Traveling Solo — Yay or Nay?


I’m in the middle of revising for upcoming exams, but am taking a much-needed break to figure out some traveling over the Christmas vacation! I am going to Malta to visit family from the 13th through the 18th, but have also been toying with the idea of hitting up Paris solo from the 20th through the 23rd! Now, my main issue is that I have never traveled alone before. The sound of my parents’ voice discussing safety in numbers echoes in my head as I write this. Although traveling in groups is probably the safer thing to do (theoretically), I much like the idea of taking a few days to be alone with myself: a few books, my laptop, my camera and an itinerary that I find 100% thrilling.

Although I have loved most every trip I have taken with friends, partners and family, I find that there is the issue of reconciling desires whilst sightseeing. Everyone is different (with different interests)  and thus people’s desires in sightseeing vary. With traveling solo, I can create an itinerary that I like and don’t have to concede to other people’s wishes. Additionally, I find that when I travel with people my age, there is an inherent need to go out at night and travel like the twenty-somethings that we are. Since I happen to be quite possibly the oldest 23 year old known to man, going out, partying, stumbling around foreign countries drunk doesn’t much appeal to me… in fact, I would much rather have a laid back, low-key night in to prepare for an early morning of cultural immersion.

Wanderlust and Lipstick, a women’s travel website, did an article on 5 Reasons to Travel Solo, all of which act as an impetus to book this excursion. Additionally, Brave New Traveler did a write-up on 10 Things to Learn About Yourself When Traveling Alone. Though there are negative aspects to traveling alone, the majority of write-ups that I have read on the topic seem to find value in solo travel. Though safety should be recognized, I find that I’m not really one to find dangerous situations: I tend to be a relatively smart traveler and understand the dangers inherent in being a) alone and b) a female traveler.

That being said, I’m preparing to book this trip on the Eurostar to stay in Paris for a few days on my own. I imagine it would be a valuable experience — alone time plus learning how to navigate foreign lands by myself. The only downside might be a few minor bouts of loneliness, but I’m sure I can survive and maybe learn a bit more about myself in the process!

Any thoughts? Has anyone had a particularly good or bad experience traveling solo?

Yours,

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Renzo on December 8, 2009 at 5:57 PM

    Traveling Solo is a great experience.
    It might not sound very good for some people but maybe they think that way because they have never try it.
    I had so many doubts (and critics) the first time I decided to travel by my own but once you do it you love it.
    Do not worry about loneliness that you won’t have too much time to feel that way.
    Maybe there will be some problems -that’s real life!- but when you look bach they become good anecdote and you will laugh!!
    Good solo travel my friend,
    R

    Reply

    • Hey Renzo!
      Thank you! I’m actually really looking forward to some alone time and learning to navigate a foreign country on my own… luckily they speak English in Scotland AND Edinburgh’s a relatively small town so it should be a good learning experience! Have a good holiday! :)

      Reply

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