The satisfaction that comes with traveling solo often seems less compared to traveling with friends and family. However, indulging in solo travel has a great deal of perks. Despite the sting of isolation, one is never really alone. Whether it’s joining a group tour or backpacking your way through the world, there’s always an avenue to meet and interact with the awesome company of new people. This is the satisfaction of companionship among strangers in a strange world.
Solo travel is gaining momentum in the tourist industry. This trend is no longer a preserve of a few social groups. More women are embracing solo travel as is the case with retirees. It’s no longer surprising to find young people quitting their corporate jobs to travel the world alone. Many argue that solo travel is becoming a more self-care driven affair. We must admit though that it is one of the most empowering forms of travel.
Why people fear Solo travel
Traveling solo carries with it some concerns. Safety concerns are usually top on the list. Your loved ones would always think of your endeavours to travel solo as a risk. Being alone in foreign lands and cultures is not a cup of tea for many. And what if I want to use the washroom while at a cafe or airport? Who will keep an eye on my belongings while I go swimming at the beach ? Who will I talk to when I get homesick? The single’s supplement can be bummer as well. All these are some of the things that would make you give solo travel second thoughts.
Tips on Traveling Solo
However, here are a few tips on making the most out of your solo travel experience:
- Before visiting a destination, do proper research regarding the culture, the people, the amenities available and the safety of the place
- Pay attention to your surroundings as well as your belongings
- Try not to make it apparent that you are traveling alone.
- Check on maps and bearings before leaving or try to get into a cafe to recheck (avoid attracting attention that you are a lone tourist)
- Be culturally sensitive- be aware of local taboos, dress appropriately and be mindful of the conversations you have with locals
- Be careful of who to trust and not to trust. It’s okay to be open-minded but have your guard up at all times. Your instincts come in very handy.
- Leave a copy of your itinerary with someone and try keeping in touch with your family or friends.
- At all times, try blending in to avoid being singled out.
- To avoid feeling awkward when eating alone, go for counter seats or try out-door dining. You can also carry reading material with you or occasionally order take-aways.
Why Solo Travel?
Solo travel is one of the things everyone needs to give a try. In addition to it being self-empowering, here are more reasons why you should embrace solo travel:
- You focus more on the destinations since you are not distracted by the company of traveling with your favourites
- It is an avenue to meet a lot of new people and strike lifetime bonds with strangers. You also get to interact more with locals
- Your itinerary and schedules are more flexible. There’s room to make changes without having to compromise on people you would have been sharing the same itinerary with. You also get to do what you want.
- Solo travel builds your confidence. It plunges you out of your comfort zone
- There is better financial control when you are traveling alone.
- Time spent alone during solo travel helps you learn more about yourself. It is the ultimate self awareness experience.
Making the first step
Solo travel can be taken up independently or by joining a group tour. More travel agencies are designing travel packages for solo travellers. We admire these travellers who’ve taken up solo traveling:
Kenyan Photographer Mutua Matheka
Travel Blogger Wangechi Gitahi
Check out her blog here.
Travel Blogger Wachera
Visit her blog here.
Kenyan Creative and Photographer Trevor Maingi
Freya Stark once noted, “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”