Solo traveling is my preferred traveling style. I set out on my first solo journey to London and Paris 10 years ago, and it’s been my favorite way to travel ever since. Along the way I’ve met people, both locals and fellow travelers, that I’m still friends with today, and traveling solo has given me a confidence that I carry into my daily life.
Traveling solo can also come with a few surprises and challenges, many that you won’t consider until you’re already deep into your trip. If you have yet to set out on a trip alone but would love to go on a solo adventure, here are a few things you should keep in mind.
Solo Travel In More Expensive
The freedom to come and go as you please while on your solo adventure comes with a price. Solo traveling is great for the soul, but it can be brutal on the wallet without anyone to split those airport shuttles, hotel rooms and miscellaneous expenses with. And don’t even think about a cruise since solo travelers often must fork over twice as much for a standard cruise cabin since they are designed for pairs. Make sure your the rates for accommodations and activities you see posted apply to singles and don’t be afraid to negotiate prices if businesses try to charge you more because you’re solo.
You Will Stand Out
Even if you’re doing your own thing and minding your business while you see sights and enjoy the local flavors of a new destination, be aware that people on their own often stand out, even when they’re not trying. This is especially the case when you’re dining out alone. There are positive and negatives to standing out while you travel because on one hand, you’re likely to be welcomed into friendly environments, but you’re also more vulnerable. The positives outweigh the negatives and use the fact that you’re traveling solo as a way to strike up conversations with others that seem interesting.
Taking Photos Can Be A Hassle
Just because you travel alone doesn’t mean you want to keep the experience to yourself. You’ll eventually want to capture photos of yourself at your destination, which then begins the awkward beg-strangers-to-take-my-picture-and-not-steal-my-camera dance. Even if you find someone to snap your picture, most of the time the images won’t be anything worth sharing. To get around this, I always seek to ask another solo traveler who is already taking pictures, and I offer to take photos for couples or groups, who in turn almost always offer to snap for me. You can also bring a tripod and get well acquainted with your camera timer. It will be uncomfortable at first, but at least you won’t have to beg someone to help you get the perfect shot.
Group Travel Will Become Harder
I love my friends. We have the best time together no matter where we are or what we’re doing. But my after traveling alone for so long and developing my habits over the years, I now find it difficult to get excited about group trips. The break down that happens during the planning phase alone is why I’ll likely be a solo traveler for life, and I love being able to explore the world through my lens and at my own pace.