Solo1
Photo Credit: Carl Custodio
Although I prefer traveling with friends rather than traveling alone, I often find myself sporadically replying to the ticketing agent: It's just me. Ticket for one, please. Traveling alone has certain advantages. You have the flexibility to go wherever you want, at any pace you want. You're forced out of your comfort zone to do things you don't normally do like chatting up a stranger or meeting the locals. You make quick decisions because there are no votes to cast, no one to consult and more importantly: No one to please but yourself.


Traveling by yourself does come with a price. Here are the top 10 reasons why Solo Travel ain't all it's cracked up to be...


Solo210 No one to put sunblock on your back. This might not seem like such a complicated task. But you might want to rethink that when you're under the hot tropical sun, your skin is tingling and your only two options are a short Hispanic dude with gold teeth (no offense to SHDs) and a smiling hawker with all of his front teeth missing. A classic Scylla and Charybdis situation.


9 No one to watch your stuff while you go to the toilet.


8 No one to convince you not to get that souvenir tattoo of the world map on your [insert body part here]. It may seem like a good idea when you're drunk or stoned but it will just look like some nasty skin disease the morning after.
 
Map Tattoo
'I'm quite lost. Can you please check my map?'
Photo Credit: zfaerman
7  No one to wake you up to make sure you get off at the right stop. Being an avid traveler, I have learned to sleep even in the most uncomfortable positions. This is a useful skill while traveling, not so useful when you're snoring away on an overnight bus trip and they have stops and transfers every 4 hours or so.

Solo3
Photo Credit: Leah Villanueva



5 No one to get lost with.

6 No one to laugh with when you decided to chomp on those pretty little pastries served daintily on a platter, only to realize that they were pretty little cold towels.




Solo4
Floating Market by myself: No fun.
4 No one to share costs like transportation and hotel bookings with. I decided to travel solo to a floating market after a couple of friends bailed out on me. Plan was to take a bus there, snap a few shots then go back to Bangkok. After arriving at one of the piers, I was told the only way to get to the floating market was to take a boat ride. The clincher: I needed to rent an entire boat for 3,000THB!




3 No one to sigh with when you see sights like these:
  
Colours of the rainbow
Photo Credit: little_frank
calaguas 3
Photo Credit: kitchengod
2 No one to hold your hair while you Ralph your head off after having one too many buckets/beers/wine glasses at that Full Moon Party/Oktoberfest/Wine festival.


1 No one to take your photos. Nuff said.


Solo5
This was beautiful in my mind. Why didn't I bring the tripod?
solo7
Smile, because you're NOT gonna be in the picture!
Yup, traveling solo can be a downer. But I remember getting lost in Bangkok and walking aimlessly trying to find the bus station. I asked a guy who was sitting by the roadside if I was going the right way. He hardly spoke English but he told me the bus stops here. He asked me 'Only nung? (Just one?) I said yes, just me. Traveling solo.

He struggled for words but finally, he smiled and gave me a thumbs up sign.

That made it all worth it.


Have you dared traveled solo? What travails did you experience? Share your story with us by leaving a comment below.


Until the next trip,
Sole Sister Lois


I'm currently putting together some tips when traveling as a couple. Send us an email if you want to share some advice and we will be happy to include it. Stay tuned for The Sole Sister's Guide to Keeping Your Sanity While Traveling in Twos.

31 Responses so far.

  1. Carl says:

    Hahahaha!!! I would really like to try traveling alone! But I don't have the guts yet. Hehehe. Sounds fun but scary at the same time.

  2. Yeah you know about my Contiki trip, right? You saw the photobook evidence? But then I guess, since I technically met 50 other people then it's not the traveling solo that you mean...
    Um, this last UK trip that I went on, I spent a few days on my own in Scotland and in England. There were a few moments when I wished I were with friends... no doubt about it... I agree with your list above.
    But it's not ALL THAT bad... :) For some reason, people are a lot nicer to you when they realize you're on your own... You end up meeting the most random strangers you wouldn't have spoken to if you were with someone... And you're reminded that your life is your own, and you're living it your way...
    And when you think about all the people you would've liked to take the trip with, you realize how blessed you are for having those people in your life... And you look forward to seeing them again. :) At least that's how it is for me... :)

  3. Avegail85 says:

    Great list! I agree with #9,4,3 and 1. I also enjoyed looking at the pictures you posted with this blog. =))

  4. Lois says:

    @ Carl: You have to try it! If Leah can do it, so can you ehehehe I'm sure you will love the experience. It's such a great high! Scary yet super exciting!

  5. Lois says:

    @ EarthaL Right on all counts! I love meeting people on trips and I know you do too. Kaka ang I already got to catch up a few nights ago. We're looking forward to seeing you and I know you have tons of KUWENTO!

  6. Lois says:

    @Avegail: Thanks for dropping by. The photos were my way of lightening the topic of solo travel. It seems to scare many people. But I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Not everyone will see the benefit of travelling alone. First off, if it's the first time you're visiting the place, going solo is a no-no! Otherwise, you'd nod from north to south agreeing with the bummers Lois listed above. However, there are times when you're so caught up in a lot of things at work, at home, in your relationship, that you just want to drop everything, recharge, and head off to a familiar place, alone. That's what I did 2 years ago; I spent 5 "sole" searching days in Panglao. The best part is, unlike in a group, you get to decide about everything on your own. No one to argue with on where to check-in, what food to eat, where to go, what you can and cannot wear, who to kiss . I also engaged in meaningful conversations with the locals, albeit the limited Tagalog. When I came back, I was recharged ready to face work, home, and the relationship which actually ended right before I went on with my solitary journey.

    Hey SoleSisters! What about a Top-10-Reasons-Why-You-Should-Go-Solo-Byaherow?

    Niel-duh

  8. I commented on FB about a trip alone. I actually found it amazing. I went to a lighthouse known to locals, on the way up I sat by a sari-sari store and interviewed the whole life out of an old lady. She was fun to talk to, I found out how times are difficult for them when tourism is at a low, that her youngest granddaughter wants to study in Manila, that life is good most of the time. The lighthouse itself wasn't an amazing structure, but the view from the top was great! I took the long trek from the cliff to the seaside where my single bed waited... on the way down the old lady had her granddaughter run after me to give me merienda. Funnily, the foreign divers considered it very normal when I told them what I experienced. Traveling alone, I guess, is all about the discovery of things through your own eyes and not through the feel-good experience of a cumulative mind. Sole-searching, I guess, is best done alone. So going at it SOLE-O is definitely something that should be on everyone's list.

  9. I experienced travelling solo since I was 12. I flew to HK then. I had those tags that says 'Young Passenger Travelling Alone - YPTA'. I think that helped with me getting more free food from the BA FA. I was very excited. I took a bus ride and got off at a station, my mum waited. It was my first solo trip, but not to that place. I remember not saying 'please stop here' to the bus driver the right way, but a Filipina helped me.

    Since then, I have always enjoyed travelling solo. The bus from Baguio to Manila. All the food I can eat along the way. Bus stops also became fun.

    I also travelled to Macau once, solo. It wasnt that fun, I guess because of the place. Casinos, casinos, and more casinos.
    Good thing I get to go to the beach there, but the temp then wasnt great.

    If I'd travel alone again, I would.

  10. Lois says:

    @ Niel- duh: I agree. Traveling Solo has given me so much insight and every second of it has been a learning experience. I also love meeting so many great people when I'm traveling alone. I guess I wrote this article just to make fun of something that most people are really afraid of doing.

    I have to say, traveling by myself is one of the things I would still look forward to doing in the near future. So yes, maybe the Sole Sisters will come up with another entry or a How-to for Traveling solo. Thanks for the idea!

  11. Lois says:

    Hey kitchengod, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. You really have a way with words!

    I agree, there are so many things you notice when you're traveling alone without a guide or a tour group. And talking to the locals about their life and how they see things is always a wonderful experience wherever you go. It gets you out of your own ego, your own problems and issues. It allows you to see the world through other people's eyes. Oh... Travel can really be life changing!

  12. Lois says:

    Hey lefty! That was pretty brave of you to travel solo at a very young age. I only dared try it a few years ago.

    The first few times are tough. But it gets easier and much more fun after a few trips. But you are right about Macau, no offense but I don't think I would get myself over there anytime soon. I guess I'm just not much of a city/Vegas type of person.

  13. Chyng says:

    haha, tamaaa! =)
    i traveled solo for a few times, including sagada, cambodia, and vietnam. pricey but PRICELESS! ♥

  14. Rian says:

    I traveled alone to HK and Macau last August. In HK, I ended up just staying inside my hotel room coz I was too lazy to walk around and I got really tired from the trip I had the day before (Macau). In Macau, I really had a hard time taking pictures of myself. It was all casinos and churches pa, nothing much. I didn't enjoy that HK-Macau travel. I realized that even if you're in a nice place it doesn't mean that you get to enjoy your travel. It really depends on who's joining you in your trip.

  15. Lois says:

    Hey Chyng! Wow pangarap ko din yang mga destinations na yan. Someday :-) I've just started to travel alone really. But I meet other people on some parts of the trip. Para masaya!

  16. Lois says:

    Hey Rian, I agree. The place has a major role on how we enjoy the trip. That's why HK and Macau are not on my list of places to see in the near future ;-) Just not much a of a city girl I guess..

    I also hate having blurry photos on solo trips. But sometimes there's more than just getting nice photos. I also like to leave the cam every once in a while and soak up the whole experience...

  17. flipnomad says:

    great post :-) i used to travel with a lot of friends but now i enjoy traveling solo... maybe the flexibility of traveling solo is what i prefer... travelling with other friends is fun as long as those people are easy to deal with and doesnt make any fuss about small tolerable inconveniences of travelling... thanks for sharing your thoughts :-)

  18. Lois says:

    Hey thanks flip! It's always a dilemma isn't it? Travel with someone or travel by yourself?

    But I agree though. If I have to choose between traveling solo and traveling with someone who is maarte and whiney, I'd definitely choose the former!

  19. Rian says:

    I traveled alone to HK and Macau last August. In HK, I ended up just staying inside my hotel room coz I was too lazy to walk around and I got really tired from the trip I had the day before (Macau). In Macau, I really had a hard time taking pictures of myself. It was all casinos and churches pa, nothing much. I didn't enjoy that HK-Macau travel. I realized that even if you're in a nice place it doesn't mean that you get to enjoy your travel. It really depends on who's joining you in your trip.

  20. I experienced travelling solo since I was 12. I flew to HK then. I had those tags that says 'Young Passenger Travelling Alone - YPTA'. I think that helped with me getting more free food from the BA FA. I was very excited. I took a bus ride and got off at a station, my mum waited. It was my first solo trip, but not to that place. I remember not saying 'please stop here' to the bus driver the right way, but a Filipina helped me.

    Since then, I have always enjoyed travelling solo. The bus from Baguio to Manila. All the food I can eat along the way. Bus stops also became fun.

    I also travelled to Macau once, solo. It wasnt that fun, I guess because of the place. Casinos, casinos, and more casinos.
    Good thing I get to go to the beach there, but the temp then wasnt great.

    If I'd travel alone again, I would.

  21. Carl says:

    Hahahaha!!! I would really like to try traveling alone! But I don't have the guts yet. Hehehe. Sounds fun but scary at the same time.

  22. i did, and in Bangkok too~♥ main reason was to watch a concert.. i loved travelling solo but there were moments when i wished i had someone to share the experience with. it was, however, so much fun to explore the city alone without having to consider someone else's preference and never having to apologize for getting to the wrong side of the city. i would do it again in a heartbeat!:)

  23. after reading on blogpost and forums about solo travelling - I finally did it last year.Started with a domestic travel - Dumaguete and Siquijor.

    What's the verdict? I can't wait to do another one this year!!
    It is still great to share your travel with friends or loved ones but traveling solo made me savor the travel experience more compared to group travel. It's like putting that morsel of food into your mouth and you can breakdown the ingredients that created flavor.

    love..love..love your blog!
    Wishing you abundant adventures and travel stories for your SEA travel

  24. Lois says:

    I'm so glad for your positive response! It's really a great way to experience a country without being forced to follow other people's itinerary. Thanks for following our adventures!

  25. Prime says:

    ay oo, ang hirap talagang mag-travel mag-isa minsan kasi walang kukuha ng pic :) kinakapalan ko na nga lang mukha ko, by asking people to take photos of me

  26. Lois says:

    This is the usual dilemma for me. The sad part is that half those photos taken by kind strangers are either too bright or too dark.. Hahaha.. But it's still worth the fun of traveling solo.

  27. Aleah says:

    No. 1 is also my biggest dilemma. But everywhere I go people are always nice enough to volunteer to take my pic. Too bad the photos are usually awful, but still my face is there haha

  28. Lois says:

    Oh yes, that's true. What's important is that you're in the photo. Sana wag naman ma crop yung face di ba. That's why I also try my best when I'm taking photos of others... Para di sila ma disappoint.

  29. tetay says:

    My first attempt to travel alone was on my birthday, its a nice experience but sana i had someone to talked to along the way.  And people keep starring at me every time I picture myself at hassle din yun i-timer mo pa yun camera.

  30. Ms. Perspective says:

    I did. It was my first time to travel alone and to a non-English speaking country at that. I was 19, when I went to South Korea to attend the UNESCO YiCA in Gyeoungju. It was such a fun experience. I had met and talked to strangers while waiting for the Bus, waiting for the train back to Seoul, and on the train. It was so fun. I had no restrictions. I got to be alone and experience the journey. The people I met in UNESCO made it more special and because I was alone I had no one to cling to, I was forced to really get to know and be around my fellow participants. I think I found my counterpart in a French girl, that I've become so fond of. I Japanese girl and I just clicked from the start, became her roommate and we just jived. If I had the chance again, I'd travel alone. I think it opens up the possibility of you meeting more people.

  31. mau says:

    I just had my first solo travel last January. It's a local destination (Cebu), but still, I had fun! I did things I would not normally do here in Manila --- took a cab at 4am, rode a bus at 5am for a 3.5hr travel + 1.5hr ferry ride.

    I did a lot of research for my trip, and while I was at it, I was scared as hell! But never did I felt scared during my entire trip. :) And true, traveling alone let's you do things you wouldn't normally do with a group --- mingling with others. And I also felt this sense of fulfillment everytime people (foreign and local) comment how brave I am to be travelling alone. :)

    Just recently, I realized that doing the research became my stress reliever. I am ow itching to plan for my next trip just so I can start spending hours Google-ing. :)

    It's actually hard to justify the the happiness solo travelers experience. One must really try it for them to fully understand.

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