One of the main purposes of the trip is to experience that allow us to grow and develop as individuals to get and it is important that people travel the way Bests fits them at any given time. For example, I want to go on adventure holidays and this invariably involves a small group and knowledgeable guide, and I often participate in writing retreats all over the world with like-minded people. But for me the real joy of traveling has always been to take off on my own and just “see” what’s down the road. Obviously, this can sometimes be fraught with frustrations, difficulties and even dangers.
The advantages of traveling alone
Most people traveling alone generally call freedom as the great motivating factor: the freedom to please himself, to go where and when they want to change their plans on a whim when they hear about something that is a ‘ must to see, and spontaneously accept invitations by locals.
- No compromises
This is related to the previous point. Even if you are traveling with another person, whether it’s a friend, colleague, lover or spouse, there will always require some compromises. Not everyone has the same interests or the same energy, some people need to be supported emotionally all the time, others are apathetic, some have different views on time. With solo travel, there is no peer pressure on finances, the unspoken need to equally divide restaurant bills or guilt trips when you want to go off on your own for a while.
- Meet People
Traveling solo does not mean that you will always be alone. In fact, you can meet more people because other tourists and locals an individual traveler accessible than those in a tight group. Also, people in groups have little need to reach out to others for communication. I met more people, have more interesting conversations and invitations and made more long-term friends, while eating only foreign restaurants or sitting alone in bars. But then I am sociable. Travelling alone can be the people you want to spend time with instead of having found the annoyances day-after-day of the inevitable clowns and whingers choose to face in a large group.
There is a real sense of discovery which are involved in the travel on your own, and that includes self-discovery. You do not have to rely on an often ill-informed guide to lead you on a line, and there is the surprise and thrill when you find something you did not expect, like the time I got lost and ended up in a small find Bavarian village a monastery containing a library of tens of thousands of medieval manuscripts. Travelling allows you to discover more about yourself when you simple challenges such as missing a bus or boat and realize there is no overcoming another for a day or a week. Then there is the sense of accomplishment in solving much more challenging problems, such as finding yourself lost in a strange city at midnight or running out of money on a holiday weekend with no ATM in sight and the banks closed.
Disadvantages of unaccompanied
- The single supplement
For those who want to stay in good hotels, there is unfair single supplement that can add thousands to the cost of your trip.
- Lack of support
There is no one to watch your luggage while you go to the toilets at airports or railway stations, no one to help with persistent touts, no one to be there for you if you become ill or are being stalked or harassed by a certain man the street.
There are times when I would have liked to have taken more of myself in certain places, but there again, there are always people who are willing to one or two for you to break.
I know that there are times in the future when I will travel as part of a group of choice, because I want to visit areas where it is simply not possible or sensible for a woman alone, or because I want to with family or like-minded people. However, due to my particular personality traits, my preference is to travel alone. I guess it really does not matter how people travel, but that they travel.