Do you feel comfortable traveling by yourself? Vote in our poll!
Do you feel comfortable traveling by yourself? Vote in our poll!
The only downside to solo travel is no one to eat dinner with when you occasionally want a leisurely meal. The ups definitely balance that out. There is no arguing about what you are going to do and how long you are going to stay there. I don't particularly care for people who rush through anything. I like to take my time. When I am returning? Maybe never. I also have traveled with people and it's a mix. When I was injured abroad, it was sure nice to have a friend with me. However, when you end up with someone who turns out to be self centered, wants you do do all the driving, and has a lot of specific dietary needs or dislikes (I tend to try everything even things I wish I hadn't), a "friend" can become an "ex-friend" fast. I have had people come on the trip because home exchanges (my principal method of travel) and then try to take advantage of the whole situation to do their agenda. I had to tell one person off and put her out.
For longer trips there is only one person I invite now, a close girlfriend. There is no arguing, she likes to visit historical sites and museums and pretty much everything I like. She is a true pleasure to travel with. However, when I take longer trips, she can't come--which is too bad.
Being a senior traveler now, many of my friends have too many ailments to really be fun on a trip. Their excuses generally begin "I have to go to the doctor." You have to go to the doctor? Do you think I don't? You just see them all before you leave, pack up your meds and go. When you return, they are all standing in a line waiting for you--and you do buy emergency travel insurance before leaving.
No matter where you are, you are never alone. Yesterday, as I write this, I palled up for a couple of hours with a young postman from Britain. Here I am a retired lawyer. Did the difference in age or education make a difference? For a couple of hours he was very interesting, and despite a lack of "elevated" education, very well read. He took me over to something I most certainly would have missed and I treated him to a nice iced mint lemonade in an overpriced cafe.
You meet a lot of very interesting people on trips--and I find you meet more of them if you are not already in a group. One thing about Poland is that there are very few Americans here relative to places like Paris and London, so you meet people from all over the world.
Wherever and however you travel stay safe and have fun. For me these extended European home exchange based trips are always such learning experiences.
I am so used to traveling alone that it is hard for me to travel with someone. If it is a trip to Italy I am always afraid that what I think is wonderful, my traveling companion won't.
I first traveled alone when I was 25 years old. All my friends were married, and I had not intentnion of sitting home. So off I went. I will say I have taken a couple of excellent tours, but I love to plan trips for myself and have often done that and always done that when I am heading to Italy. The one item I refuse to spend time on is finding the best flight; I'd rather pay the travel agent. Sometimes I leave it up to the travel agent to check into Rail Pass or point to point train tickets being more economical, but I always tell the agent where I want to go and pretty much when.
Other than this I plan and buy my own day tours or trips and make reservations for these. I also read enough about the destination to know what area I want to stay in and then I make my own hotel reservations. In most cases if I were to return to any town or city in Italy that I have already visited, I would choose to stay in the same hotel as before.
I used to do this when I was a single person, without any worries or real problems. I still travel alone in the UK, but mainly by rail or coach. Travelling abroad is slightly more difficult now that I'm aged, but so long as I'd thoroughly researched my destination and hotel, then I'd have no problems doing it.
I'm not worried about the difficulties with language, money, strangers. What I fear most is being on my own in a hotel room for many, many hours, and that's just because of the sheer boredom!
I love to travel solo! Maybe it comes from being an only child, but I never get bored/lonely by being alone or anything like that. I also meet other solo travelers all the time in hostels so if I need a buddy for the day, there's always someone around. I have also never really felt unsafe but maybe that is the destinations I chose to go by myself to. I don't think I would go to India or the Middle East alone, probably not Africa either unless I was going to visit some friends there, but SE Asia, East Asia, Aus/NZ, Europe and N America I have never had a problem. I am nearly 26 and have traveled mostly solo for the past 4 years or so. I do sometimes visit friends during my "solo" travels, but then continue on somewhere else by myself without them. (For example, I visited a friend in Australia who lives in Brisbane for a few days then went to Sydney the next week by myself) I have traveled with friends too and for a long weekend that's fun, but for longer trips I prefer to be by myself so I can take in what I like and don't have to compromise. For instance, I am huge museum buff and can spend all day just roaming them, but most people I know get bored after a couple hours and would rather do something else. When I travel solo, I don't have to worry about that.
Kayling 05...you have mentioned one of the big plusses about solo travel...not having to compromise. There has been several times when I've been with friends or in group travel, when I've had to pander to other people. Even now, my OH and I can choose different places to see....so we go our separate ways for some visits. If we're at a beach destination, then he just wants to snorkel, and I go off and do something which interests me.
As others have said, the best part of traveling alone is getting to do whatever you want, when you want to, and to take as long as you like doing it! I love art museums and enjoy going through them alone so I don't feel as though I'm trying to keep pace with a companion. (And my usual travel partner isn't into art at all...) I have definitely had moments of feeling lonely or unsafe though. There are certain parts of the world where I probably wouldn't feel comfortable being by myself (India springs to mind, especially after all the rapes that have been in the news of late), and generally I don't go out alone after dark.
"I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag