Solo travel offers excellent flexibility and independence, allowing you to know yourself better, and explore new places your own way. However, it’s not always an amazing and magical experience. It can be difficult too.
While I love traveling solo and have made countless trips, there are times when I wish I were traveling with someone. Here are some disadvantages of solo travel that you should know before planning your trip.
Can’t try different food
While I don’t have a problem eating alone at restaurants, it’s not convenient as I can’t try many dishes.
You basically can’t sample as many dishes because you have no one to share with, so you can’t order as many.
Also, some restaurants only have servings for two, which is challenging for solo travelers. On my trip to Seoul, I had to order a few times a two-people portion, or else I can’t try that dish.
Restaurants can also be a bit of a hassle when you’re alone. Solo guest? Well, take the worst table or kindly go away. One restaurant in Rome declined me when they knew I was dining alone, even though there were still a few available tables.
There’s no one there to help or take care of you. You’ll have to drag yourself to the pharmacy or hospital for a checkup and buy food when all you want is a rest.
The matter is even worse if you have an accident. So get travel insurance before departure to cover unexpected circumstances. World Nomads is a good one especially if you’re doing adventurous things like water sports, snowboarding, etc.
No help in times of trouble
This is one of the disadvantages of traveling alone.
Occasionally, you will need help while traveling, not only when getting sick. For example, when you go to the toilet you may want someone to take care of your belongings. Or your luggage is too heavy to carry.
Traveling solo isn’t cheap. You can’t share the travel expense with someone and need to pay things at full price.
Many attractions and tours offer discounts if you’re in a group. And if you want to rent a car, you can’t share the rental and petrol costs.
Also, if you don’t want to stay in a hostel dorm, then the prices for hotel rooms would cost a large part of your budget.
Traveling alone can be a bit more expensive because you don’t have anyone to share room rates or taxi rates with.
Solo traveling can be incredibly lonely at times.
The first day or two may be okay, but there will be times when you feel lonely. Maybe you want someone around to chat while you wait for your bus to arrive, or you miss a familiar environment.
On my trip to Paris, I was a bit sad when surrounded by couples and groups, while I was just wandering the streets on my own. And, of course, the bad weather enhances that feeling.
So if you aren’t prepared and okay with being alone a lot, you may have a difficult time on your solo trip.
Can’t share the experience with someone
While traveling solo offers you the freedom to go anywhere you want and don’t have to accommodate others’ needs, it also means there’s no one else to fully understand how amazing the best moments are.
Sometimes you may wish there’s somebody there to share those beautiful places and trips with.
Waiting for things alone
I found one of the most challenging parts when I traveled solo is waiting for things—standing in line for an attraction or customs, waiting for your food to come out, or standing waiting for a plane or train.
These are the moments when I wish I had someone to chat with to pass the time. It makes you feel out of place as most people are there with someone.
It’s not very safe
Traveling alone is more dangerous than when you are traveling with friends or relatives. You could become the target of bad guys or be approached by creepy men (or women).
Also, you’ll feel more vulnerable being by yourself in a strange place.
Most of your photos would be selfies
When traveling in a group, you always have someone to take your photo (which is worth more than you may think).
While you can ask bystanders to take photos for you, you may feel uncomfortable asking favors. Also, the pictures may not turn out very well.
It’s a normal thing to feel scared when you’re about to go on a solo trip to an unknown place. The uncertainty of places and situations you’ll have to deal with on your journey is mentally exhausting.
I was scared and overwhelmed at planning this properly and keeping it achievable and within a budget.
You may feel anxious when arriving at a new place. However, remember that the feeling of anxiety and discomfort is normal and will pass.
I always feel more anxious and slightly annoyed when going from the airport to my hostel every time. It’s a combination of having weak or no internet, navigating unfamiliar transportation systems, and finding places that are sometimes not well marked.
By the end of my trip, I felt much more comfortable, but it took a long, long time to get there.
There are times you’ll feel tired on your trip.
The ever-changing environment and fleeting relationships may wear you down.
At home, you may have every familiar and convenient, so having to deal with inconvenience after inconvenience takes a toll.
It’s fun solving those problems at first, but after a while, you really don’t want to have to deal with mundane issues again.