Traveling solo questions answered – F.A.Q’s
It happens to all of us with that first foray into solo traveling…
Once the initial adrenaline wears off, your brain explodes like a popcorn frenzy with all kinds of solo travel questions you just don’t have the answers to!
It’s not just your brain either, once you tell friends and family, they start firing more questions at you. All of a sudden your excitement turns to anxiety, you start questioning your own decision; “Why did I choose this?” – “Will solo traveling be for me?” – “What will solo traveling be like?” – “Will I be lonely traveling solo?”
Don’t worry, It’s perfectly natural to have these questions, We all had them and there will be other solo travel questions that get put to you no matter how long you solo travel for.
Solo traveling since 2010
Here’s the thing, people have been solo traveling for years, yet over the years myths have been dreamt up. Ok, granted some of those myths have been burst with the up-turn in solo traveling; it seems more and more people are ‘braving’ it nowadays. However, the same questions still get thrown about.
I’ve solo traveled across 6 continents since I first packed my bags in 2010 and I still get asked the same questions by friends, family and even by other travelers I’ve met on the road.
It doesn’t matter if you’re only just thinking about it, if you’re already planning your first trip or if you’re already a solo traveler, this solo travel F.A.Q will answer any niggling questions you may have.
Your traveling solo questions answered with this comprehensive F.A.Q
Q: I’m thinking of traveling solo but I have no idea where to start?
A: Short: The internet is your friend, there is no shortage of information on the net.
A: Long: All you have to do is search for solo traveling and you will see the plethora of information available at your disposal. Everything you need to know about solo traveling is available at the touch of your fingertips from researching, planning, accommodation, transport, activities, country information, networking to meeting other solo travelers. It’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed the first time but just take a deep breath, relax and take little steps. This page lists over 100 useful travel websites and apps you can use for researching, planning and during your trip. Also if you feel like you need help how to structure your planning and researching this walkthrough will aid you.
Q I want to travel solo but I don’t want the hassle of planning a trip, are there travel companies who can organize my trip and itinerary for me?
A: Short: Yes lots of them! – Check sights likes
A: Long: You’re in luck, with solo traveling so popular nowadays there are travel companies that can cater a trip to your requirements or offer pre-planned packages. So, if you want to travel solo but not independently these companies will help and arrange everything from applying for visas, accommodation, transport, the route you take, to the activities you do. There are different levels of flexibility to arranging through companies, some will have strict itineraries, some will have a loose route. And, you can choose if you want typical backpacker tours, budget travel, be with a party crowd or a quieter crowd. With booking through companies, although you’re traveling solo you’ll be with other travelers too.
Q: I like the look of this but I don’t want to travel in groups – What else can I do?
A: Short: Look for hop-on-off tours, Or use the travel companies route as a guide.
A: Long: A good option to look into is Hop on-off buses. With this option, your route will be pre-determined for you, you chose where you want to start and finish and where you want to stop along the way. Jump off where you want, stay in your destination as long as you want as long as it’s in the agreed start and finish dates of your pass. Do bear in mind with these passes you usually have to get in touch with the bus company 24-48 prior to wanting to leave your destination so they reserve your seat. Hop on-off buses allow you the freedom to travel by yourself without having to plan your whole route.
Q: I don’t really want to use public transport, is renting or buying a vehicle an option?
A: Short: Yes, but you’ll need an international drivers license.
A: Long: Sometimes, depending on the country you’re traveling buying or renting aa a vehicle is the better option. There are certain countries around the world were buying/renting campervans, cheap cars or bikes are readily available for travelers. For example, if you are traveling through Australia/New Zealand/ USA/ Europe you can rent campervans for the duration of your trip and there are a number of companies on offer for you. You will also find travelers have bought cheap vehicles and looking to sell them on as their trips are coming to an end.
Having your own vehicle gives you even more freedom and makes your route and schedule even more your own.
Q I’ve read lots of articles saying solo travel is the best and only way to travel, why is it?
A: Short: It’s not – Some people prefer to travel solo and others prefer to travel in groups/with partners/ or with families – It’s down to personal preference.
A: Long: To travel solo is a personal preference, nobody should ever dictate to you that their way is the best way. You travel the way you feel comfortable, some people have better experiences in groups and others on their own. There are advantages to traveling solo but there are also disadvantages. Some people may claim ‘traveling solo is the only way or the best way’ but that is their personal preference. It saddens me to say but as open-minded, as you think travelers, you will come across traveling snobbery and some judgemental travelers who think their way is the best way. Nobody should ever dictate to you or tell you how you should travel, you travel the way that best suits you and your means.
Q: I’m having seconds thoughts now, why should I travel solo?
A: Short: There are lots of reasons I can give you but ultimately you will have your own reasons why you want to solo travel.
A: Long: There are a number of reasons why you might want to solo travel. It could be as simple as there is nobody to go traveling with and you just want to travel. Or, you might just want to give it a go, see what the hype is about. There could be a more deep-rooted reason, want to go on a journey of self-discovery, want to push yourself out of the comfort zone, you want to learn what you are capable of and want to see if you can do it. You might just be running away. Whatever the reason you’re choosing to solo travel for is yours.
Q: My family have concerns about traveling solo, how do I ease there mind?
A: short: The same way you eased your own mind.
A: long: The best way to ease family concerns is to show them the research and planning you’re doing, keep them in the loop, what precautions you’re taking ease their mind the same way you’re easing yours. Show them how millions of people around the world solo travel. You can give them an idea of the route you’re planning to take and when you’ll roughly be in that area. We live in the age of technology, while you’re on your trip keep in regular contact with them and let them know where you are.
Q: I’ve read a few horror stories online, how do I know this won’t happen to me.
A: Short: Preparation but you can’t predict the future.
A: Long: Traveling, all forms of it, not just solo traveling comes with some element of risk, you are stepping into the unknown and you can’t predict every single outcome but you can take some precautions. There are things you can do to minimize the risk like having a backup fund (if you can afford to), keeping in contact with family, buying travel insurance and a big one; using common sense. However there will be some things beyond your control, things will go wrong, times you might find yourself up shit creek without a paddle, it’s just part of traveling life. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself to the best of your knowledge, learn from mistakes, and ride out the bumps if they occur.
Q: What advice can you give to keep safe whilst solo traveling?
A: Short: Use your common sense and don’t act like a tourist, in turn, making yourself a target.
A:Long: The biggest piece of advice anybody can give you is not to act like a wide-eyed tourist try and blend in with the locals, try and act like you know what you’re doing even if you don’t. If you are careful and aware of your surroundings then you will be safe. Common sense goes a long way. If you are told to stay away from certain areas, then stay away from them; It’s that simple. Also, don’t flaunt your belongings or flash your cash to make it obvious you’re a tourist. Keep your important items like passports and phones close to you, I.E If you’re on local public transport keep them in your front pocket and not in your bags; bags are easy targets, your front pocket is not!
Use your common sense, if something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t. If there is a situation that you’re not comfortable with, then walk away from it. Trust is also a big reason people can get into trouble, yes there is an element of trust amongst fellow travelers but if you meet a shady character, have your wits about you, don’t be naive and trust everybody you meet. However at the risk of contradicting myself don’t be overly cautious and paranoid about everybody you meet.
Sure there are times when things happen beyond your control but a lot of times it’s down to stupidity. Since I started traveling I have only one incident of being pickpocketed but that was my own fault and I take full responsibility for it. (Pickpocket in Kuta, Bali by a 5-year-old because I was very drunk and not paying attention).
Q: Traveling solo will get lonely right?
A: Short: Yes, there will be times you feel lonely but solo travel doesn’t mean lonely travel.
A: Long: Loneliness can affect people differently, some can feel lonely because they are missing family, others because they feel left out, being in new environments, some people can feel lonely whilst being surrounded by people.
At some point lonliness will hit you, there will be times when it just sucks and you’ll want to just pack your bags and go home. There will be times when it’s hard and you feel so alone but it will pass. You’ll have times you think of friends that you made but have moved on and miss them. There will be times you arrive in a new place and have nothing in common with the people around you. A hostel may have a super clicky group which is hard to break into making you feel lonely.
There will be times you’ll find yourself walking around alone, or sitting in your dorm feeling a bit sorry for yourself. Sometimes you’ll be on an overnight journey and the loneliness will creep up on you. It’s natural for it to happen, just like it could happen to you at home.
Q: How do you deal with the loneliness when it does creep up on you?
A: Short: Reflect, relax, take the time to process things. Try and talk to people around you, don’t hide and fall into a shell.
A: Long: Like everything, that feeling will come and pass. A number of ways around it, surround yourself with people in the hostel, make an extra effort to get to know them. Or other hand use that time to reflect on your travels so far, soak in and process the things you’ve experienced, catch up with friends back home. Sometimes if your feeling really lonely and down, it’s worth just trying to talk to people around you just try not to fall into a shell and recluse yourself. There are times you just need to suck it up and let the feeling pass.
Q: How do I make friends if I’m solo traveling and on the move all the time?
A: short: There will be lots of opportunities to make friends.
A:Long: The biggest myth and misconception about solo traveling is that you’ll be traveling by yourself all the time. This is not true! The truth is you will constantly be surrounded by other travelers and sometimes you’ll pine to have some time to yourself. You will meet people from the get-go, at the airport, your accommodation, tours, and activities you do or locals you meet along the way. The beauty of solo traveling through, you can pick and choose who you want to be friends with, if you don’t like somebody you’re under no obligation to be friends.
Wherever you go there are like-minded people and fellow travelers, I’ve never met a single traveler who didn’t make friends. Hostels are the easiest places to make friends, talk to people in your dorm, share a beer (or 10) or a joint with them. This post shows you the different types of friends you’ll make during your travels – Making friends traveling solo.)
Q: What are my accommodation options for traveling solo?
A: Short: Depends on if you want to be around other travelers, locals, or on your own.
A: Long: When it comes to accommodation, there are a number of options for you. You can choose from Hostels, Air BnB, homestays, Couchsurfing, housesitting, in a campervan, camping or if you can afford to, stay in hotels. The choices really depend on what you’re looking for and if you want to be alone, around other travelers or locals. This post gives you an idea of the different accommodation options
Q: I get anxiety, and quite nervous in new surroundings, you do I cope and overcome this?
A: Short: Remember others are there for the same reason as you.
A: Long: I’ll be honest here, anxiety is something I never had to deal with until recently. I don’t know where it’s come from but it’s crept up on me. My advice is to remember you’re not alone when you arrive in a new place, or accommodation you are surrounded by people in the same boat. They are traveling as well, it’s all new for them, they don’t know anybody either. So while it may seem like a daunting task you just need to try and relax and feel comfortable enough to open up a little.
Q: I can’t even imagine eating or drinking alone in restaurants and bars, is it awkward?
A: Short: It can be, depends on yourself.
A: Long: Not a lot of people like eating or going to bars alone, to get around this simply ask others you’re staying with if they want to go and eat or drink; you’ll find in most cases they will say yes. If nobody does want to eat, go grab a takeaway or make something yourself at your accommodation. There will be some situations but they are far and few between when you will have to eat alone but just pick a nice quiet spot and enjoy your food, try not thinking about others around you. Truth is nobody really cares that you’re there eating alone.
Q: Will other travelers make fun of me traveling by myself?
A: Short: No, not at all, in-fact those traveling in groups will actually praise your courage to travel solo.
A: Long: You will find in most cases, those traveling in groups will actually praise you, wish they traveled solo or want to find out more about traveling solo from you. And, remember traveling solo is becoming quite the norm, you can walk into any country in the world and there will be hundreds of solo travelers. The funny thing is, you’re more likely to meet and make friends being a solo traveler and be more involved than if you travel in groups.
Q: Is there any sites or apps I can use to connect with other solo travelers going to the same destination as me?
A: short: Yes, lots of them.
A: Long: There are many forums, groups, and communities online. Good places to look at our Facebook groups, Twitter, Reddit, and Couchsurfing. Also, travel-specific sites are good like travellers-point, Lonely planet, and TripAdvisor forums. Some travel blogs like Nomadic Matt have even started their own communities for first-time travelers. This page lists over a 100 useful travel website and apps including more traveler groups you can join.
Q: A really important question – How do you take perfect solo traveler Instagram selfie? Do I need selfie sticks?
A: Short: I don’t know how to take the perfect photo shoot type Instagram selfie.
A: Long: – In all my years traveling I’ve never a person who is able to take the perfect selfie because I’ve never met somebody who looks glamorous in remote places, in deserts, under waterfalls or in jungles. The only time I’ve seen perfect Instagram pictures are on Instagram itself. And selfie sticks, well, in my opinion, they can go where the sun doesn’t shine if you know what I mean. Taking pictures traveling solo isn’t really a problem though, you can take selfies even if they might not be perfect. It makes me laugh when I read how people think some travelers are faking traveling solo because not all their pictures are selfies, well funny enough it’s just because there’s somebody else around and you’ve asked them to take one or 10 for you.
More questions will be answered for you
As you can see, all kinds of questions regarding solo travel can be fired at you at different stages of your journey from just thinking about it, planning on or actually out on your travels.
If you found the answers to these solo travel questions helpful, be sure to be on the lookout for the solo travel F.A.Q e-book, which will contain even more answers to more comprehensive and specific questions.
In the meantime let me know in the comments below if you have any further solo travel questions that need answering?
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