After another busy year, finally the summer break is approaching. Even if that means pulling yourself together and powering through the last exams and essays, the reward for all the hard work in form of holidays is close. However, making travel plans with friends can be a task more complicated than any assignment from the past few months. Finding a time, a destination or an accommodation that suits everyone can turn into lengthy negotiations and you might end up with a compromise no one is really happy with. So, why not grab that backpack and go on a solo trip?
Because it’s a little scary travelling somewhere all alone… It is important to challenge yourself from time to time and leave your comfort zone. If you overcome your initial fear or insecurity, you’ll see that travelling alone can offer you many new experiences, the possibility to try things out and to fully immerse yourself in your surroundings.
But it’s going to be boring and lonely…
As a backpacker, you will never be completely alone - unless you really want to. There are always other travelers at hostels or activities like city tours who are up for a chat. Or maybe you want to try couchsurfing and meet some locals who show you the hidden gems of their cities. But the biggest advantage of solo travelling is that you can do whatever you want. You are flexible to change your plans at any moment without having to discuss it. You can go at your own pace, explore a new place thoroughly, take lots of photos or just have a quick look around before you head to the beach, it’s all up to you and your mood.
Ok, let’s not get overly enthusiastic here, surely there are also some downsides to the whole solo travelling thing. Just as it can be great to make all decisions on your own, this can also be tiring, especially when you are backpacking. It means having to make every single decision, from small ones like where to have dinner to big ones about your further itinerary. Sometimes it’s nice to just lay back and hand that responsibility over to someone else or to come up with plans together. Of course, you will also miss your friends and wish to share all those new impressions with them. No matter if it’s some tasty exotic food or a stunning sunset, sharing experiences with friends makes them more intense and after all, nothing strengthens a friendship as much as creating shared memories and looking back upon them together. You might be able to go through these situations with your new travel buddies, but it’s just not the same. Travel acquaintances can also be quite shallow, the fact that you are both visiting a particular city or doing a hike together might be the only thing you have in common. Also, in each hostel you will have to go through the same small-talk again and eventually get sick from the where-are-you-from-where-have-you-been-where-are-you-headed-next.
In the end, you have to decide for yourself how you want to travel and of course you should check what is recommended for your destination, some places are definitely better to visit with a group. But certainly, you shouldn’t miss out on visiting places you’re yearning to see just because you cannot find anyone who wants to go there with you now.
Still not fully convinced? The best way of finding out whether solo travelling is your thing, is by trying it out. Maybe extend the next trip with your friends by a few days or weeks on your own and see what experiences are waiting for you.