4 Reasons Solo Travel isn’t for Everyone
Have you noticed that solo travel, especially solo female travel is extremely popular these days? We sure have, and it’s great. Wonderful, actually. Women feeling strong and confident enough to venture to places that the world may have deemed “too dangerous” to travel? Being brave enough to go on an adventure in a place where you know no one, maybe not even knowing the language? That’s pretty freaking amazing, if you ask us! So, if we think solo travel sounds this good, you might be wondering why we haven’t given it a try yet. Well, that’s quite a wonderful question you’ve just asked. I mean, we don’t both have to go someplace in order to take pictures, eat a ton of baked goods, and enjoy ourselves, right? We certainly hope we would be able to enjoy someplace without the other one always yapping about this or that or just being, generally, annoying. Also, It would definitely make more sense if we split ways and went to different places. We would have double the blog content (yay!!). So, why don’t we? Keep reading and we’ll tell, ya! Traveling solo isn’t for everyone (maybe one day we’ll each give it a try). Here are our 4 reasons why:
1. Social Anxiety
Did you know that Ashley and I have argued (ahem, disagreed) over who has to talk to the stranger? Actually, it’s something we do regularly when we travel. The issue is usually solved in the most adult way we can think of… a game of rock, paper, scissors. We’re being serious. If you ever see us playing a game, it’s because neither one of us want to do something and we’re trying to figure out which unfortunate soul has to do the dreaded task. We’re lucky because we share the task of talking to strangers (something neither one of us enjoys) when we’re traveling. And, later when we’re worrying about being judged by said stranger, there is someone to debunk the thoughts that we said or did something to upset someone else.
In very simple terms, people with social anxiety worry about what they are going to say, what they have already said, and/or being judged by the people they are talking with. No one likes to be judged, but feeling like everyone you talk to is judging you? That’s, simply, terrible and, in our opinion, a pretty good reason to travel with a friend. A friend can do the talking if you’re not feeling up to it or they can help put your mind at ease when you are overanalyzing a conversation you had with your waitress three days ago. Meeting fascinating people is one of the wonderful things about travel. There is no reason anyone should miss out on this part simply because talking to people makes them anxious. A travel partner can make this wonderful part of travel accessible when it would have otherwise been a lot more difficult.
2. Setbacks are less scary
Having something go wrong while you are in a place you aren’t familiar with surrounded by people you don’t know can be frightening. And, let us be the first to tell you (as self-proclaimed reigning queens of getting lost), no trip happens without at least one or two hiccups. Having a travel partner can really help in situations like these. You know the old saying “two heads are better than one?” It applies here. Two people might be able to come up with more solutions faster than one can. Knowing that no matter what happens, you’ll always have a friend by your side can be nice. Things are less frightening when you know you won’t be alone in a scary situation.
Ashley and I haven’t been in any terribly frightening situations but its nice to know that when something goes wrong, we won’t be alone. Walking back to the hotel down dark streets in both Washington, D.C and NYC? Having other people with us made us feel safer. When we couldn’t figure out why our rental car wouldn’t start? There were three of us and we figured it out pretty quickly- either one of us would have taken a long time on this one. Our entire NYC debacle? Ya, our travels rarely go as planned, so being with someone else makes the problems a little easier to handle.
3. Shared Experiences
Have you ever read stories about traveling changing people and no one back home understands? Or there is no one to talk to about it? Having a travel partner gives you someone you can talk to about these things. You don’t need to travel to 30 different countries in a year for travel to change you. Spending a week in another country, or even city, can give you a new perspective on life. Going someplace new can teach you so many things, no matter how long you’re gone or where you go. Traveling with a friend gives you someone who saw the same things you did and experienced the same things as you. They’ll be someone to talk to when you get home, someone who understands. Plus, it’s kind of interesting to see how the same experiences impact two different people. When something happens at home that reminds you of something you saw/did while gone, you can call up your friend and tell them. You’ll have someone to reminisce with about your trip. You can only say, “that reminds me of the one time I was in [insert location] and [insert random travel story] happened” before people start to get annoyed.
We have enjoyed having someone to talk about our volunteering trip to Texas with. Of course, we’ve told stories to friends and family, but it’s not the same as talking with someone who was actually there with you. They didn’t see the debris, talk to homeowners, or see the destroyed insides of homes like we did. To be honest, they won’t care as much about the organization as we do because they weren’t there.
4. They push you to do adventurous things
Would either one of us have gone to NYC by ourselves? Washington, D.C? Texas? Lol, no. Together, though? Our bags’ll be packed and we’ll be out of the door before you can finish asking. Having a travel partner can give you the courage to go someplace that might otherwise scare you. Peer pressure can be a bad thing, but it can also push you to do something that you might have not been brave enough to do if you were by yourself. A travel partner pushes you to take tiny steps that will eventually lead to bigger and bigger steps.
We haven’t said all this to say that solo travel is bad or stupid or pointless. It certainly isn’t. There are pros and cons. It’s for some people and not for others. We just wanted to write about why we don’t solo travel or why other people might not be able to/ want to. If you want to try solo travel, but are a little frightened. Try traveling with a friend or two. Give yourself a little courage and travel experience. You will be able to do it one day! After all, who cares whether you went someplace by yourself or with a group, so long as you make it there!
Thank you for reading! We’d love to hear what you have to say on this subject. Have you traveled solo? Or do you prefer to travel with friends? You can chat with us in the comments, through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through our various social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter). We hope you have a great week, safe travels, and may you always have a cookie in your cookie jar!