06 Sep Why Solo Travel is so overhyped
While many people including me will agree that solo travel is a great way of travelling, I also feel that it has become too popular over time with more people choosing to travel by themselves. But what happened in recent years which led to a rise in the culture of Solo travel in such numbers?
It would have been completely awkward a few years ago to see that photo of your friend, alone somewhere in Europe backpacking by himself. It may even have come off as lonely and sympathetic.
However, now the same image will inspire confidence, risk-taking ability and may even make him a star amongst his or her friends. Although, it may be a grey area and we may be completely oblivious to the problems which come with solo travelling and this culture.
Is Solo Travel Good?
Hell yes, it’s good. Most people who have travelled solo will say this. I will say that too. However, I am not willing to do it all the time and I feel some strong reasons for it. Travelling solo gives one a strong sense of freedom and responsibility at the same time.
To have a day to yourself in an unknown town opens up millions of possibilities. People tend to have more vivid recollections from solo travelling than in a group. You tend to talk and indulge more with strangers and locals.
Solving problems on the go, being resourceful, making impulsive plans, spending as much as you like on the things you like or just meeting other travellers at the hostels tops some of the reasons solo travel got so popular.
One of the best sensations is having a personal space and understanding who you are. With no other opinions, prejudices, conflicts or romantic discussions you are with yourself left to discover the bare insides of your brain in a comfortable rhythm.
When people return, they usually feel more confident, assertive with more perspective and even compassion.
Why Has Solo Travel Become So Popular Recently?
To be honest, it’s not just the solo travelling which has become popular recently. It is the solo lifestyle that people are taking up constantly and solo travel is just a part of it. Where people used to travel with family and friends earlier, and communities were as important as individuality is today.
My parents can never think of travelling solo unless they really have to. Communities and companionship brought people joy and they identified themselves by their surroundings.
With a change in the social fabric, we are seeing more people living alone. Families have gradually gone nuclear and now are further going singular. More and more people live in single households and dependability on society has decreased. The same lifestyle has percolated in the act of travelling.
Another catalyst in the process is social media. Believe it or not, humans tend to follow other human beings. And as few people started travelling solo and sharing the lifestyle with others, it suddenly spread like wildfire.
Solo travelling went on to become popular especially amongst female travellers and steep increase in their numbers is seen each year.
Is Solo Travel Bad?
To be honest, I am nobody to pass judgment on that. While solo travel has brought a lot of good in people’s lives, many times people don’t realize that there can be more. I can say this though; solo travel is not for everybody.
Some people like more space and some people, like me, are fond of company. I personally think life is so much better than more people in it. Solo travel can get extremely lonely sometimes. Moving continuously for days, by yourself can be overwhelming as well as exhausting.
As humans, we all crave for human support and compassion and this is something that you find missing travelling alone. While it is great talking to locals and strangers, they will eventually move on and you cannot always rely on them.
Other Than Solo Travel, What Do I Suggest?
While will I suggest, that we look beyond solo travel, the real outcome will depend upon your situation. I usually invite people to travel with me even if I am not sure how that may turn out. Usually turns out to be fun. Try planning a trip with your siblings or cousins.
Surprisingly, parents can make great companions sometimes and it is way more satisfying to see them enjoying a holiday out of their regular lives. In fact, I have even tagged along with a friend’s office colleagues and I did not know any of them. Cannot say that turned out really well, but I do have some extremely funny memories of it.
It’s not just the existing relationships you can think of planning a vacation with. You can also make new ones while at it. If you are already travelling solo, try to get to know people from the same hostels or tour groups. If you find solo travellers amongst them and you tend to like them, plan a trip together or invite them over to your hometown to show them around.
I will not suggest travelling in large groups if you are not comfortable with. But there are many tour companies which take many solo travellers for excursions, trekking, and sightseeing. It is a great idea to meet like-minded people and enjoy the activities you specifically like.
Planning to travel with a full-time job? See what we suggest
What Do You Need To Know Before Traveling With Other People
While suggestions are all okay, I do want to tell you some of the real-life situations you may come across while travelling with other people and they aren’t pretty. There is a reason why people are finding it easier to live by themselves.
1. You will have to put up with their emotional side sometimes
Let’s face it. We have become pickier in life. It is not as easy to make friends anymore and nobody wants drama over a wet bathroom towel. But, maybe we get too far in avoiding conflicts. We don’t always want to bear the brunt of a friend’s tantrums or it becomes too frustrating when your other half crunches the cereal too loudly.
But you will have to deal with some shit from time to time. It is unavoidable and these need relationship skills. Human beings are emotional and being around someone is never pretty 24-7. Remember that you will also be a pain to the other person sometimes. Make this clear at first, forgive each other for being angry and don’t ruin your trip over silly arguments, if any.
2. You cannot always do what you want
That’s sucks. But you cannot always do what you want if you are travelling with people. If you all are making plans together, understand what the other person likes to do and assert what is important to you. Then make plans keeping both in mind.
It may sound like a damper at first but it could also be a blessing. You may just end up enjoying an activity you never thought you would try if it hadn’t been the other person. If there is something which you really want to do, talk about doing things separately of your own choice for a day.
Get to know their food habits and tell them what do you prefer as well. Be clear if you want to share or split.
3. You will have to share responsibilities
I think it will be a relief from travelling solo. Although, if you dislike responsibilities, you may have to brace yourself. It may depend upon the requirements of the other person too. You may have to be the one to get up early in the morning to use the bathroom first while the other person packs the luggage.
You may have to buy some groceries for everyone while other people prepare a meal. It may not always be something that you like to do or you are good at which is easier to choose while travelling alone.
4. You may have to pay more than your share
A lot of times people don’t want to travel with someone because the other person is either not comfortable with the amount you would like to spend on a trip or may not even be able to afford to go on a vacation. It is just easier to not support someone else and go by yourself.
How will you feel about sponsoring someone’s trip? How about lending money for the time, if they are not earning to travel with you like your siblings, parents, your kids or your partner? They may do it for you, or they would have already done that for you.
If you think they are worth it, do it without expecting it back. But definitely don’t do it if you will resent it. Even if not sponsoring the whole trip, be ready to be okay with the fact that you sometimes may have to pay a little more than your share.
5. You will have to plan things a little more than usual
You cannot expect to travel out of your rucksack and sleep on hostel beds if you are travelling with your family. One can do that alone. Nor can you always bang on the idea of finding a place once you reach a town.
Although it totally depends on your company, it is always better to be more organized and plan ahead when travelling with someone or many people. Book your hotels ahead, check the opening dates and timings of the attractions you want to see and do your research online.
Not planning and messing up your trips may lead to arguments, annoyance or even desperation which isn’t a great idea.
What Will You Get By Traveling With Other People?
Now that we talked so much about what are the cons of travelling with a company, let’s also see the positive side of it. After all, that is the purpose of this article.
1. Make emotional bonds with others
The bonds made while travelling last a lifetime. You will not only remember the place, but also the person and the emotions that you both felt while seeing something extraordinary. It will also show the other person’s vulnerable side in stress, scared, tiredness or elation.
Since you will have so much time with each other, you will tend to talk about your latest and old experiences and what they think of them. How things have changed and how are their relationships with their loved ones, their future plans, and their past grievances.
2. Split the bill
If you are travelling with something on separate budgets it is such a sweet deal to split the bill. That will now enable you to rent a hotel or an Airbnb with a private bathroom at the same cost.
Places, where you will have to hail a taxi, will feel light on the pocket and if one of you drives, that may bring the cost down considerably. It also feels great to have more emergency funds combined in the bank than of your own.
3. Share responsibilities
Now here comes the good part of sharing responsibility. You can now take a nap by turn in the train or the bus to be able to watch over the luggage or use the bathroom. You are not the only one making decisions, which is a relief sometimes.
It is also great to have someone to rely on, in case any of you get sick or in any case of misfortune like getting lost or stolen money, cards or baggage.
4. It is easy to get clicked
This is a serious challenge with solo travelling. Who is taking photos of you? Or will it just be selfies? To have a companion to take great pictures of you is a great feeling. Remember the stranger who took you a photo where only your forehead is visible?
Well, you can get a perfect picture with a partner though; they may need some training beforehand.
5. Get perspective with the someone’s else’s interests
Don’t get stuck up with things which you wanted to do. It is important to be open to what the other person likes and if it doesn’t hurt too much join in. You never know, you may end up tasting a new kind of food, enjoying an activity you never thought you would, meeting more people or having a blast at it.
After all, you set out to explore while travelling and two or more people’s circle of interest or recommendation will definitely top one.
Tips On Traveling With Other People
If you have decided to go with someone, after all, keep a few things in mind to have an enjoyable time.
Don’t get stuck up on emotions and your ego. If your friend is not talking to you for some reason, it may have happened that she gets hurt by something you said and is not able to express it. Talk to them about it after a big long hug and resolve it immediately.
If some of your friends were out whole night partying with a bunch of guys and you felt left out, don’t get sour over it just yet and leave off on your own. There may be more to the story and it may have led to the event. Get to know it.
Refrain from getting hungry and tired at the same time. If you are going to get hungry sometime soon, stop somewhere early and have food. Keep some snacks and water with you at all times. Snapping at other people when HANGRY (Hungry + Angry) is a very common reason for fighting. You will feel guilty afterwards.
Be respectful of the other person. If you are angry don’t start shouting or blaming them for things. Tell them decently that you don’t mean to be mean but there is something that is bothering you. The other person will definitely try to resolve it for you since they are on a trip with you because they like you.
Understand the other person’s budget and travelling style and express your own. Also, know each other’s energy levels and how far can they walk to travel in a day. Communicate what you are comfortable doing, what you are flexible about (be more of that) and what is it that you extremely dislike.
Be okay with doing different things on a few days, but talk about it beforehand and don’t catch them off guard where you want to do something impulsively and they did not plan ahead for the time.
Lastly, focus on having fun. It may get tiring sometimes where you would like to fit in a lot of activities in a day. FOMO overtakes your mind. But, remind yourself constantly that you are on a vacation to enjoy after all. It is important to have a good time first.