Thursday, 4 June 2015

Pros and Cons of Solo Travel.

Solo travel definitely has its advantages and disadvantages.  However, all the solo trips I have been on have been fantastic, empowering experiences from which I have met lots of amazing people and made precious memories.  This post aims to inspire people who are thinking about solo travel to take the plunge.  I have put together my top 5 reasons why I think solo travel is an experience most people can benefit from, followed by some drawbacks you may be faced with.

The world is waiting for you!

You’ll meet new people

When I tell people I’m travelling solo, this can be misleading as I don’t actually spend much time on my own!  When staying in hostel accommodation, it is very easy to meet lots of like-minded people.  It’s a real cliché that ‘you’ll meet so many people when you’re away’, but it’s true!  Travelling solo forces you to socialize outside your comfort zone.  Often, a simple ‘hi’ can lead to whole new friendships.  You always have something in common to talk about – travel!  Travelling allows you to meet diverse groups of people from all different parts of the world from all different backgrounds.  I spent my birthday this year clubbing in Copenhagen with people I’d known for a matter of hours – we had a great time!  It is the people I have met who have made my trips away such fantastic experiences – I am always sad to wave goodbye. 

It allows time for self-reflection

I tend to have a very active mind.  Whenever I have even five minutes to myself, I think about everything.  This reflection time can be relaxing and therapeutic.  I hate to use another cliché, but solo travel really does allow yourself the opportunity to discover yourself as a person, and reflect upon what it is you want to get from life.  Okay, this is getting a bit deep, I’ll move onto something a bit lighter next!

Freedom and flexibility

Solo travel offers a real sense of freedom, allowing you to really explore the places you want to see at your own pace.  You can go where you like, when you like!

It pushes you out of your comfort zone!

When travelling to new places, you are bound to be met with some challenges.  However, I like to view these challenges as adventures, rather than bad situations.  For example, you may need to book a train in Vladivostok, but not speak any Russian, or you may be lost in the middle of Mumbai without a map.  Travelling solo forces you to tackle these challenges by yourself.  This is really good life experience, and I strongly believe it has helped me to develop as an individual.  The more you are faced with difficult situations, the easier it becomes to deal with them.  I really like the saying ‘Life starts at the edge of your comfort zone’ – this holds a lot of truth!

You get a real sense of achievement

This point follows on nicely from the last point.  Conquering fears by yourself can make you feel great.  It gives you confidence in your own ability and can be really empowering!

'Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone'

It is worth pointing out, however, that solo travel may not appeal to everyone.  And it certainly has its drawbacks.  There may be issues around personal safety, which are very important to consider when making the decision to go travelling solo.  Safety concerns vary depending on your destination, but wherever you visit will have an element of risk.  However, the most common problems people have is boredom.  Although solo travel certainly helps you to appreciate your own company, it probably will not be an enjoyable trip if you hate being alone!

Also, when you are travelling on your own, there’s no-one to watch your luggage whilst you go to the loo!  So security can be more compromised.  This probably sounds quite a trivial point, but it can be a pain to deal with!

I sometimes travel solo and sometimes travel with a group – both certainly have their advantages.  To anyone considering taking the plunge, I would say go on and do it – go see the world.

Thanks for reading, happy travels! And stay safe!

Elis Griffiths. x


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