Travelling on your own is in many respects very freeing and means that we can do and see what we want to when we want to. If we have specific things we want to see or do on a trip, then it is a great excuse not to be *weighed* down while at the same time it can be a lot more relaxing in a respect by enabling us to completely turn off and not to even think about having to answer other people’s conversation or pander to their various needs. On the other hand travelling on your own certainly *also* has some down sides and negative aspects. Read on to find out whether going on holiday alone is for you or whether you would find these downsides outweigh the benefits.
One of the downsides of travelling alone is the cost and perhaps shockingly this is usually actually more expensive than travelling as part of a bigger party. When you book in a hotel for example you'll find you will usually pay for the room itself rather than the number of individual people meaning that you’d basically be paying the exact same amount for a single person that you would do for two or three people, but with no one else to divide the price with.
Of course travelling on your own can additionally be rather nerve wracking for some people if they aren’t particularly confident or if they are vulnerable. Travelling alone may not be safe for example if you are elderly and in these cases if you have no one to travel it can be advisable to go with an organised coach trip. Here you will be with others your own age as well as a tour guide and it will be up to you whether you interact or not. At the same time through it will mean you won’t be walking around in the dark on your own in an area you don’t know looking for a cab.
It can also be quite nerve wracking however in that you will find yourself eating alone in restaurants and drinking alone in bars. For some this will feel too unusual and they will feel as though they are being watched by everyone in the venue. This really depends on you personally and whether you’re the sort of person who is confident enough to do things on their own or whether you are likely to feel out of place.
One thing that’s great about travelling alone is that situations like this provide a great opportunity to meet other people. If you’re sitting alone at a bar for example then people are far more likely to strike up a conversation with you than they would be if you were in a group as you’ll look more accessible and people will presume you’re not enjoying being on your own. However this will only work for a very outgoing kind of person who is able to strike up and engage in conversation with people they’ve just met. If that’s you, then you’ll be fine, if it’s not then you might find yourself hanging around alone a lot. Of course if you do have problems making conversation with strangers, or if you’re unused to being on your own places, then going travelling on your own can be a good way to learn these things and a good method for getting more confidence etc. Where you go will also have an affect here though too, and if you head somewhere where there are a lot of other ‘travellers’ and backpackers (such as Thailand) then you will find you have plenty of opportunity to socialise or try socialising, whereas quieter or more commercial areas might feel more lonely.
So people go travelling alone sometimes to learn to be social, but often that’s not all they hope to learn from the experience. Often they hope not only to get a chance to learn to meet people and become more independent, but also to develop themselves further through this kind of experience. At the same time they hope that by spending some significant amount of time on their own entirely they will be able to learn more about themselves. Being in a completely new environment and with no one else you know at all is a way to see how you are when you’re stripped of all of your creature comforts. How can you survive on your own when you know no one and nothing about the place you’re in? In this way it becomes both a challenge and a chance to ‘find yourself’ which is the reason that so many people tend to take years out to go travelling alone.
On the other hand though when you do engage in the various adventures etc then it can be nice to have someone to share it with. When you come back and regale tales of your triumphs it can be a lot more fun to have another person who was there to relate them to. At the same time if you go as a pair or a party then you’re likely to get much better photographs than if you’re required to hold the camera at arm’s length for every shot.
As you can see then, there are many strengths and weaknesses to travelling alone, but it is certainly a worthwhile experience for some. If only to try being completely alone and out of your depths, it’s worth experiencing at least once if you’re young.