Top 5 reasons to travel solo

by on 25th October, 2013

Top reasons to travel solo

This week, Andean Trails’ Tom exhorts why we should travel solo, and why it’s one of the best adventure holidays you’ll ever take.


He writes:

“Like going to the cinema on your own, solo travel is often more about how you feel about yourself than how you think other people perceive you.

Having now several times been to the cinema on my own, I vouch that the self-indulgence should be extended to holidays and everyone should give solo travel a try.

No one to interrupt the magic reel you are recording…….


Live the moment to the max
Leave any hang-ups at home, join in with whatever is happening around you, be spontaneous, be up, be down.

Whichever mood is coming your way, it’s fine, and you can enjoy it to its limit. Being a solo traveller – which can involve periods of time alone on buses etc – the chance to interact, do or not do –  is liberating.

It could be deciding to climb that mountain tomorrow, or to play table football until 3 in the morning or dance with the locals at a festival. You can lose yourself in the here are now because it’s your here and now and no one can interrupt that.

And once the to-the-max-ball starts rolling….


Take more risks

With a travel partner, you or they or both of you can talk yourselves out of some adventures.

Bungee? Seemed great idea last night. Over breakfast, the doubts creep in, it doesn’t happen.

On your own? You’ll want to do something, test yourself, try something new, and on you go. You have the conversation with yourself and it’s your own self you search and question to see what you really want to get out of the trip. Out of yourself.

It’s not limited to adventure sports, there are choices about which towns to visit, who to talk to, who to trust. It comes down to your instinct. It comes down to you, and that’s empowering.


Meet the locals

Couples can moan about big groups being unapproachable.

Solo travellers can moan that couples are unapproachable.

Locals can moan that no one approaches them other than to ask for something to eat or drink or directions.

Solo travellers can sit there wondering why no one is talking to them.

Assuming you, the solo traveller, have been ignored by the groups and couples, you’ve maybe hit the jackpot. But don’t get too isolated.

Many people go on holiday and end up being surrounded by people from the country they’ve left behind. You’ve got the perfect chance to become like a local. The corner coffee shop, bar, restaurant; after two or three visits, you’re a piece of the furniture.

You’re more likely to talk to people. Us humans like a chat. If you’ve not had a chinwag other than with yourself for a while……then you’ll be the first to chew the fat with the receptionist, the barman, the market traders, the people that live where you are visiting. And that’s one reason that we travel, to get to know something different.

I spent an afternoon swimming in a river with the kids from a town in Morocco, having been invited on impulse and going on impulse. Brilliant time.


local-market-Pisac sacred-valley-peru

Local market, Pisac sacred valley, Peru


Me me me catch up time
You’ve been maxing it up, taking risks and meeting the locals. Or maybe that is to come, and the me me me comes first. Either way round, me me me catch up time is great.

Thinking through problems, relaxing after a hard year, reading books, beach, getting into the wilds, camping. It’s all good, and it’s all up to you.

Whatever you may have been carrying around, there may come a moment of recognition that it’s time to let it go. An Amazon chorus, a trek into the wilderness or a simple coffee in a plaza, and – pop! – the bubble bursts. Breathing space to confront things, which you may not have realised needed confronting.


Join up with a group
Having enjoyed all of the above, joining a designated group for a trek or tour gives you a bit of everything. You decide which to join, and when, and the payback for surrendering your independence is some good old-fashioned camaraderie.

At Andean Trails our group tours tend to last 4-14 days. This gives you plenty of time to form friendships with your comrades as well head off to remote places that may be impossible on your own.

Trekking and Galapagos trips are especially good for travellers to join, as a week-long trek carrying all your own supplies and tent can quickly become more mission than merriment.

I think a mix of on your own and with a group is perfect. You’ve enough solo stories to tell around the campfire to the people you’ve just befriended.”


group mountain biking tour cusco peru

Group mountain biking tour, Cusco, Peru

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