Before we get into the topic at hand, I’d like to mention that I was invited along to write for the Brig Newspaper and made an article about encouraging solo travel. However, it can be a challenging experience and it certainly isn’t for everyone.
1. Having to PLAN Everything
Of course, when you are travelling on your own, it means that you have to organise everything yourself. In other words, you have to book flights and accommodation bookings and think about what you want to do. While organising stuff on Booking.com is very straightforward, manually booking flights can be quite stressful.
2. It’s Much More Dangerous
It can be quite intimidating to be in a country and you’re not accustomed to how things are done there. Coming from Scotland, a place where crime is virtually unknown, it felt foreign to go out and have my wits about me. If you’re on your own, criminals are much more likely to prey on you than if you were in a group. Especially at night, I have felt discouraged to go out and explore places when it got dark as it could have been risky.
3. Language Barriers
A frustrating part of travelling to certain countries alone is that if you lack the knowledge of the local language, it will be much more challenging. Thankfully, I am fluent in Spanish and Portuguese which it easier to travel to Latin America, a region of the world in which English speakers are more scarce. However, travelling in other places where English was not widely spoken was rather frustrating.
Even though I have downloaded movies, Spotify and Audible to entertain myself during dull journeys on busses or planes, it can get rather tedious. When you’re on your own, you won’t have your friends to sit next to you on the bus for them to tell you silly jokes to make you laugh. Listening to the same 10 downloaded songs, sitting on bus journeys which feel like forever can get really mundane.
5. Staying in Hostels isn’t Always fun
To people who have hardly or never stayed in hostels, they sound like rather grim and uncomfortable places. However, that is far from the truth, I have stayed in more than 30 hostels over the last three years and for the most part they have been positive experiences. However, some of them have been deeply uncomfortable, when I was in Medellín, I slept on the top bunk next to a window where I could hear music blasting constantly.
Experiences like that are just pars for the course when it comes to backpacking solo, not only that, but having to share a room with sometimes even more than 5 people can be deeply awkward. When I was in Bogotá, a guy in my room was acting really bizarrely, acting like he was talking to himself and was playing punk music on his phone in the middle of the night.