Solo travel, especially solo female travel, is marketed as an activity people should try at least once in their lives. It allows you to form a better relationship with yourself, have complete control of the itinerary, and be more open to meeting new people. Though I’m glad that I’ve traveled alone, and would do it again, I still prefer traveling with other people. Here’s my list of pros and cons:
Pro: You decide what you will be doing
For me, the best part of traveling alone, is that you’re 100% in charge. You get to decide at what time you wake up, what you eat for breakfast, what you’re going to do that day, etc. This beats having to accommodate and compromise your time and priorities with another person’s when traveling with others.
Pro: You get to know yourself better
Spending time alone in a new environment allows you get to know yourself better. Without the distraction of other people, you start to notice what excites you, what makes you uncomfortable, what scares you, etc. This information will help you understand your priorities and interests overall.
Pro: You might be more inclined to meet new people
Traveling alone, I have met some really fantastic people. When you’re alone, you’re more inclined to join another person or group for meals at places like hostels. As someone who is generally reserved, being alone pushes me to start a conversation with other people.
Con: The Loneliness Can Be Real
In my experience, meeting people while traveling alone is not always a given. Two years ago, I traveled to Portugal for a week during low season. When I arrived at my hostel in Lisbon, I noticed how quiet it was. It turned out, I was one of four guests at the entire hostel! The other three people were in a separate room and I didn’t see them during the week I spent in Lisbon. I took a walking tour, and didn’t click with anyone there either. After eating out alone two or three nights in a row, the loneliness hits you.
Con: You’re the only person experiencing the trip
A cause of loneliness is that you’re the only person experiencing your trip. One of the best parts of travel, for me, is building lasting memories with people you care about. Telling people about your experience over Facetime isn’t the same as having them with you.
Traveling alone, especially as a female, can be dangerous. Safety depends on a number of factors, including the destination. Being by myself made me feel more limited in what I could do or where I should go, especially after dark.