take a tripod along and adjust it each time you wish to take a photos or you have to ask strangers to do it for you. This becomes a time consuming task and if you are out exploring an offbeat place you may or maynot find someone at all to click any pictures. At the end, one ends up having too many pictures of the views & the city but quite few of one’s ownselves.
2) Homesickness can kick-in
Homesickness is the most normal thing any solo traveler can face. Mom give me food? But the thing is there is no mom & there is no food prepared beforehand. You have to go out or cook by yourself each & everytime and this feeling can make you homesick especially if you are traveling for months at a stretch. You start missing your home & you feel like going back to your friends & family and I have known people who have cried to go back home during their journeys. This completely depends from person to person & may happen to anyone.
3) Sometimes it turns out to be expensive
Solo travel can at times be expensive. How you may ask, as it is supposed to be the most economical type of travel. But turns out solo travel is not always cheap. When a person travels in a group, the cost of accommodation, transport and at times food get divided among the travelers but same is not the case with solo travel. When a solo traveler wishes to take a road trip to some place remote, there is no way he can divide the cost of the road trip with a fellow travelers. Similarly for accommodations, while going to offbeat places, solo travelers have to usually opt for a hotel or a BnB for their stay as the hostels are not always located in all places. This usually increases the cost and can make the journey expensive.
4) You won’t be able to share the memories
Making memories is great abut to be able to share those memories with the same people over & over again is exceptional. You went solo, explored places and came back with a bag full of happy memories but those memories are only yours and when you start talking about the fun you had on the trip with either your friends or your family, they won’t relate with any of the events and will simply be happy to see you happy. Also, even after 5 years you wont be able to reminisce those moments with your friends & family back home because they were not a part of your journey. Think you can deal with that?
5) Being extra careful is what you need to be
There are good as well as bad people everywhere. It is difficult to spot one from the other at times which is why whenever traveling outside one needs to be extra careful with their possessions and be alert of your surroundings. A solo traveler is always easily approachable as compared to a group of people. Although it is good that people consider that they can come up and strike a conversation with you, it is not always safe. That is why some people prefer to travel in groups as it is all the more safer way to travel like that. In groups, the travelers are not susceptible to any kind of harm.
Answering your FAQ’s
Q. 1) How safe is it to travel solo?
(Asked by Natasha Kamath)
Ans: Solo travel is not completely free from danger. In terms of percentage I would say solo travel is 85% safe and 15% unsafe. There are all types of people in this world, the good & the bad and while traveling you may encounter different kinds of people everywhere. Hence, it is always better to take necessary precautions when you are traveling solo like to avoid going out in the night alone, to not show off your flashy possessions like camera or money and also to make sure to be alert at all times throughout the journey.
Q. 2) How do I manage money for traveling?
(Asked by Akshay Hagawane)
Ans: Money is one of the most important requirement for travel and it is hard to earn but easy to spend. For this I work, I save a lot, I keep a track on my own expenditure and then I plan my travels accordingly. Every now & then I ask myself – What should I do with this money in my hand? Fulfill my dream or spend it recklessly. That is how I think and that is what motivates me to manage money for my travel. My whole life I have dreamed about traveling the world and for this I work diligently and tirelessly day & night. Whatever I earn gets divided into different things like travel, food etc. To get a clear picture on how I save money you must read my post mentioned below:
Q.3) Do I not feel lonely when I see others travel together?
(Asked by Irene Chu)
Ans: I really liked this question and I have never felt lonely seeing others travel together. The only feeling that I have here is happiness because I get to see strangers spending time with their loved ones. There have been times when I have walked up to them and asked them if they would like me to take a picture of them in their camera. They always say yes with a big bright smile! Yes I do believe that it is extremely important to make memories with your beloved people which is why when I am back home, I do plan some trips with my loved ones. After-all traveling is my passion and I am simply doing what I love so the only thing I feel is excited & happy.
Q.4) How do I plan my budget for each destination?
(Asked by Trisha Nadkarni)
Ans: It is a well known fact that some cities are expensive than the others and a budget for one country is absolutely different from the other. That is why it is important to do some ground work about the country in which you are planning to go. My budget for a particular destination depends upon a number of factors like the (i) cost of living in that place which includes food, transport, stay & activities (ii) the currency exchange rate prevailing at that time (iii) Certain amount is reserved for emergency (iv) The airfare & the visa charges etc. After doing some basic research, one can easily estimate the budget required for that particular country or city. My suggestion would be to keep a couple of thousands extra in your budget than the estimated amount – just in case you splurge unexpectedly!
Q.5) Does it not feel awkward while observing & taking pictures at every 100 meter?
(Asked by Vinay Kulkarni)
It doesn’t feel awkward at all. There are so many people around you who are also traveling and they too take pictures. In fact some of them will even take photos of you if you give them your camera and ask them to take pictures. That is what I have managed to do so far and it isn’t awkward at all.
Q.6) Could I Suggest a best trek bag, compact & of good quality?
(Asked by Nikhil Sood)
You should go with the floating backpack for your trekking adventures as it is designed in such a way that it reduces weight on your shoulders & back. They have worldwide shipping. You can get more info about the same on this link here: Floating backpack
Q.7) What all things I think are must to carry for a solo trip?
(Asked by Gunesh Joshi)
Ans: Apart from clothes & toiletries, there are plenty of things that a solo traveler should carry and some of those things on top of my mind right now are:
(I) Basic medical kit,
(II) Hangers & disposable bags for your clothes,
(III) Contact details of the embassy of the country you are in,
(IV) A book & a pen for writing down the basic phrases of the local language,
(V) If you are couch surfing then some souvenirs from your home country as small gifts like key-chain or a post card, etc.
Q.8) How do I manage my stuffs alone in public?
(Asked by Priyanka)
Ans: If by stuff you mean my possessions like camera & phone (those are the only two expensive things I carry) then it is not a very hard thing to do. My camera is tucked on my body like a sling bag and my phone & wallet is usually in my pocket or in my bag.
Q.9) How did you convince your parents to let you travel solo considering that we are Indians & solo travel is something extra-ordinary in our country?
(Asked by Usha Gorte)
Yes it is definitely extra-ordinary because it is not something which is so common in India even today. We almost always go with family or friends and that is why going solo is something our parents have a hard time to accept. However, the scenario is now slowly changing and plenty of youngsters & their parents are slowly embracing solo travel. When I first decided to go solo, it definitely took me sometime to convince my parents. However, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Why? Because I had already shown them that solo travel happens for real in this world. My international friends used to come over and stay with me & my family frequently and thereafter they used to travel in India by themselves. Initially, my parents were just surprised as any normal parent considering that going solo in India for a foreigner was obviously considered a daring task but they realized by themselves that it was for real and they let me live this life (terrified the first time I went and very confident on my subsequent journeys) & I will always be truly grateful for it.
Q.10) Do you think speaking fluent English is important for traveling solo?
(Asked by Anita D’mello)
To be honest English is little important as majority of the people there will definitely not speak your tongue, but there is nothing to be ashamed of if you cannot speak the language fluently. Want to know why? Because not every country has English as their language so you will surely meet travelers who speak broken English too. I will like to ask my readers one question, what do you do when someone talks to you in Gujarati, Malayalam, Oriya or any other Indian language that you cannot speak? You tell them that you don’t understand and try to communicate in a common language. Similarly, when foreigners come to India they are absolutely new to Hindi language and although in a broken manner, they do try to speak in it with the locals and learn more. We understand and we appreciate their effort, don’t we? Just like that if you know the basics it is more than enough to connect with the locals and besides Google Translate is there to help you in such cases as mentioned in pros above. If there is anybody who cannot speak fluent English, don’t be ashamed of your flaws and just enjoy the moment as no one is going to judge you, even if they do why should you care?
We often find it hard to pack our bags and go out to travel on a given day as we always worry about our own safety and sometimes about the safety of our belongings. But living constantly in our comfort zone teaches you to be lazy & dependent. It is all about courage no matter whether you go to a completely different country or a completely different city but what is important is that you go alone and I think it is the best way to experience what being on your own means.
So I hope that now you have a clear picture of what solo travel is like. It is definitely a great experience and I would surely suggest you at least experience it once in this lifetime. Meanwhile, if you know someone who is going solo or is confused about the entire concept then make sure to share this post with them & help them with their doubts 😉
Pin it 😉