Traveling alone for the first time can be scary, and it’s wise for travelers to be cautious. But just because solo travel is outside of your comfort zone doesn’t mean you should listen to all the naysayers talking about why you should be afraid of it.
Heard It All
Um, are you really going to sit at that restaurant table by yourself? What if the bus you’re on gets hijacked? Solo travelers get strange comments about their “unchaperoned” globetrotting ways all the time. Experienced globetrotters took to the internet to settle the misconceptions.
1: You’ll Be Lonely All the Time
No, you won’t. For starters, being lonely and alone isn’t the same thing. But nuances aside, globetrotters maintain that there are many ways to meet people while solo traveling as long as you don’t stay holed up in your Airbnb the entire time.
2: It’s Meaningless
Solo travelers-to-be and family and friends of those travelers often regurgitate the narrative that solo travel experiences don’t mean as much unless you have someone to share them with. “So false,” as one solo traveler puts it.
Not only is it common to make impromptu friends during solo travels, but another traveler points out that being alone in a destination allows one to be more mindful of the moment.
3: Everything Must Be Planned
You’re traveling alone, not having your critical thinking skills wiped out. While there’s value in trip planning, you don’t have to do so down to the minute. One solo traveler remembers their epiphany moment when they realized it was okay not to know where they were going and what they’d be doing next at all times of the day.
4: You’ll Be Mugged
Becoming a victim of a crime, and a violent crime for women, is a common fear among first-time solo travelers. As many experienced solo globetrotters comment, as long as you take basic safety precautions and listen to your gut if something doesn’t seem right, the chances of something bad happening to you in a country that isn’t on the Department of State’s “Reconsider travel to” or “Do not travel to” list are low.
5: Hostels Are 24/7
Many newbie backpackers believe all hostels are the same. And party-oriented, at that. But here’s the thing: If you’re fearful of being unable to sleep, plenty of hostels have a more laid-back vibe. Many hostels also offer private rooms in addition to dorm rooms.
6: Getting Bed Bugs
It happens to the best of us. But are you really going to let the fear of getting bed bugs, food poisoning, etc., stop you from taking that solo trip of a lifetime? As one formerly bed bug-fearing solo traveler put it, they’ve learned to do their due diligence to research an accommodation’s cleanliness beforehand and leave the rest up to fate.
7: You’ll Get Stranded
Yes, lost passports, airport strikes, and other trip disruptions can temporarily strand solo travelers. But the key word is temporarily. The country you’re in doesn’t want you overstaying your visa. So, as long as you didn’t do something to get you thrown into jail, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll ensure you leave ASAP.
8: It’s Expensive
Traveling alone doesn’t have to be costly. Many travelers commented that their solo trips were cheaper than traveling with others. Solo travelers don’t feel pressure to spend money on activities or fancy restaurants that don’t interest them, and they usually don’t go out drinking every night.
9: You’ll Always Be Lost
Have you never been lost in your home country? Getting lost happens, but you’re not always going to be lost. Yes, there may be language barriers to contend with. But as one solo traveler recounts, finding an English speaker is often easy, and using public transportation was so much simpler than what they had pictured before their first solo trip.
10: Eating Alone Isn’t Weird
Shall we repeat that again? It’s not weird to eat alone at restaurants. As one solo traveler bluntly puts it, “No one notices you,” nor would they care that you’re eating alone if they do. Some solo travelers even describe eating alone as “freeing.”
11: Solo Travel Is Overrated
Some solo travelers remember worrying that traveling by themselves would lead to disappointment, given all the hype around globetrotting alone. As one traveler succinctly puts it, “I was wrong.” You’re probably wrong, too, and you won’t know if that’s the case unless you embark on your first solo trip.
12: You Must Speak the Local Language
Hello, Google Translate! While learning the local language is never a bad idea, solo travelers don’t need to wait until they’re fluent before traveling to a foreign country. And not to be a Debbie Downer, but if you’ve passed puberty, the chances of speaking a second language 100% like a local is next to none.
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