about us

Travelling Solo: The Art of Being Alone

Since I was a teenager, I am suffering from wanderlust. Sometimes more, sometimes less but always at least a bit. The teenage-me spent hours dreaming about being somewhere as an au-pair, that was the furthest I could think, I have never heard of gap years and travelling for more than 2 or 3 consecutive weeks was beyond my imagination anyway. It was not a thing, as far out of reach as the moon. Basically, in those dark pre-internet years everything that was not reachable by car within a couple of hours could have been as well in Australia.

So far my back ground. The world was big and I was small and only had my student card for public transportation that would bring me just as far as Düsseldorf.

One day, a friend asked me the crazy question, if I want to travel to New York with him. I was 21 and so far it was – as said – just not a thing. I basically almost never travelled without my parents and ffs not to the US! the U.S of A., into TV-Land!

Lighthearted as I am, I said without giving it much thought: yes!

We stayed in a hostel and suddenly a whole new world opened up to me; we met so many people on a solo journey that it was almost a revelation to me. I did not even consider this possibility before and seeing first hand that they all seemed completely fine encouraged me and broadened up my horizon immensely.

People who are used to travel and who are bad ass will say, oh easy peasy no biggie… but actually, it’s a fucking big deal to be on your own on a trip for the first time, relying only on yourself and most of all: being only with you! You know more than anyone else how annoying that can be!

Selfies were not a thing when I visited Dublin some years ago

I never had the chance to travel alone long term but I am a pro in City-Trips. I solo-travelled the hell out of Dublin, Brussels, London and Istanbul and by now, I just don’t see any reason anymore why I wouldn’t go somewhere just due to lack of company. If you wanna go somewhere, go! You are not depending on others, it’s your life, your memories, your experience! In 30 years you probably will remember that you’ve visited that city but you will most likely have forgotten who you have been with anyway, no offence homme a la poussette.

places I have visited alone

Advantages of traveling alone

While it can be nice to explore a city with a travel buddy, a solo trip has some unbeatable advantages. The most obvious is the freedom to do what every you like; no consideration, no compromise and no discussion, you can be on the ultimate ego trip and noone will hate you for it.

Alone time can be nice, to be independent and to let your thoughts go wild without anyone around who can interrupt them – perfect to sort some things out and to take a break from your life.

Travelling alone means as well taking a big step out of your comfort zone and you’ll be amazed of the confidence boost that comes with it; you managed to visit a city alone, so why you need someone to take that Yoga Class/ see that movie with? #biggirlpantiesareON

There is NOONE around that knows you, you can do whatever crazy shit you wanna do, what happened in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

Accommodation

Stay in a hostel. Even if you are not the type of traveller who would stay in a 12 bed mixed dorm with a shared bathroom, most hostels offer more private options. The selling point of a hostel is not only to sleep cheap (you don’t when choosing a single room anyway) but to meet people: you share the common area, the kitchen, the courtyard, whatever your hostel has, but you can meet people easily, have a little chat while cooking or watch a TV show together. Even if you are not in for company, hostels are full of people on solo adventures and noone will have second thoughts or judge you.

Food

Eating dinner alone in a restaurant can be cool when you happen to have your big girl pants on already – the ones that allow you to go to yoga without a friend – but it can turn out as well as very intimidating and super scary. Sure, you always have the Starbucks/McDo option as a last resort to prevent your from starving, but .. well, you know, health and stuff. Hostels are having another advantage here:  you can bail out of it by just grabbing something from the Supermarket and preparing it in your hostel kitchen and connect with people over dinner.

Sightseeing

Check all your itineraries and must-do’s beforehand, fill up your agenda to the max. This relieves you from the pre-trip worry of “what if I get bored”? You won’t, you have plan a-z and if you meet cool people, you still can change everything you’ve planned and go clubbing all night long. Cause you are in the driver’s seat, you can do what YOU want. And just to be on the safe side: check the internet beforehand of places to avoid.

General Tips

Take music and a book as anchors. Strolling through unknown streets and areas is always more fun with a soundtrack and a book can help you overcome all awkward feelings when taking a drink on your own, at least it is always good to have a plan B in form of a paperback.

Don’t let your solo trip be compromised by sudden irrational doubts; you want to see that exhibition but you’re not sure where the queue starts and whether it’s free or not, and anyway, everyone looks hostile and actually.. you don’t care that much about the artist after all? Go anyway! Don’t let you scare yourself off but accept the challenge, you will get out of it proud and confident.

Don’t overthink it. It’s just a few days.

What about you? Did you ever travel alone and want to share some tips and your experience? Leave a comment below 🙂

p class=”p4″>families are sharing their best travel stories and experiences

26 Comments

  • Noemi

    I have only ever travelled alone once, within Italy, to go see concerts. It lasted a whole summer (with breaks in between).

    I have always been jealous of people that can just up and go wherever on their own, I find it sooooo intimidating!

    • fouronaworldtrip

      I totally feel you! I became comfortable travelling alone to (european) cities but there are so many people that are travelling around the world all by themselves, I am deeply impressed by them for having the guts!

  • fionarabbit2013

    I love travelling alone and can really identify with what you’ve written. To me it feels like I can do whatever I want and be whatever kind of person I wanna be whenever I travel along. That sense of freedom is the best feeling 🙂

    • fouronaworldtrip

      thank you for sharing your experience 🙂 Thats indeed a major aspect “be whatever kind of person I wanna be” .. no-one would notice but you, it’s like trying out other sides of yourself in public ! 😀

  • Emma Lomas

    I always think travelling alone is the way to go! Unless you have a partner or kids. You meet so many new people, as most likely they will be solo too. You can choose your pace of travelling, go where you want to go and you’re so much more flexible when solo! Great article!

  • scottbalaam

    Thanks for sharing your experience – my first solo trip was as a 21-year old when I headed to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. I was away for a year and it was the best thing that I’ve ever done!

share your thoughts