I’ve recently done quite a bit of solo traveling recently, and I’ve come to find a few differences between solo travel versus when you travel with someone. If you’re a little iffy or confused about what it’s like to travel solo versus with someone else, here is a few things that I’ve found during my traveling experiences:
Time management is always challenging while traveling. When you travel alone, I’ve found that it’s much less stressful to plan out your day. It’s much easier to plan your day down to the last minute, if you want, because you don’t have to rely on someone else to help keep your schedule. Wanna wake up and watch the sunrise at the beach in Hawaii? Early bird gets the worm! Wanna go on a walking tour of the French Quarter in New Orleans, LA? Go for it! Wanna stop and see a Broadway show in New York City? You can do that without having approval from someone else. It’s a very freeing experience.
If you travel with someone, you have to take into account things like if they’re a morning or night person, how long they take to get ready, if they’re a quick mover or slower paced, if they’re spontaneous in planning or more detail-oriented. It’s nice to have someone to help plan your day, but it also takes away from what you, personally, want to achieve on your trip.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely had trips with friends where choosing someplace to eat takes 20 minutes, and that drives me nuts. You have to take into account what everyone else is in the mood for, dietary restrictions, what’s available in the area, etc.
If you’re solo traveling, you can eat whenever you want, wherever you want. Want breakfast at noon? Dinner at 4pm? Post-dinner snack at 7pm? Ice cream at 10pm? (An actual meal schedule of mine while solo traveling). You can eat whenever you want, wherever you want. The most challenging part is figuring out where YOU want to eat.
P.S. Apparently I only take photos of my deserts. Oops.
When you travel with someone, you have someone who can always take photos of you and for you. It’s much easier and comfortable to ask someone you know who you’re traveling with to take your photo. That’s definitely something that I miss while solo traveling.
When you solo travel, I’ve become quite pro at using the timer on my phone in order to take photos. Or, you can ask someone else to take a photo for you. Often times people will offer to take your photo, but if not, I would advice finding a younger person in a group or family to take your photo (they typically understand how to take a good photo).
Self-timer photo in Oahu, HI VS. Someone else took it for me at Niagara Falls, NY
When you meet people as you travel, there are always certain questions you get fairly often. When you’re with someone, it’s typically questions like, “Where are you from?” “Why are you traveling?” “How long are you here?”.
When you travel solo, I’ve always gotten the question: “You’re traveling alone?!” Followed by “Why?” “You’re so young!” and “I’m to scared to travel solo” or “I’ve never traveled alone before.” I take this chance to encourage others to go on a solo trip because you learn a lot about yourself, and that it’s the 21st century and yes, young women are perfectly capable of traveling by themselves.
Adventures with my best friends in San Francisco, CA, VS. Solo in Maui, HI
People definitely treat you differently depending on who you’re traveling with and how you’re traveling. If you’re solo traveling, I’ve found that people either a) leave you entirely alone (I sometimes have a resting b*tch face though and I enjoy being alone, so that might be part of it) or b) they want to know your life story, especially on plane flights. They’ll just talk and talk and want to know all about you. It happens quite a lot with locals, other solo travelers or couples, and not so much larger groups. I don’t mind these moments because I’ve definitely gone entire days without having a conversation with another person.
If you’re with someone, other couples and groups feel more welcome to talk to you. In my experience, if I’m traveling with someone, then people are more likely to come up to you and chat. There’s also definitely a difference if you’re traveling with a man. Even today, people feel more comfortable when there’s a man around.
Travels with my closest friends and family
Of course, each of these things depends on your own personal attitude and traveling lifestyle. I am quite a quiet, shy and generous person while traveling (ie., I won’t typically strike up a conversation with a stranger, I’m okay with being alone, but I tip generously on meals and don’t mind spending a little bit more on experiences). These thoughts and experiences are entirely from my own experiences, so it may not be how you experience traveling.
If you’re still debating traveling solo or with someone, I hope that this post helped clear some things up for you.
I 100% recommend doing a solo trip at least once in your lifetime. If you’re planning your first solo trip, Hawaii is an easy place to solo travel, as is Spokane, Washington, or NYC. Solo travel teaches you a lot about yourself. You learn what life is like by yourself. You make your own decisions; do what you want, when you want, how you want; explore the deepest thoughts within your mind; get comfortable with being by yourself – completely alone. I know that it’s terrifying your first time, but I am very young female who has been solo traveling for years, and I can assure you that you will not regret traveling solo.