Travel SOS: Should I travel alone?

Some people travel alone because their only other option is to not travel at all, while others set off solo by choice. Today, we share with Louise the pros and cons of travelling alone.


Q. Louise
I’d like to go on a long trip overseas, but I’m not sure if I know anyone who’d make a good travel buddy. Should I travel alone? I’m trying to figure out whether I can actually do it on my own. Can you help me?

A. Whichever way you look at it travelling alone is scary. A new country can be difficult enough to handle with your family or best friend by your side, let alone flying solo.

By its very nature solo travel is challenging; it can also be the making of people and one of the few experiences that can change your life and set you off down a very different path. Some people travel alone because the option is to not travel at all and others set off solo by choice. So what are the pros and cons of travelling alone?


  • You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Not interested in looking at abstract items considered art? No need to just because your travelling companion is.
  • You can have as much or little downtime as you like. Unless you’re leaping out of bed at 7am to seize the day, no-one else will be dragging you from your dreams.
  • You’re more likely to meet people than when you’re travelling with a friend or family. Individuals are much less intimidating to approach.
  • You don’t have to work around someone else’s budget. My mum tells a hilarious story about travelling with a friend who was on a bread roll budget and kept helping herself to her lunches and dinners.
  • You can fly at the times that suit you on the airline that you want to and choose the transfers that work best for you. Ditto if you’re going by train/bus, etc.
  • You are more open to new experiences and culture as you walk around, eat and drink without having to focus on engaging with your travel companion.
  • In the end it’s much more likely you will have a realistic experience of what it’s like to live like a local.


  • It’s more expensive. Regardless of how you come at it, travelling with a companion or group often means shared accommodation, transport and food costs.
  • There’s no-one to help put sunscreen on your back. No-one likes ending up with awkward finger marks from where they’ve tried and failed to reach the middle of their back with the sunscreen.
  • It can be intimidating and downright unsafe at some times, particularly for women in some countries.
  • Catching cabs alone is an expensive exercise, which some solo travellers choose as a means of feeling safer – particularly at night.
  • Dining alone can be uncomfortable and some solo travellers may avoid it altogether – thus missing out on one of the main joys of travelling.
  • It can get lonely, particularly if you are in a country where you don’t speak the local language and don’t have a companion to interact with daily.
  • There’s no-one to help carry your bags, or take photos with or for you, meaning you may need to resort to a selfie stick – which is enough to put you off ever travelling alone again!

Having travelled both solo and with my family, friend(s), work colleagues and in a group, it’s safe to say a combination of both solo and non-solo trips is the best of both worlds and ensures you get the benefits of every type of travel.

What do you think when it comes to the solo travel debate? Are you all for flying solo or do you prefer a partner in crime by your side? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Solo traveller safety tips


  1. I travelled alone and when I think back it’s difficult to imagine it was me doing it. I didn’t have any safety issues but took precautions and only went out at night if I was with a group from the hostel where I was staying or when living in London had a bus stop right outside where I lived. However I think the world was a vastly different place in the 70s and that makes me feel really sad that it’s not going to be safe for my granddaughters to have those wonderful experiences. I’m not sure of the age of the person asking the original question here but if able to stay in dorms in hostels and carry a backpack it won’t be more expensive to be a solo traveller. HI hostels now don’t have age limits whereas in the 70s you had to be under 35 or 36. You will also never be lonely if staying in hostels with other like minded people. However the beds are not the most comfortable when you get to the age of backache and arthritis. I also could not carry a backpack up hills from train stations to hostels now.

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