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Traveling Solo, Tips and Tales (Part 2 of 3): Worst Things May 20, 2009

Posted by Onely in single and happy, Singles Resource, solo travel.
Tags: , , , , ,

So, although I am genuinely glad to have explored the UK by myself, I must admit that traveling solo internationally definitely presented a few challenges that would have been easier to overcome if I hadn’t been alone. So, never being one afraid to admit that shit really does stink, I present to you Part Two of Three of my solo traveling series:

Lisa’s Worst Things about Traveling Alone:

  1. As my story of the stolen wallet attests, sometimes it really would be nice to have someone nearby to hang on to your bulky bag while you go to the bathroom. Or, when you realize it’s too late and the wallet really is gone, it would be nice to have someone who can help you deal and think calmly about all those next steps that you now need to take.
  2. Sometimes, when you’ve just been to a really amazing place or have just seen an excellent performance (like when I saw the new musical Spring Awakening from a stage-side seat for only 10 pounds in London!), it would be nice to have someone with whom to celebrate immediately afterwards. But on the flip side, I often enjoyed having the experience all for myself!
  3. There really is a strength in numbers — and if you find yourself in a strange location or accidentally drawn into a tourist trap, it can be difficult to escape without appearing rude or obvious about your discomfort. In Liverpool, for example, I stumbled into an old church that I thought was open but really was not — instead, a man who was working on a door let me into the building and followed me around telling me about what they were doing with the place currently. I wanted to make a quick exit, but could not because I was the only person around! If I had felt spooked by the place or the man (which I did not), the situation would have felt even more uncomfortable.
  4. When I was truly alone, I felt the need to be constantly aware and awake — and after a while, this became exhausting. It would have been nice taking shifts with someone else, especially at times when I needed to sleep, such as the overnight bus trip I took from Liverpool to London. The bus was crowded, I was exhausted, and I couldn’t sleep deeply or comfortably because I needed to watch my stuff. This didn’t help anything, because the next morning I was so tired that I flaked and left my wallet on a bathroom sink…!

Readers, what else kind of sucks about being alone on trips (international or local)? Be honest: we all know that there’s no way to guarantee a perfect traveling experience, and going solo presents its own set of problems.

— L

(p.s. Part Three is coming soon: my list of practical tips for taking a solo international trip)


1. bobby - May 20, 2009

Actually, I think the wanting to share a great experience with someone would be a real biggy. I’m lucky in that I always have had friends when I traveled (I made them online before I traveled) 🙂

2. Lauri - May 21, 2009

Here’s one- photos. My mother is always complaining that I’m never *in* any of my travel photos…well yeah…

onely - May 21, 2009

Haha — it took me a few days of traveling alone before I started getting comfortable asking people to take photos of me in front of interesting things! But I did it, just so I wouldn’t get in trouble w/my friends 🙂

3. Singlutionary - May 23, 2009

Yes! I am always taking photos of myself in front of things. I was looking through photo albums the other day and realized that in my early 20s people took photos of me and after 25 all the photos of me were taken by myself. My mom makes fun of me for it but most of the time I am alone (there is nobody around to ask) and I want a picture.

I am always constantly awake and aware on trips even with other people. Sometimes being with other folks annoys me more because they are being too loud or something and I can’t focus on what is going on. But I also think that I need to expand my circle of friends somehow to include people who would make more compatible travel companions.

This is a great post Lisa! I love that you’re doing this because it makes solo travel seem so much less intimidating.

4. Special K - May 24, 2009

I like traveling with others because it builds a “shared history” and has the potential to bond people together…I am the best version of me when I travel…but I also have done weekends by myself recently, and am becoming more sociable and surprisingly “aware” as well…

I am adventurous and have even thought of arranging a group of strangers to travel together before….others think that’s “dangerous…”


5. Onelers devenons comme fous: Lisa fait Paris (avec la maman!) « Onely: Single and Happy - January 13, 2010

[…] I AM the luckiest daughter in the world! I traveled alone to the UK in May (see my posts here, here, and here on the experience) and have now begun exploring Europe (it’s not just my […]

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