Before I get into this topic surround the worst parts of solo travel, let me firstly say that I am personally a huge advocate of traveling solo although I think it is important to raise some of the negatives to newcomers. When many people talk about their trips traveling solo they are often too keen to tell you about all of their wonderful experiences but tend to miss out any of the downsides. Some times you have to take the rough with the smooth and hopefully this post will prepare you for some of the rough parts.
You Have to Make All the Decisions
Making every single decision yourself, where to stay, what to eat, whether to have that extra drink or where to visit next, this may sound ideal as you can do exactly what you want when you want to. But ultimately this can be a lot of work, even the small things like looking into train times and booking tickets, this can end up being a lot of work. On the bright side though, you can do exactly as you please.
Making New Friends
It can be tough for us that aren’t social butterflies and find it hard to meet new people, approaching complete strangers can be awkward at times. But if you are traveling solo you have to just through yourself in at the deep end and go for it, whats the worst that can happen? Chances are that anyone else traveling along will be in the same boat so it doesn’t need to be one of the worst parts of solo travel, so if you strike up a conversation they’re unlikely to ignore you!
The only thing more difficult than making great friends, is saying goodbye. It might have been a day meandering around the city, a days or hiking or a crazy night out, staying a hostel friendships (and romances) can travel quickly. When one of you eventually leaves it can be tough and you should prepare yourself for that, you can have a amazing time for a couple of days and then never see that person again.
Items to Share
Traveling in a group items like shampoo, tooth paste and other toiletries can be shared, reducing the amount of stuff in your bag and reducing the amount money you have to spend. Traveling solo you need to carry all of your own stuff, so make sure you have room in your bag.
Asking Strangers to Take Your Photo
As we all know, no self respecting human should own a selfie stick but you would like an awesome new profile picture (Its OK, we don’t judge). However asking a stranger to take your photo to take your picture can be awkward, especially if you don’t speak a common language. You will normally find though that most are happy to oblige, I usually find if you ask tourists are others traveling they will normally ask for the same thing.
When You Don’t Get On With Anyone In The Hostel
There are times, when despite your best efforts their doesn’t seem to be anyone staying at the hostel that you ‘click’ with which can be one of the worst parts of solo travel. There may be a lot of groups, people with whom you don’t share a common language or perhaps you are just very different people. Not to panic though, people are always coming and going in hostels so odds is there will soon be someone you get along with just fine.
That Same Conversation
If its your first time staying in a hostel, you may not be familiar with ‘The Conversation’ yet (it might also be working reading our tips for your first time staying at a hostel). Every time you meet someone new after learning the next three questions are usually, where have you been, where are you going and how long are you traveling for or some variation of. It can get so repetitive, so I usually try and avoid asking as these kind of topics come up in casual conversation anyway.
All Experiences Are Solo Ones
All though solo traveling you will make some fantastic, unforgettable memories. Often the best thing about making those memories are reminiscing about them with those who shared them with you, which can be difficult to do if you are no longer in touch with the people you meet.
A Bad Hostel Can Ruin A Trip
I really think that a hostel can either make or break a trip, one that doesn’t have a great communal area can make it hard to meet others staying at the hostel. On the other hand a hostel that arranges lots of activities during the evening can make things so much easier. I would always suggest looking up reviews for hostels online before booking, or even better get recommendations from the people you meet along the way.
There are moments when solo traveling that can be lonely, when you can miss home, or perhaps just need to see a friendly face. This is by no means every day, or even every week but it is something you should be prepared for as not let things get you down. Take a good book and enjoy the down time and relax.
Hopefully you are now a little more informed about the worst parts of solo travel. Most of the points we have made are either very minor, don’t last long or are easily overcome so don’t let that put you off!