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Travel Solo

Travelling Solo

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

Travelling Solo

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

If the thought of travelling solo is discouraging you from taking a career break or gap year, think again. Lynda Daboh from STA Travel (www.statravel.co.uk) tells us that they are seeing a significant rise in solo career breakers and gappers and not all these are single: “many of them are with partners who just can’t get the time off, or, they are choosing to go alone to challenge and stretch themselves. Travelling solo is very popular nowadays and becoming even more so.”

But this is not to ignore the fact that travelling alone brings up certain issues you don’t get when travelling with other people: boredom, safety, and the fact that without someone to share things like accommodation or taxi fares, expenses can still add up.

You Don’t Have to Travel Alone

If you haven’t got someone to travel with, it doesn’t mean that you have to travel alone. The truth is that wherever you go you will probably meet other travellers along the way, and it is easy to join forces and travel with someone or a group for a while, if you so wish.

Travel with peopleMeet other travellers along the way

You can even set this up before you go via sites like Couchsurfers (www.couchsurfers.org) or Travel Buddies (www.travelbuddies.co.uk). Good places to hook up with other travellers are the kitchens of hostels, or just check out hostel notice boards where you’ll usually find plenty of other people looking for travelling companions.

And, the beauty of this arrangement, is that it doesn’t have to be permanent: if you realise that you’re not suited to travelling together it’s much easier to extricate yourself from the arrangement - much more so that if you are travelling with a friend or partner!

Stay Safe Travelling On Your Own

Travelling in a group or with someone can be safer, yes, but you will find that travelling alone soon sharpens up your senses and intuition to make up for that. There are plenty of safety tips in our FREE Downloadable Backpackers A-Z Guide, but a handful of the most important ones would be:

Download the Essential Travel Backpacker Bible Download the A-Z Travel Bible
  • Don’t arrive anywhere late at night without knowing where you are going
  • Don’t stand on street corners with a map looking like a tourist
  • If in doubt watch what the locals are doing
  • Photocopy essential documents and carry copies in different places
  • Split up your money so that you are not carrying it all in one place
  • Leave money and valuable items in your hotel safe rather than carry everything around with you

Save Money Travelling Solo

There is no way around it, it can be more expensive travelling alone. Double rooms are cheaper per person than single rooms, and splitting a cab is not an option when you are alone. There’s not too much you can do about this, apart from planning for it in your travel budget before you leave, and look out for hostels where you can pay per bed, dormitory style, for your night’s sleep.

Those Special Moments

"You get to do what you want, on your own terms, in your own time, everyday."

Whether your train has been cancelled and you’ve got another four hours to wait, or you’ve got up in the early hours of the morning to see a spectacular sunrise, there are certain times when having someone there to share things with makes your journey a lot more interesting. And when you don’t have someone there, you may be lonely.

There are a few solutions to this one. The first is a practical one: find some people to travel with, as mentioned previously. It may only take a day on an organised tour to remind you of how annoying other people can sometimes be. Alternatively, you may may decide that you need some company for a bit longer. But you can usually find it if you need it.

The second is to re-frame your experience. You might not have someone to share your paella but you also don’t have someone telling you “Oh man, not paella again, can’t we go somewhere else?” In short, you get to do what you want, on your own terms, in your own time, everyday. And that means hundreds of special moments, all the time.

Sharing in Special Memories Sometimes it is nice to have someone to share special moments with

Travel Light

In fact you may find that the most annoying thing is that you’ve no one to watch your backpack for you, and you end up lugging it everywhere, even into the loos. The trick here is to pack light, and use the smallest rucksack you think you can get away with. Sleep or lean on it when you are waiting around at stations and do think twice before leaving it with anyone.

On the plus side, one person travelling light can usually squeeze into a crowded bus or train - something you would never be able to do as a group or couple!

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