Why I Hated Solo Travel But Will Give It A Second Chance

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Solo travel isn’t for everyone though some people love it and in fact, prefer it to traveling with others. I’ll start off by saying that there are a few things I actually loved about it; you can read all about them if you scroll to the bottom.

However, my experience has led me to decide that I hate solo travel; I’m too much of a social bug, which is weird because I’m introverted and don’t love large groups. But I do love one-on-one time or small groups that I can joke around with and chat aimlessly to. When you’re used to that kind of travel, it’s pretty difficult to adjust.

BUT.

If you’re thinking about taking a trip by yourself, DO NOT let my reasons dissuade you from trying. If you read them and you agree 100% with every single one, then perhaps it’s not for you. But if you are at all hesitant, then go! You may find you’ll love it. Even I have to admit that I’d try again if the right opportunity came along.

Why I didn’t love solo travel

No one to remember the trip with you afterwards. This is the hardest for me as I love reminiscing about my travels. We still remember trips we took years ago and will chat about them with fond memories. We’ll even joke with friends about mishaps that happened while traveling with them. It’s a fun way to treasure your friendship/relationship.

When you travel by yourself, there’s no one to share that memory with you because only you experienced it. And retelling your story to someone else isn’t quite the same. So you’re left with your memories and experiences.

No one to split driving time with. I road tripped solo in Arizona and it was really challenging to drive the entire time. I know some people love driving and can drive endlessly on a road trip but not me. I am maxed out after about three hours and then I need a break or A LOT of snacks to keep me awake. So I stocked up on food and hit the road. Surprisingly it wasn’t as horrible as I had imagined but I definitely love having someone else to take the wheel when I get drowsy.

Safety concerns. I think we’re more vulnerable in solo travel so I didn’t love having to be constantly wary of my surroundings. I also didn’t feel confident in hiking by myself. Call me crazy but I don’t love hiking alone. I find it boring and if I’m on a trail, I like to have my dog or a human with me. I decided to not hike anything too crazy while solo traveling but instead opted for some popular and tour-based hikes like Upper Antelope Canyon or Horseshoe Bend. There are so many people around that there’s no way you could feel unsafe doing them.

Related post: How to Hide Cash While Traveling

why I hated traveling alone
why I hated solo travel

No one to share a meal with. You might think it strange that I included this but I love trying different foods while traveling. Typically my husband (or my family) and I will each order something and then all split it. Kind of like family style dining. It’s a great way to taste different dishes and get a better feel for what a restaurant has to offer.

More expensive. When you travel alone, you don’t have anyone to split costs with you. If you book a hotel room, you’re stuck paying the full amount and it adds up over time, especially if you’re solo traveling for more than a week. I know some people opt to stay in hostels or private rooms on Airbnb but many people aren’t comfortable with that and so a hotel room is the best option. You’re also stuck paying entirely for a car rental and fuel. All these things do add up eventually.

I missed my guy. Cheesy, right? I’m a pretty independent soul but admittedly, I did miss him much more than what I expected. When you’re with someone every day, you grow to rely on that companionship. It was pretty difficult to chat via phone as we were both busy and sharing about my travels over the phone wasn’t that much fun. On top of that, I knew he’d love to see all the nature and landscape I was getting to see and being on this trip reminded me of the fun we’d had road tripping through Utah.

No one to take photos of you. Some people are amazing at taking photos of themselves, you would never be able to tell looking through their shots. Typically they’ll travel with a tripod, set it up and then use a remote control to snap the picture.

I’ve tried tripods and unless I’m shooting somewhere local, I find them cumbersome to drag along. And on top of that, I always feel extremely awkward in a public setting with just me and a tripod.

*All the photos in this post were taken by Andrew; I wouldn’t be able to take at least half of them as they were shot in awkward positions, tight spaces or quick street shots.

So there you have it. My crazy reasons for hating solo travel. They’re not for everyone; some people live and breathe solo travel and in fact, hate traveling with others. But we’re all different. And just because I hated these aspects of it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it again. In fact, I found it challenging and something that took me out of my comfort zone. And I enjoy those types of situations because I know they will make me grow.

Surprisingly, there were a few things I loved about traveling alone which may convince me to give it another chance. I don’t love being entirely negative on a topic so here are my favorite things about solo travel:

  • I had a lot of time to reflect – I was entirely alone with my thoughts for several days and it was a great way to reflect and not have the distractions of anyone else.
  • I managed my own time – This was one of my favorite things about solo travel. I could do everything I wanted on my own time. If I wanted to wake up early and get going, I didn’t have to wait for anyone else. If I was tired, I went to bed.
  • I didn’t have to feel bad about my schedule – I could pick exactly what I wanted to do that day without having to run it by someone else. When I wanted to hike Horseshoe Bend at sunset, I didn’t have to make sure my companions were cool with it. I just did it. It was freeing.
  • There wasn’t anyone to annoy me – For as much as I love companionship, I do still get annoyed at others. I think everyone does. When you’re alone, there’s no one to get on your nerves, except maybe your own voice 😉
Grace

A travel photographer and writer with an insatiable desire to explore the world and inspire others to see it for themselves.

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15 Comments

  1. April 19, 2019 / 7:38 pm

    I did a similar trip for my first official solo trip (I don’t count moving to Australia on my own as a solo trip since it was a move or trips on my own to visit friends). I took a road trip from Las Vegas to Northern Arizona and southern Utah (and also visited Page, Arizona!). I had similar feelings to you about the reasons you hated and loved it – I’m not dying to go on another solo road trip (if it was my last I would be okay with that). Buuut I am hoping to and excited for more travel solo more outside of the U.S. where I am not driving by myself – I’m not a big fan of physically driving long distances. If I was on a bus or train I think it could end up being more social or at least I would have the capability to read or write or sleep or do other tasks. And for some reason staying in a hostel in a foreign country feels more natural (and more common) than in the U.S., which is obviously a great way to be more social when you’re alone.

    • Grace
      Author
      April 21, 2019 / 11:21 am

      That’s so awesome; sounds like we both had similar ideas! And I agree – I think it’s completely different when you’re going out with people, being social etc. But just a long road trip by yourself is pretty difficult.

  2. April 26, 2019 / 10:57 pm

    Great post! I’ve never solo travelled but have already had such huge respect for those who do. You’ve covered just about everything that would worry me about solo travel! But love that you are willing to give it another go.

  3. April 27, 2019 / 2:36 am

    You have managed to get pretty good pics on your solo travel. I don’t like to take many pics of me. Solo travel is expensive tht is the only downside I see. It gives a lot more flexibility thats the main reason I love to go solo.. To each their own, enjoy your travels 🙂

    • Grace
      Author
      April 28, 2019 / 10:27 am

      Yes, everyone has different preferences 🙂 And also, as mentioned, these photos were taken at various points on different trips with my husband 🙂 I only wish I could get great photos without him! haha!

  4. April 27, 2019 / 4:30 am

    Travelling solo is tricky. I’ve done a fair bit of it and loved it at the time. Now, I still love the independence and the fact that I can explore at my own pace (a pretty fast pace…) but I miss the companionship. If I travel with my husband, I get to do things I might otherwise neglect but I also have to allow for his tastes… Either way, solo travel is an experience to have! Hope you enjoy it more next time!

    • Grace
      Author
      April 28, 2019 / 10:28 am

      I agree! I’m so glad I did it!

  5. April 27, 2019 / 6:18 am

    I once wrote a post about the perks of travelling with people, because I totally GET WHAT YOU’RE SAYING– doing it alone is rewarding and you don’t have to compromise and you are the queen of your time, but…it’s also harder to get photos, isolating, and the experience is so much more fun when shared with the people you love (friends, a SO, etc.). So glad you wrote this post and I found someone who relates to how I often feel.

    • Grace
      Author
      April 28, 2019 / 10:29 am

      Yes exactly! I know a lot of people love to meet new friends on trips but to me, it’s not the same as old friends and family, though I’m sure it’s fun! 🙂

  6. April 27, 2019 / 6:37 am

    I actually completely agree with you on this and don’t think I’d ever do a road trip or hiking trip solo because I’d be too worried about getting stranded or lost or injured and not have anyone to help but I love solo city trips because I can do whatever I want whenever I want without having to make compromises. Also I usually end up annoyed with anyone I travel with after a couple of days being around them constantly! I think group tours are also a great way to travel solo without worrying about the safety issues. I went on a tour by myself to the Australian outback but met so many lovely people in the group that it was hardly solo travel at all!

    • Grace
      Author
      April 28, 2019 / 10:30 am

      My aunt has done group tours and LOVED it! She tried a purely solo trip and didn’t love that as much 🙂

  7. April 27, 2019 / 7:23 am

    This is a great post! I actually relate to all the reasons for and against. Personally I enjoy solo travel, but I always end up wishing I was experiencing it with someone else! Almost everywhere I’ve visited solo, I’ve come home and said we have to go back so my partner can see it, too! Haha. But I do like being able to do whatever I like on my own time, and to be honest I always stay in hostels so I’m never really alone!

    • Grace
      Author
      April 28, 2019 / 10:30 am

      That’s what I told my husband after I came back!! 🙂

  8. April 27, 2019 / 3:33 pm

    I totally agree with everyone you said – I hate solo travel too! Well I shouldn’t say hate, but I probably won’t do it again unless it’s short trip as my husband, kids and friends love travelling. So true about no on to remember it with, and when I did it, I got lonely and bored. The things I did and saw weren’t as interested when I didn’t have someone to share them with. Great post!!

    • Grace
      Author
      April 28, 2019 / 10:26 am

      Thank you! I think it’s especially hard when you have such great travel companions 🙂

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