Common questions about traveling alone
I often get questions involving solo traveling. Do I ever feel afraid, do I ever get lonely, how and where do I meet new people etc.
There are many advice and tips on this topic if you google it, so I thought I would share my personal experiences – with complete honesty to give you an idea of what it might actually be like for a real person by answering the most common questions about traveling alone that I get.
Do you ever feel afraid?
Honestly, I have never felt like I was in danger. Even when I got punched in the face by a teenage girl high on drugs, I didn’t feel afraid(I was mostly confused and a little amused about the absurd situation).
Also, I don’t really put myself in situations that could be dangerous, with a few exceptions when I’ve been too trusting – even though I turned out to be right and the people were genuinely nice.
What do you do to keep safe?
I think it helps me to feel safe because I trained karate for 3 years when I was younger, so I know how to kick and hit hard. If you feel very unsafe, it’s a good idea to do a self defense course as this is good to know no matter if you’re in your hometown or traveling.
Avoiding areas and times of the day where people are drunk, as alcohol often are involved when people do bad things, also helps to stay away from potentially bad situations.
When I travel, I usually get up super early to get to see the places I’m at before all the other travelers wake up, and thieves are not known to rob people at 6-7 in the morning. Guess they like to sleep in and get a better chance to steal stuff when there are more people around to target.
Do you ever feel lonely?
Absolutely! I have felt painfully alone at times when traveling alone. I’m not gonna sugar coat it.
Even though it gets better in time, I still have moments when I feel extremely lonely. I used to have that feeling often, but spending so much time alone as I have I’ve learned to love my own company – my brain is awesome. It’s smart, quick and can be terribly funny.
Obviously I like traveling alone – since I do it all the time.
Don’t let the fear that you might feel lonely stop you from experiencing amazing stuff.
Where and how do you get to know new people?
For me, it’s been easiest to get to know people when I’ve couchsurfed at their place, meeting people on tours or at the hostel I’m staying at.
In some cases when I haven’t connected with anyone and I feel like talking to people, I look on the city’s page on couchsurfing to see if there are any meetups during my stay or anyone asking for people to meet. Or I go to a bar and see if I meet any nice people there. It has at times been extremely hard for me to walk up to strangers and start talking, but that has gotten easier with every time I’ve done it. It’s very rare for the people you walk up to not to be welcoming and friendly, and if they are – it’s not worth the trouble and you just try with some other people.
You don’t always need to go in with the idea to make friends for life. Sometimes you spend a couple of hours with nice people, and you never see them again but the time spent was still worth it.
Is it safe to travel alone as a girl?
Yes, yes and yes. The biggest threat to women throughout history are men, and men are everywhere. There’s no way of escaping it – even in your safe hometown. And people are generally good.
As I said above – as long as you avoid possible bad situations – you’ll be fine. You just have to be smart, read about the places you’re going to and then trust your instincts and rather be safe than sorry.
Will soon write an entire post about this subject and put the link to the post here.
Where is it good to travel alone?
From my own experience – I’ve felt the most safe in the balkans, in Iceland, Scotland and New Zealand.
I’ve felt the least safe in big touristic places like Paris, Nice(got pick-pocketed there), London and my hometown Gothenburg. And okey, I know that my hometown is a very safe place, but since this is a place where I’ve been out on town alone and walking alone at night the most – it has more to do with that than the actual city.
And big touristic cities attracts desperate people who need to rob och pick-pocket to make their living, as there are more people with money to steal from.
Also, make sure to read about the places you’re going, so you don’t end up in places run by, or rich in people who deal with illegal activities. Some places are simply not safe to visit.
How do you calm worried parents and friends?
I try telling them about all the research I’ve done and all the people I’ve seen who has traveled there alone too.
This doesn’t always work, but I’m a grown ass woman and no one can tell me what to do so I just go.
Who takes the photos of you when you travel alone?
Mostly, I take photos with the timer on my phone or camera. Since I don’t have a tripod, I usually end up with weird solutions like butting then in a shoe on a big rock or on a bench and run back and forwards to take a few different one’s until I get something I like.
Or I ask someone to take it for me, by asking if they want me to take a picture of them and then ask for the same in return.
How do you decide where to stay?
I have couchsurfed a lot, but I noticed that I often travel in a quick pace, so I go out exploring the place I’m at all days, which leaves very little time to get to know my host and that doesn’t feel right, so I stay in hostels more often. Also it is easier to find more new friends when staying in hostels, and if you feel like being alone – no one will mind.
Is it harder to keep a low budget as a solo traveler?
For me personally – I would say I keep a lower budget when I travel alone, as I only spend money on activities, accommodation and the food that I want to. When traveling with someone else a lot of things can get cheaper, like sharing a room if you don’t want to – or can’t – stay at a hostel, or share a private room on a night train.
But overall, I don’t mind cutting back on food expenses for example. I would rather eat rice and beans to be able to afford fun activities like skydiving, but when traveling with company I tend to spend a lot more money on food.
I guess if you travel with someone who has the same priorities with you it get’s easier to keep the budget you have in mind.
In this picture, my phone is standing up with the help of being squeezed between my camera and my bag on a bench. Ran back and forwards soooo many times but as you can see it’s a jackpot picture. Taken in Ohrid, Macedonia.
If you have more questions, write a comment below or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org