Have you ever traveled solo? Set off on an adventure near or far completely on your own?
If you have, you probably experienced all the benefits of solo travel, like being able to make all the decisions when it comes to what you see, where you stay, when you eat, etc. When you travel alone, you have complete freedom.
But that complete freedom – and the responsibility that comes along with it – often frightens newer travelers.
Being nervous about traveling is somewhat common. But if it's solo travel you're nervous about, here are some ways to get over those fears.
The belief that traveling alone is inherently dangerous is something often personified in news reports and Hollywood blockbusters. But the reality is that solo travel is no more or less dangerous than any other type of travel.
How to overcome it: Being prepared to travel solo means doing your homework on things like the appropriate clothing to wear, common scams to look out for, and the best (safest) neighborhoods to stay in. You also need to be aware of your surroundings once you get to your destination, and don't do anything while traveling that you wouldn't do at home. Staying safe while traveling solo isn't nearly as daunting as some people assume.
Many people worry that traveling solo will lead to increased homesickness or loneliness. You may indeed run into these feelings, especially if you are shy or introverted, but being alone definitely does not always mean feeling lonely.
How to overcome it: You might find that the solitude actually agrees with you while traveling. If not, though, there are always things you can do to combat loneliness. Stay in a hostel or guesthouse where you can meet other solo travelers. Book day trips or join free walking tours (another great way to meet fellow solo travelers). Or simply go to parks or events where you're bound to be surrounded by other people.
There's some truth to the fear that traveling solo can, in some cases, be slightly more expensive than traveling in a group or with a significant other. This is because, when you travel alone, you don't have anyone to split food, accommodation, or transportation costs with.
How to overcome it: Solo travel doesn't have to be expensive, though. There are plenty of hotels, tour companies, and even cruise lines that don't charge the dreaded single supplement for solo travelers. In fact, as solo travel becomes more and more popular, an increasing number of companies are doing away with single supplements altogether. You can also book hostels, rent rooms through Airbnb, go grocery shopping instead of eating out, and use public transportation to cut down on some of the other costs.
There's almost always a fear of failure attached to trying something you've never done before. This fear is natural – you may worry that you'll get lost or feel lonely or run out of money. You may worry that you won't be able to figure out the public transport or adequately book your own accommodation. You may worry that you'll just plain hate traveling alone.
How to overcome it: Well, you'll never know for sure if you don't try. If you strike out solo and realize that the travel style just isn't for you, that's fine. Not every travel style is right for every person. At least you'll know for next time.
What other fears have you had about traveling solo and how did you overcome them?
Graduate student by day and avid traveler and blogger by night (and on weekends and during holidays), Amanda is just a small-town Ohio girl trying to balance a "normal" life with a desire to discover the world beyond her Midwest bubble. Amanda's adventurous nature and inability to say "no" have led her to some pretty amazing adventures all around the world. But she has no desire to stop exploring anytime soon. Read Amanda's blog, A Dangerous Business, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.
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