It has been long time ago since I discovered the advantages of traveling alone. I was planning a trip to Portugal with one of my friends since I was 19. This trip never happened together, due to her lack of time or money.
|I couldn't wait to visit Portugal! Amazing views from Luis I Bridge, Porto side to Vilanova de Gaia.|
One day, after my Erasmus time was over, I decided I couldn't wait for anyone any longer and I went on my own to Portugal. I found a super cheap ticket in the low cost company I will be working a few months later, but I didn't know that before. I was just happy to found a cheap return ticket Madrid- Porto for 20€ only. (Back in the time, 2007 low cost companies weren't that develop or popular yet and people still very scared of them, as if the aircraft will fall down straigh away.)
I went 3 days to Porto, in Portugal. Grab a map from the Tourist Office and went to the Youth Hostel (I haven't discovered Couchsurfing or Hospitality club yet). I realized, that being alone, I had more time and I visited all the places quicker than ever! Seated on the bus, I realized too, that if I pay attention, I do understand Portuguese! It's very easy to pick with open ears for Spanish people...I would never do this if I would be chatting about something with my friends...
From that moment, I never traveled with anyone anymore. I always head to my trips alone, however some friends are always welcome to join me on the roads!
- You plan your schedule only considering your time off, not everyone else schedule.
- You choose what you want to have for lunch or dinner.
"Hmmm, this daily menu in Tarbenix looks fine for me"
- You make your own itinerary.
- You are responsible from your own mistakes or good decisions.
- Locals are more likely to interact with you, if you are alone.
- Local will also appreciate you more if you are in your own and concentrating in learning as much as you can about the local culture and ways of life.
|I though I did something wrong but no! These Chinese policemen wanted to invite me to try Chinese Hot Pot with them!|
- Local will even take photos of you, if you are alone.
|The local guide who took me around one island jungle in Malaysia and even took amazing photos of me!|
- If you are doing couchsurfing, homestay or hitchhiking, hosts or driver are more likely to pick up a single person than a bigger group.
|The lovely Kyrgyz family that hosted me in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan.|
- A bed in the dormitory is the cheapest option always, unless you are sharing room with 3+ people (But can you imagine to travel with such a huge party? OMG!)
- You will notice misspelling and funny mistakes everywhere. You will be basically paying more attention to the little details.
|Anyone can find the mistake?|
- You will make friends EVERYWHERE (this is guarantee. Honestly, unless you are very shy or antisocial)
|Japanese scholar girls in Kyoto came to me to improve their English. They even make origami for me!|
However, there are some disadvantages too:
- Noone to take a photo of you, especially if you are off the beaten path in wonderful place and you want a new facebook profile picture.
|Foto in Castello do Queijo, Porto thanks to a wall.|
|The same wall improved in the second picture.|
|Trying to use a stone as photographer.|
- Accommodation is cheaper if you share between two or more you have more privacy and sometimes safety.
- You can sleep peacefully in the train or bus thinking that your travel mate is keeping an eye in your belongings.
- You can travel lighter of baggage if you share toiletries, travel guides, underwears...
- You can chat about that hot guy you just meet in your native language (believing that noone will understand you there in most of the cases)
- You are safer (well, not necessary)
In brief, I decided that traveling alone suits more to my personality and lifestyle. I am too much independent and I cannot be bother to wait for someone else. The advantages of traveling in company are not strong enough to say goodbye to my freedom as a traveling.
As I was telling to one of my friend a few days ago:
"Once you start traveling solo, there is no way back. Your life and your travel will be totally different"
Do you agree with my statement? I want you to share your concerns. Am I forgetting something important in any of the points? How do you behave as a traveler or how will you like to behave?