The decision to travel alone is not easy to take, especially when it is the first time. After having done so, we even prefer to travel alone than in a group. And by that we don’t mean, so we can find ourselves, become more self-conscious, strengthen our character, etc. (even if these positive side effects are absolutely true).
We prefer to travel alone, because we still never feel lonely and even have a better time. We want to pass on our experience and take the fear of leaving for your next trip alone. No matter whether open-minded or not, these points really affect everyone.
1. It’s true: You will get to know new people anywhere when travelling
The greatest concern of a solo trip is the fear of feeling lonely. This fear is absolutely unjustified. Especially in the backpacker hotspots in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, South America, Europe and North America (actually all over the world), you will meet other backpackers on every corner.
If you are going to Australia in 2017, we invite you to participate in our Christmas special.
2. Other Backpackers are also Looking to Meet new People and many Travel Alone
There are so many people who travel alone. You’re most certainly not the only one. These days even many girls travel by themselves through South America.
With solo travelers, it is naturally easier to get in touch, but actually all backpackers are very open and communicative. Solo travelers are always happy to be approached by others. If you are looking to meet people, this is an easy way to get to know people.
3. In Hostels, you Automatically Meet People
If you are traveling alone, we recommend to book a hostel which has high ratings in terms of “atmosphere”.
There is no easier place to meet new people than in hostels. You basically meet other backpackers already during check-in – at the very least in your hostel room. You greet other guests, introduce yourself and you are already involved in a conversation – easy as that.
Anyone who has been traveling a bit longer knows these questions: What is your name? Where are you from? When did you get here? Since when are you travelling? Where are you going next? Have you already been to …? On a long journey this goes even so far that you can not hear the same questions over and over again. Then you are happy if you can spend some time for yourself.
Tip: If you are traveling alone, we recommend to book a hostel which has high ratings in terms of “atmosphere”. It also shouldn’t be too big. The larger a hostel is, the more difficult it is usually to get to know other backpackers, since usually everything is much more anonymous (there are, of course, exceptions).
4. Stay for Yourself Whenever you Want
For months or even years to travel is sometimes very intense. You will always be surrounded by people also a solo backpacker. Without a doubt you sometimes have moments when you want to be alone for yourself. As a solo backpacker you can also spend time only with yourself.
This does not mean that you have to totally cut yourself off from everyone else. In these situations, it is enough to explore the place alone during the day, to look forward to the hostel party in the evening. We usually just go to a park, a café, to the cinema, visit a tourist attraction, or stroll through the city. After that you are ready again for new people.
5. No Compromises – your Trip, your Rules
IF YOU ARE on the road by yourself, YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR PLANS SPONTANEOUSLY WITHOUT COORDINATING THROUGH SEVERAL PEOPLE.
This point does not mean that we think compromises are bad – not at all. But if you spend every single day and night with another person, you will inevitably have to make compromises.
Depending on how big these compromises are, this can work very well for a shorter period of time. For several months, however, this is incredibly exhausting, as practically no one is really fully satisfied, since you are constantly compromising.
6. Little Things over a long Time become a Problem in a Group
If you find yourself in such a situation, speak openly about it over a bottle of wine or beer.
If you make constantly compromises and no one is really free, you will initially start to notice the negative characteristics of the travel partner more often. Little things, which did not play any part at first, suddenly become more and more important.
This goes so far that you start to hate everything about that person – the way he dresses, the hairstyle, the way he says something (actually absolute nullities). If you have never been in such a situation, you probably will hardly understand and believe we exaggerate. From our own experience, however, we can say that these are extreme situations.
Tip: If you find yourself in such a situation, we advise you to speak openly about it over a bottle of wine or beer. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes. Often it is the best solution to continue the trip separately. You will meet again during the trip and then understand each other again. But spending 24/7 can also just go wrong.
7. If you are Traveling alone, you can not Fight with your Friends
We have met every now and then in Australia, but since we are back home, we have no more contact.
If you are fighting with your travel mate, this can have long-term consequences. Many believe that a trip with the best friend can nnever go wrong. We do not want to advise against it, but one should think very carefully! It is for a reason that relationships are best tested on a trip.
A Travelgod from our team, who has traveled through Australia with his best friend, tells of his own experience:
We studied together and always got along with each other very well. After spending literally every day and night in Australia together, I quickly realized that we were not so harmonious in this situation. However, I still wanted to go through the working holiday year as planned. But somehow we just had to compromise and no one had the feeling to really do what you wanted.
We hardly talked during the day and at night we only wanted to sleep in the car – just not to have to talk to each other. After three months I ended the trip and I flew practically overnight to the other side of the continent. We have met every now and then in Australia, but since we are back home, we have no more contact. This is probably not going to change.
We therefore strongly recommend to consider with whom to go on a backpacking trip. The best friend or best friend is not necessarily the best choice. Even if you look less compatible at first, this can be a good option if you respect each other and don’t have to be together 24/7.
8. Spend your Money on what You want
If you are traveling in a group, we recommend to start a team wallet.
Money can become a problem when traveling in the group. Every one has different preferences on what to do during the trip, e.g. activities or small things, such as where to eat or whether to buy cheap goon or a good bottle of beer. This can lead to a problem if you are traveling together for a longer time and the differences are quite large.
Tip: If you are traveling in a group, we recommend to start a team wallet. Everyone from the group pays in the same amount of money, with which spendings are made for the whole travel group. Everyone can pay in again when needed, without having to make notes, who paid for what and when and without discussions about it.
9. Solo-travelers are automatically more open-minded
If I had traveled alone, I would certainly have met these people, which could have easily ended up in a spontaneous party on the parking lot.
Anyone traveling alone can confirm this. As a solo traveler, you automatically have a greater interest in getting to know other people. If you are on the road with more people, it is not so important for you to meet new people.
A Travelgod tells from a personal experience:
When I drove through Australia with two friends on a backpacking tour, we saw on a parking lot backpackers from our very own hometown just a few cars away. After a long time in hostels and since we were not alone on the road, we did not talk to them!
What still seems to me totally absurd (and somewhat antisocial) was not even worth a thought back then. We just didn’t necessarily need to make new friendships. Today I think that this would have been a really nice encounter. If I had traveled alone, I would certainly have approached these people, which could have easily ended up in a spontaneous party on the parking lot.
10. Other Backpackers are much more Open-Minded towards Solo-Travelers
I threw my stuff into the room and had one of the best nights on this trip – absolutely spontaneous and with absolute strangers.
Not only are you more open-minded as a solo traveler, but other backpackers are also automatically more talkative to people who travel by themselves. Who would you rather talk to? A person traveling alone, or a travel group that is already entertained by itself?
Solo travelers are way more approached and asked if you want to eat something, to go to a party or explore the city. In case of a travel group, people tend to wait for the group to start the conversation, since you are never quite sure, whether they want to be approached or not.
A Travelgott tells of a trip in South America:
I only arrived at the hostel at 11pm. The next day I had to leave already and wanted to explore the nightlife of the city. I was already a bit worried, whether there is still people in the hostel this late to go out with.
After checking in on the way to my room, people ready to go out came towards and immediately asked if I wanted to join them. I threw my stuff into the room and had one of the best nights on this trip – absolutely spontaneous and with absolute strangers. As it turned out I had even shared with one of this group a hostel room in Rio de Janeiro – but somehow we have always missed each other.
11. Always works as an Ice Breaker: What is the Wifi Password?
If you’re still having trouble finding people in hostels, you can just ask another backpacker what the Wi-Fi password is to start a conversation. No traveller will be surprised about such a question in a hostel.
We often ask this question in hostels, to open a conversation – even after spending hours totally encapsulated on the Internet. People often stare at us confused, but as an ice-breaker, this question always works like a charm!
A Travelgod from a Hostel in Los Angeles:
I sat at a table in the common areas of a hostel next to a really nice girl. I really wanted to talk to her, but I had to do some work. After 3 hours at the computer I was finished with it and all of a sudden asked her: “Sorry, what is the Wi-Fi password?” She looked at me with her mouth open and thought I was crazy. But it worked: We spent the following days together!
Do you have another reason you shouldn’t be afraid to travel alone? Write us your experience in the comments! We would like to complete this list.