Solo Travel: The Pros and Cons
Posted by admin in on February 26, 2017..
By WSA Intern Emily Rose
I’d like to think of myself as kind of a semi-pro at solo travel. In the two and a half months that I’ve been in Europe, I have traveled to nine countries and seven of those have been by myself. A lot of worried friends of my mom on Facebook have asked me why I like to travel alone right after saying that I was crazy for going to all of these new places on my own. Travelling solo is actually really freeing and I think that everyone needs to do it at least once in their life! But don’t get me wrong…it can also suck at times. Here are some pro and cons for travelling alone:
Con: No one to share the experience with
For me, this is probably one of the things I miss most while travelling by myself. When you go out for a day of exploring a new city and get to take in all of the sights, sounds and smells (whether good or bad), you instinctively want to have someone to turn to and talk about what all you are experiencing. You get home from your trip and don’t have anyone to reminisce with and say “Remember when we were in Florence and we saw the Statue of David?” (Check out WSA's Florence trip here).
Pro: You don’t have to babysit anyone
Alcohol can be fun and make for a great night out…but it can also quickly turn into you taking care of Becky for the whole night because Becky had one too many Jager bombs and now wants to get up on the stage and dance because a Beyoncé song just came on and somewhere along the way she has lost a shoe. This happened with a friend of mine in Paris and trust me, it was not fun. Traveling alone means you don’t have to deal with Becky and can have a great night out on the town!
Safety is a problem no matter where you travel in Europe. Out of all of the countries that I have been to by myself, there have only been a handful of times where I felt unsafe. If you go with friends then you’re much less of a target, as opposed to going somewhere alone and having to keep your guard up a little more than usual.
Pro: You get to do whatever you want
Oh, you want to spend all day at a cute Parisian café people watching and drinking delicious coffee and eating pastries that will most definitely clog your arteries? Do it! Want to go to a phallic museum (I’m lookin’ at you, Iceland), eat the “best hot dog in Europe”, and then go on a tour to see some dope waterfalls? Do it! Travelling by yourself means that you get to control every aspect of your experience without having to be dragged off to some boring museum because your friend wants to go. It truly is a glorious part of the solo travel experience!
Con: It can be really stressful
Getting to a new country and having absolutely no idea where to go or how to communicate with people is stressful for everyone. The next thing you know you get on the wrong bus in Berlin and end up on the opposite side of the city, six miles from where you’re supposed to be (yes, this actually happened to me). You don’t have your friends to rely on and have to figure things out by yourself without having someone there to help you and give you input.
Pro: You learn so much about yourself!
Although travelling can be stressful, you also get to learn so much about yourself and how you handle stress and uncomfortable situations. I can easily say that by travelling alone, I have learned more about myself, how I handle different situations, and how to be more independent all together.
If you want the best of both worlds, I highly suggest taking a WSA guided weekend tour of a city. These tours allow you to see all of the sights (plus some hidden gems) and you get to meet some awesome new people! Plus if you use the code Bears10 when you check out you’ll save €10!
I definitely have WSA to thank for my exceptional experience in Amsterdam. One would think 4 days isn't enough to tour a city but WSA facilitated an optimum weekend full of sightseeing and fun. Amsterdam may have a notorious reputation for its lax drug and sex culture but there’s so much more to the city. Luckily, our tour guide, Arthur, native to the Netherlands, steered us away from the tourist traps and showed us around his beloved city, highlighting all of its gems. I'd definitely like to try other WSA trips in the future. It's hassle free traveling with an awesome itinerary - nice that the tour guides are flexible with the schedule and willing to cater the itinerary to the group's interest! Highly recommend WSA to any student with only a weekend to see a city.Lauren Wallender, Elon University ~ Fall 2014
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