Traveling with family or friends make a trip very memorable. You can share the responsibility of making reservations, planning places to visit, you always have someone to take a picture of you, among other things. However, sometimes there are setbacks that prevent our travel companions to make a trip with us; from health issues, emergencies that caused extra expenses or problems at work that make them cancel the vacations. What does most people do in these cases? They decide to cancel or postpone the trip to an unknown date. Two reasons to cancel a trip when we have no one to join us are: because those who cannot go really wish to visit the place, so we prefer to wait until we can do it together. The second reason is that many people are afraid to travel alone.
I know very few people that plan trips on their own, even when they really want to visit a place and no one can accompany them. If this happens with simpler things like going to the movies, it is far more common for this to occur with something far more complicated like a trip. Can you go to the movies alone? Or do you feel uncomfortable and always need company.
I have news for you: traveling alone can be memorable. First of all, I am not saying that it is better or worse than going with other people. In fact, I personally prefer to share a trip with someone, but I wanted to write that we should not be afraid of traveling alone because it can become an extraordinary experience. I believe disadvantages of doing so are on the top of our heads, so I list some advantages of traveling in your own according to my personal experience:
1) You decide everything related to the trip.
Every time we travel with more people, we must reach an agreement on everything related to the trip. What places each person wants to visit? At what time shall we eat? What will we eat? (There is always someone picky with that they can eat and some options become non-viable). What type of hotel to stay in? At what time will we get up in the morning? At what time shall we return? When you are alone, you decide absolutely everything. My biggest disagreement when traveling with someone is hunger-related. When I am excited I get less hungry and can eat just twice a day. But when I go with people, I must eat whenever the majority wants to and many times I eat without being that hungry. If I want to stay two hours at a local book store, it is far easier to do on an alone trip, rather than doing it with others that may not be as excited to stay in a place like that one.
2) It is unavoidable to meet new people and make friends.
I consider myself and introvert, maybe that is why I like to write. I am not very fond of talking to strangers and being social, unless I need to. Whenever I traveled on my own I have met people, without exception. It is unavoidable to ask something to locals or other people you see. Additionally, due to something in our human nature, when you see someone else visiting on their own you feel compelled to talk to them and maybe become friends, and even to continue the rest of the trip together. In my alone travel to Machu Picchu, in Peru, I made friends with whom I shared part of the day, they helped me taking pictures and pass me some tips about the local food and the place in general.
3) Locals tend to help more the lonely travelers.
I love to travel because I feel that many people (with some exceptions) bring out their kind and cooperative sides when you ask them for help while being a tourist. In more than one occasion, I have seen that people love for tourists to know their countries and are willing to help you finding a nice place or give you food recommendations. I have noticed this grows exponentially when traveling alone. Sometimes people wanted to help me without me directly asking them. In some place inside the human heart, the need to help a lonely traveler is born.
4) Pictures have a different meaning.
I am one of the ones that prefer to enjoy the moment instead of taking pictures all the time. Apart from this, I take pictures so I can share with others what I have seen, especially with my mom who is a fan of watching pictures of my travels. When I go with a group, someone takes a great picture and they send it to everyone else, so they can save it or share it in their social media. When you go in your own this does not happen, and all pictures must come from you. When I travel on my own, I am far more selective with the photographs I take, because I feel more responsible of showing the best of what I am seeing.
5) With every travel alone, the fear to do it decreases.
I am not going to lie, the first time I traveled on my own I was very nervous. I did not know what would happen, if I could do it, if I would get lost, if I would meet someone or make a friend. When that first time finished I felt satisfied and proud of myself. The second time was easier, and it improves with every experience. I felt more responsible, because if something when wrong with the plans or the reservations, there was no one else to blame. In the same way, if everything went well, it showed wonders of my planning skills. Nowadays, even when I prefer to travel with company, I am not afraid to go alone if I want or need to do it.
I hope this short article helped you, maybe if not of convincing you to travel alone, at least to realize that it is a good experience and you should not be afraid of it. You can take advantage of it and visit a place that maybe others are not interested in going. You do not need to travel a thousand miles from where you live, you can go to a nearby place by car, bus or even walk to a park or a museum. You can even take the chance to go to the movies on your own.
Never forget to take care and have all possible precautions, the safety and security topics must be taken seriously being both accompanied and alone. Have a nice trip!
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