Traveling alone isn’t as big of a deal anymore as it used to be. Social media and the internet have piqued everybody’s interest in travel, and now more people are moving about the globe for pleasure than ever before. It used to be such a weird thing to travel alone, but I am meeting more and more solo traveler’s all the time, especially since I have been in Colombia. I think people are catching on to the fact that solo travel is the way to go and are becoming more intrigued and less intimidated about the idea of going out into the world on their own.
I’ll admit I was also intimidated by the prospect of traveling alone for a long time.It took me a while to have the courage to plan a big trip all by myself- especially through 3rd world countries like I am doing right now in South America. But once I tried it I got used to it and now I would never go back to traveling any other way. Here’s why:
You’re Never Alone
The first thing you need to realize about traveling alone is: You are never actually alone. I meet way more people when I am traveling by myself than I would on a trip with a friend for example. People are more inclined to approach you to talk, and you are more inclined to start chatting with other people. I’m really only alone when I insist on being alone because I want some time to myself, otherwise I am constantly meeting new people and making new friends, and this, for me, is one of the best parts about traveling!
You Have Complete Freedom
Part of the reason why we love travel is because we love to express our freedom through movement, and you are never more free than when you are alone. You don’t have to coordinate your schedule with anyone else, modify or change what you want to do to appease anyone else, and you are in control of every aspect of your trip. I hate to think back on how many friendships of mine suffered because of the tensions that arise while traveling together. You never expect or hope for these kinds of problems, but everyone has their different preferences and breaking points and it’s only natural that at some point they will come to a head when you are with one person 24/7 while traveling.
It’s Not Dangerous
This is especially a concern for women out there like me. Of course I had my own concerns about safety traveling by myself, in South America and anywhere, but in general, as long as you are smart when you travel you’re not going to have any problems. What do I mean by smart? I mean don’t go waving around your electronics and flashy gadgets in poor countries (or anywhere for that matter) or draw attention to yourself and your money. Don’t go walking by yourself into bad areas or at night. Talk to people about where these bad areas might be and what places you should avoid before you go out by yourself. Going back to point 1, you never have to be alone when you are traveling. It’s only if you want to be. Make a point of not being alone when you are out at night or in questionable areas. Use your brain. When you do things like this you are making yourself a target for bad people. It’s easy to stay safe while traveling if you just use common sense, stay aware of your surroundings at all times, keep careful track of all of your things, and stay with other people when you need to.
Also in this digital age, we can be in contact with everyone no matter where we are in the world. My parents know where I am at and where I am heading at all times. I probably talk to them more while I am traveling than I would if I were in the States. If anything were to go wrong they would know about it right away. This is another way technology is making the world feel smaller and traveling (alone), feel less intimidating.
What are your other fears about traveling alone or questions that you have? Ask away here!