Travelling solo is not as difficult as you think. 🙂
Whenever I share with people on my travel adventures, they always thought I had a special photographer to take photos for me! LOL… in fact, I traveled alone most of the time (except to neighbouring resort beach places), my photographers were actually the passerby or the new friends I met when I traveled. Often, I received the many questions and queries about my solo travels:
- Why do you love traveling yourself so much?
- Don’t u feel bored and lonely?
- Weren’t you worried and scare?
I think it is a good opportunity for me to share this post with people who are inspired to do solo travel… do it at least ONCE in your lifetime… try it out yourself, if you do, these words should resonate with you : “Inspiring”, “Fulfilling”, “Triumphant”, “Adventurous” & “Satisfying”, perhaps you may even crave for more! 🙂
So in this post, I am going to share with you
- My top 5 reasons for traveling solo
- 5 Things you need to do when you wish to travel solo +
- Additional bonus – 3 types of people who cannot do solo travel!
Read on to find out. 🙂
Here Are My Top Reasons for Traveling Solo
Traveling along means you have the entire time, choice, and experience by yourself! You could stay in one place as looooong as you wish and nobody is going to rush you through a busy day in the museum or attractions!
For instance, I stayed 6 hours in Bergen, Norway on top of the Floyen Mountain just to wait for the 11pm sunset and captured this photo! It was freezing cold and I sort of challenged myself to wait! The tram operator urged me to leave because she was certain that I was going to miss the sunset. Perhaps my persistent and determination touched the sky and presented to me this gorgeous mid-night sun 🙂
Same goes with Table Mountain at Cape Town, South Africa! I stayed on top for 4 hours waiting for the mist of clouds to clear and waited for this beautiful sunset! I didn’t plan for the sunset originally, hence I did not carry any jacket with me! It was only 10 degree celsius (during sunset) plus strong breeze from the ocean… so you can see how “well” prepared I was! haha Afterall… it was totally worth it! 🙂
2) Sleeping In
You are in a complete new environment, a country you have been wanting to see and explore! I’m sure there are so much to do with the limited time you have! So, when you travel alone, you will have FULL control of the time, whether you sleeping in late, or any time you wish to wake up. (of course this require some self discipline haha) No one is going to give you a morning call (except for room service at times… damn) and rush you through the day!
3) Meet New People
Personally, I think it’s so much better to meet people outside of your comfort zone. Meeting new people can be exciting and rewarding. Initially you may be a bit unsure and uncertain of yourself. Whether you can fit it? Whether can people understand you or not? Whether you can trust your new friend? My suggestion for you, don’t be afraid to meet new people! Often, new friends are more open and receptive, (because we all know everyone is coming from different backgrounds) you will find yourself gaining more confidence as you interact with more people!
A rule of thumb, if you are not fussy, I strongly recommend a stay in the hostel. Hostel doesn’t mean run down or dirty, I am usually picky about the place I sleep, so the hostels that I choose will always be those “5 star” hostel” type. This is also my secret how I managed to know so many friends around the world. 🙂
The old Austrian professor featured above, was one of the oldest traveler I ever met! We were sharing the 4 bedder hostel room in Copenhagen, Denmark. He blows me off with all his astonishing travel stories, one of the most amazing thing I ever heard – he traveled Italy by foot!!! Literally from Venice to Rome, just by walking! AMAZING! So if you cooped up in a nice luxurious hotel, you won’t subscribe to such unbelievable stories and meet these amazing people! 🙂
4) Diet & Shopping
If you are on special diet i.e. Vegetarian (like me YAY), traveling yourself will allow you freedom and time to search for a decent meals! I have to say, due to the fact I traveled alone, I managed to FIND GREAT,AWESOME, DELICIOUS, taste like a heaven, vegetarian cafes and restaurants! Usually package tour will bring you to some non-vegetarian restaurant and they will figure something out when you arrived.
Same goes with shopping, imagine how unfortunate you would be if you cannot spend half a day at Champs-Élysées, Paris, France! The largest Louis Vuitton store in the world, Gucci for men and many more…
Disclaimer: I don’t really like shopping, but I always have to do shopping (complete my shopping tasks for family and friends) This is also quite unfortunate as well… haha 🙁
Let me give you an example:
Tour package itinerary by Tour Agencies for a Day tour in Cape Town, South Africa:
– See Diamond (neah boring to me)
– Eat seafood restaurant (neah, well I’m a vegetarian)
– Go Shopping at V&A Waterfront (neah, I don’t really shop)
– Botanical Garden (neah, erm… not a fan of flowers and gardens)
In this case, even you are on a tour package to the beautiful Cape Town, you won’t be satisfied!
On the other hand, if you have your own customised itinerary and travel your own, you will have the full control and plan according to what you wish to see for that day:
– Table Top Mountain (oh yeah)
– Vegetarian Restaurant (yum)
– Cape of Good Hope (OMG gorgeous view)
– Cage Diving to see the Great White Sharks (holy crap)
– Paragliding (hell yea… ticked my bucket list)
See the difference now? haha 🙂
You may be thinking now.. “Alright Keith, I’m convinced to do solo travel! How do I start?”
If you are convinced to do a solo trip to somewhere… here are the 5 things to do!
Number 1: Do Lotsa Research
The formula is: the more research you do = lesser costs incurred for the trip = more knowledgeable and prepared you are.
How to go about doing your travel research? Search your place of interest on Tripadvisor or follow travelers’ blog (such as mine) you wont go wrong! 🙂
Number 2: Follow The Locals
The rule of thumb for surviving well in a totally strange new environment is to DO WHAT THE LOCALS DO! You won’t go wrong with this, they are the locals and they know the place so much better than you do!
Same goes with food, if you see restaurant or shops that are only patronised by tourists (not travelers or locals), you probably would be ripped off by the sky high prices! I love eating with locals, and most of the time interacting with them will provide you with more tips or free rides! 🙂
Number 3: Be Street Smart
If you don’t see many locals, or you are in a situation or place that gives you a bad vibe, (i.e. drug dealers or prostitution) you are probably in the wrong place! Humans are born with instinct, unless something goes wrong with ya… you should have a good grasp of your own instinct! haha 🙂
Number 4: Don’t be afraid to be LONELY
Yea, I met a lot of great people when I traveled! I have a lot more friends! Sometimes, I do travel or explore cities with my new friends that I met in hostel, HOWEVER, I do feel lonely at times! No matter how many amazing people you have meet, there will still be time when you will have to say goodbye and continue your own adventure! My personal threshold is 3 weeks! Anything more than 3 weeks, I will need a little taste of home and yea I DO miss home every time I travel! 🙂
Number 5: Just Do It!
Yes, it’s cliche! Honestly, once you booked your air tickets, you literally invested yourself to be away! Once you completed all the above (Number 1 to 4), number 5 is YOUR ACTION! 🙂
Many people have what it takes to travel solo! If you aspired to travel by yourself, don’t think too much and give it a try! Ask yourself or you can seek advice from family or close friends as well. Ultimately, they know you! haha 🙂
3 Types of People Who Cannot Travel Solo!
The last part will be interesting! Of course, if you ask me whether you can travel by yourself… I will ask you to read the below information and ask yourself later:
Type 1: Topographical Disorientation
If you follow my blog, I did recommend it can be fun to “get lost” in Tokyo, Japan! Don’t get me wrong, it is fun and absolutely fine to get lost in the city for a while! You will be surprised with things that you didn’t really plan for or expected to see! HOWEVER, it will be quite disastrous if you get lost for good! Literally GET LOST! hmmm I’m sure your family and friends will be so worried for ya! 🙂
Type 2: Poor in Geography or General Knowledge
Funny type of people! In my opinion, it’s alright if you never heard about Adolf Hitler, but you can be quite messed up if you are expecting to see Eiffel Tower in Berlin! Don’t laugh… I heard this from someone before! haha OMG
Another interesting story I heard from my Canadian mate when I was in Russia! He told me these happened a few times before, apparently a British couple and Italian couple (separate incidents) on a honeymoon trip to Sydney. They boarded a flight and it took only a couple of hours from UK/Rome to Sydney! You must be thinking, just a couple of hours??? It must be a rocket then! haha yea.. certainly! Well… I didn’t mention that they arrived in Sydney, Australia right? They arrived in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada instead! OMG again! haha
Read up the story here: Italian Couple Arrived in Sydney N.S. Instead of Australia
Type 3: Phobias
Go through the list of phobias in wikipedia! If you strike positive with more than 10 phobias from the list, you probably should reconsider whether you can travel solo! haha
Some of the phobias are straight NO NO! For example:
Pantophobia – Fear of everything (think there is no way for you to travel)
Decidophobia – Can’t make decision (think booking a flight by yourself is impossible or choosing a country can be a challenge)
Autophobia – Fear of being alone (well, the title is “Can you travel alone?”, so I’m sorry i gotta strike
To summarise it all, travelling solo is a pro-active choice and you need to do the necessary research, mental preparation and just take that very first step to experience it for yourself! Remember what they say: ” ME TIME is very important for your peace of mind!” 🙂
If you seriously wish to travel alone and have more tips, please feel free to leave your comments! I hope you enjoy and please travel safe! 🙂
“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears.”- Glenn Clark