Solo Traveling Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Alone
Don’t you wish you could be alone more often? There are almost 8 billion people in the world. Yes, that’s right; 8 billion. So finding a way to spend more time alone is getting harder and harder. And I'm an introvert so I feel that more profoundly. Solo travel could be just what the doctor ordered! You get to be alone but not quite alone.
You’re on your own, doing your own thing but you’re also surrounded by new cultures, nations, people, music, and architecture. You don’t have to travel with family members or a group of your friends either. Just you, your backpack, and boots that were made for walking. When you travel alone, you’re sticking to your own schedule.
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No one gets to tell you when to get up and go. No one tells you what sights you need to see before it gets busy. You are planning everything, doing everything, and experiencing everything you want, when, and how you want to. Yet we do live in a social media-rich world, so why not take advantage of this? Solo travels don’t always have to mean being completely alone.
After you (Travel) Buddy
Traveling around the world, you will run into many people just like you. They want to see everything, they want to meet and greet people from all around the globe and put themselves right in the middle of strange but wonderful cultures. You can opt to travel around with a travel buddy.
This is a simple concept (which I love by the way!) of meeting people online that have the same travel ambitions as you. It's a way you can make friends for life if you’re lucky. There are many random people on the website that want to travel around the world with someone else but they may not have friends or family that have the time to do so with them. So, they put out a call to the rest of the travel community, asking if someone would like to join them.
All kinds of people are looking for a travel buddy (including my blogging friend, who I have interviewed in my Traveler Tuesday series, Marie of Big Travel Nut who wrote about the platform) who is going to the destinations they have also chosen. For example, you can have someone from America that is going to France in December and would like someone to go along with. You can be someone from Spain who is also going to France in that same month. Drop them a message and get to know them a bit more online.
This can be done via the website itself as you have to set up a profile in order to put out such a request. If all goes well, you both meet up when you land and then follow through with your plans. You should agree on the accommodation to fit your price range and then to a list of attractions. The great thing is, you’re both in the same boat and experiencing everything for the first time. If any problems arise you can help each other out and make your trip even better.
A Diary the World Can Read
If you love to travel and share your experiences, then you should definitely consider becoming a blogger, Instagrammer, or YouTuber. You can record all your experiences, and upload them in the form of a blog, a series of photos, a video diary, or vlog. This is an excellent way to archive your trip, so one day when your mind and body are miles away from those locations, you can look back on them with more than just the power of memory.
It's also a brilliant way to share your views on different cultures, foods, music, and nations around the world. It's common for those that blog about their travels to also record them so there is visual context to what you’re writing about. Fortunately for you, in this day and age, you are perfectly set up to go one step further.
Video recording your trips and uploading them to YouTube is one thing, but live streaming them is another. With an unlimited data SIM you can live stream your daily life while abroad to the masses. For very little, you have unlimited calls and texts but more importantly, you will never run out of data. That means you can live stream using your smartphone and the only thing stopping you is a low battery.
You can blog, ‘gram, live stream on YouTube as well Twitch, and also has travel streamers on their platform. Mixer is another great new platform for live streamers too. By doing this, you could also earn decent money from advertisements appearing on your videos and live streams. Brands may also wish to partner with you and thus, you get more money to spend on your travels and buy better equipment if needed.
Whenever Mr. Misadventures and I spend any time in France, the first thing we do is get that SIM and we have peace of mind for the rest of the trip!
Living with Locals
Thankfully in this day and age, the weary traveler doesn't have to be fleeced by hotel companies. Now you can choose any number of accommodation styles for your needs. There are more options than ever before so if you’re having trouble with your finances, Airbnb is something you must consider.
Like most people, you’ve probably heard about this service somewhere. It's a large company that gets talked about in the media and has received high praise by most of the people that use it. But, what is it? Airbnb is a lodging service that allows homeowners to offer a room in their homes to travelers. If you would like to go to Marbella in Spain, you can search on Airbnb if there is a local family offering space to travelers.
Usually, they are competitively priced so they are always giving travelers a good deal compared to their other options. Hotels, hostels, bed & breakfasts, or inns will always offer seasonal discounts, but if every penny counts because you’re trying to stretch your travels out as far as they can, lodging is a better option.
Some Airbnb rooms might offer you breakfast or a snack every day. They may also help you with your travel plans seeing as they are locals and know the ins and outs of the city or town. The other benefit is that you will have a key to the house and your room so you can return back whenever your day is finished.
Sleeping on the Couch
Traveling is fraught with unpredictability. Some travelers are literally on the road and traveling at all hours of the night and day to get to where they want to be. For example, you might be in Vietnam going from one village to the next on your way to one of the cities. When you’re in this sort of predicament, you will need just one or two nights to stay.
Nothing major, nothing long-term just something simple and cheap. Couchsurfing is a website where you can make a quick profile and see if there is anyone who is letting travelers get a night’s rest in their home close by. It's completely free, you don’t have to pay for anything, strangers are just doing this to meet new people. My friend Andi of My Beautiful Adventures did quite a bit of couchsurfing in her time.
In over 200,000 cities, couchsurfers offer their rooms and homes to travelers purely to make friends and offer guidance to their city. It might not be anything special, just a sleeping bag downstairs in the living room. Or, it could also be a nice room to yourself and a warm bed to rest your tired head. It's an app you can download onto your phone as well, so if you’re ever in need of a short night’s rest, you can find your nearest ‘free couch’.
The person offering your this space doesn’t have any other obligations other than just providing a small place for you to sleep or rest. However, most of the time they will offer you food and drink and help in whatever way they can.
Get Lost Together!
Perhaps one of the more daunting things about traveling solo is when you’re trying to explore a city all by yourself. Going to London is amazing but when you’re in the middle of one of the greatest cities on earth filled with 6 million people, it can be scary to explore by yourself. That’s why you should use tools like TripWire. it's an app that allows you to drop a pin on every location you’re in at the moment.
If you were in London, other travelers could see your pin and ask if you want to meet up or you could ask them. Before you meet up you could talk on the phone to get to know each other or just simply meet in a public place. Then when you do, you have a friend to explore a large city with. You may also have better information about where you are. Your new friend might have already been in the city prior to your arrival so they can show you where to get cheap food and accommodation that’s affordable for travelers.
Traveling solo is an experience that will change you forever. Being by yourself is great and can provide you with some experiences of a lifetime, but you can travel with newly made friends too. Find yourself, someone, to travel with at least part of the time. Also, this post has great tips: 50 Tips for Successful Solo Travel!
How about you? Have you done some solo traveling broken up by stints of traveling with a buddy? Do you have additional reasons why you like to solo travel? Have you used any of the mentioned programs, apps or services? Do share!
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