What It’s Really Like To Travel Overseas Solo 

I didn’t really go anywhere alone until my 21st birthday when I decided it was time to plunge myself into the deep-end and traverse around America un-chaperoned. I now consider traveling alone a rite of passage, a bucket list must and the best thing I ever did. A lot of people will try to talk you out of doing it, most likely mum and dad, but if you don’t go blindly into the experience you’ll be just fine I swear. Sure it’s scary as hell at first, yet completely life changing and a good confidence booster. Here is what you should know to ease all that pre-travel angst.

You will get lonely…

You’ll meet fellow travelers along the way in hostels, you’ll hang with them for a few days and then they’ll be gone quicker than you can say BYEEEEE. Then there will be nights and days when there isn’t a sole to hang out with and you’ll get really bored of being alone and perhaps find yourself crying in your bunk bed (not about the possibility of bed bugs – which in hindsight is what you should be teary about!).  I like to remember those nights as character building and ultimately learning how to be your own best friend – no doubt a great tool for later in life when I’ve found myself single again.

You’ll feel totally empowered by the end of the trip…

When you’re flying solo, you’ll encounter problems that you’ll have to navigate and solve on your own. Like when you miss the last bus to the next city that you had to be in to get that boat in the morning to that island. All in all, it forces you to become a problem solver, aka a bona fide hustler – and not a lot of other life experiences can teach you that.

You can do whatever you want…

The beauty of traveling without your mates is that only you can dictate your itinerary. You can wake up whenever you like, eat wherever you like, shop wherever you like…the list goes on. And this is probably the truly underrated part of traveling solo – doing what you like when you like.

It’s actually safe…

Learning how to handle yourself overseas is paramount because only you have your back when you’re all those miles away. Mum and dad are great to hit up when the funds are running low, but there’s only yourself to rely on to remember to watch your bags, conceal your belongings, watch your drink when you’re out etc. But don’t fret, you’ll find most popular destinations are quite safe, but if you are going somewhere a little off the grid, it’s wise to do as much research as you can to know whether it’s generally safe. This site can help you out.

You’ll make bad purchases…

Bad souvenir buys are inevitable when you’re alone, because hey who the hell is going to tell you that you’ll regret it later? Yep, no one. You’ll wind up with a bunch of crap (me scuse’) from the flea market in Mexico (mainly worry dolls and magnets), at the cheap chain stores in New York (printed dresses that don’t fit well) and no doubt you’ll bring home some weird ass tasting alcohol from the Greek Islands (that tasted like heaven that one night at the bar but now resembles cheap poison). But hey it’s all part of the fun!

So go on, pick a destination, do your research and book that ticket! You’ll have the time of your life and make memories of a lifetime!


Words by Jennifer Aitken 


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