The pros and cons of travelling solo

June 30, 2016
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It seems like every time I scroll through my newsfeed, there are so many articles encouraging young people to go forth and take a spontaneous trip somewhere far away. Wanderlust seems to constantly haunt us as we drown in university assignments and part-time work. Although we want to make all these grand plans, there’s not always someone to come with us. Travelling solo could be one of the best adventures you'll ever have, but there are also some drawbacks that come with doing it alone. Here are the pros and cons to weigh up before you take that plunge.

Con: No one to share the costs with

When you travel alone, you won’t be able to share the costs with anyone. You’ll have to pay for accommodation for one, which would be a lot cheaper if you were able to half the cost with someone else. Several places charge per room and not per head, which can make the cost much more expensive. You can avoid the expense by booking a single bed in a hostel room, but it might just mean you have to share with others.

Accommodation isn’t the only thing to consider. Some countries like the US serve huge portions of food so if you're travelling solo, you probably won't be able to finish it. Even if you do manage to finish that giant burger and fries, it leaves you no room to try street snacks or other local foods. While travelling with another can be a good option for sharing, if you do your research, you can choose the right places to eat at that are within your budget, regardless of size.

Pro: You gain important life skills

When you travel solo, the most important and obvious skill you’ll gain is navigating situations completely independently. You are being placed in situations where you have to make your own decisions (hopefully smart decisions) and you’ll be in situations where you need to speak up and communicate with people from around the world. This experience will help you to improve your social skills, as well as your decision making skills.

The best part of solo travel is being able to make all the decisions for yourself and not worrying about what others want or think.

Con: Not being able to share the fun experiences

By travelling solo, you miss the opportunity to share the excitement with someone else. Whether you’re hiking up a hill or shopping up a storm at the markets, sometimes it's funner when you have someone to join you. Of course, you’ll still enjoy it and feel that sense of happiness within you. Butin reality, you'll probably wish that you had someone to share this wonderful feeling with.

Pro: Overcoming loneliness

Many people think that they would be too lonely to travel alone. This is where the beauty of travelling solo lies – you learn to overcome loneliness. You eat alone, you navigate around on your own, you are self-sufficient and you become someone who you know you can depend on. Solitude is beneficial and can help you to break your own boundaries and step out of your comfort zone.

Con: Safety

While you can often research and find destinations that are safe for travel, travelling solo could make you an easier target for someone if they can see you’re lost and on your own. Unlike travelling with a companion, solo travel does make you more vulnerable because you’re the only one who can take care of you. You have to take care of all of your own belongings and navigate your way around an unknown city. If you have a companion, you guys can split the jobs and watch each other’s back, making travel a more enjoyable and easy one to navigate.

Pro: You learn what you truly want

When you travel solo, you learn about the things you really want in your life. It is about self-exploration and figuring out what you truly want and don’t want. You also have no one holding you back so you can pursue all the activities you want to pursue. Going on your own can be really rewarding. It can help you to grow as an individual and become a better version of yourself.

Above all, the pros outweight the cons. Solo travel is an a adventure that everyone should go on to discover themselves.

Cynthia Voon

Cynthia is currently a final year Communications and media student at The University of Western Australia, juggling a second major in Management.

Image: Akio Takemoto, Flickr Creative Commons license

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