The Pros and Cons of Traveling Solo
Going abroad on your own might not sound all that appealing. After all, most people are social creatures that enjoy the company of good friends and loving family members. Still, such solo trip can prove to be an exhilarating, once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Read on to discover the pros and cons of ‘flying solo’ and see whether it is something you might want to try out the next time you go on vacation.
- You can really get to know the locals: When traveling in a group people tend to interact a lot with their companions. You go sightseeing together and then share that beer and have a heart to heart conversation without having to overcome any language barriers. However, that also means you never really get to immerse yourself in the local culture. When traveling alone you can get out of your comfort zone, connect to new people in a meaningful way and practice French (or any other foreign language) as you go. If your French is not up to par, use apps like Google Translate (free for iOS and Android) that will help you find the correct expression and pronounce it right.
- You get the chance to be adventurous with your food: When you go out dining with a bunch of friends, there are many food preferences and restrictions to consider. More often than not you will end up eating in a boring restaurant that caters to all tastes and offers no dishes to remember. When alone, you can take risks, try out tiny local joints and just eat weird and unfamiliar stuff sold on the street. Ask the locals for recommendations or get a data travel SIM, go online and read fellow traveler’s reviews on sites like TripAdvisor.
- You get to just ‘be there’: When visiting new and unfamiliar locations we often feel pressed into doing, seeing and experiencing, relentlessly. When you have no companions’ preferences to consider you can bask quietly in the sun for as long as you like, or carefully examine an obscure museum exhibition without being rushed to another place of interest. Consider streaming your favorite music, putting your headphones on and sitting on a public bench watching Berlin (or New York) life go by – that simple experience might prove to be a most enjoyable one.
- You might get bored: Those long commutes or nights spent waiting for a flight can become quite boring at some point, and you will be spending a great amount of time alone. Consider always having something to read – either in hard copy or loaded to your electronic device. Downloading a couple of movies to keep you entertained is always a good idea. You can also use this time to educate yourself: consider learning a new language with a special app (such as Duolingo) – both fun and useful on a trip abroad.
- You won’t be able to experience those great moments with your loved ones: You will recognize those moments when you have them: the gorgeous sunset over the ocean; that movie star you caught a glimpse of; feeding a baby giraffe at the local zoo. Then you will regret not having your significant other with you to share the awe, because telling the story at home just won’t be the same. You can still keep your family updated, though, by asking someone to take a picture of you with that giraffe and then sharing it on your social accounts.
- You are the only one responsible: When traveling with a friend, one of you can keep the passports, while the other has the copies; one can be responsible for your itinerary, the other one – for the finances. Being on your one means exerting extra caution. Put your essential documents in a money belt and make sure you have copies of everything. You can send those copies to your own email or upload them to an online storage site in advance and access them as needed via the Internet.
Whether you decide to travel alone or not, don’t underestimate the importance of taking along an international SIM card loaded with data. Such data card will allow you to stay connected to the Internet wherever you are and help you have a fun, hassle-free trip.