I have always traveled with a group. It was the norm of all norms. “Oh you are going (insert country)??!! That is awesome! Who are you going with?” Sharing the memories and experiences with the people I love that shared the love of traveling was the norm. Also, it was safe. As a woman, the buddy system works while gallivanting to a country that you do not know the language and the lay of the land. It was what was needed to feel comfortable while feeling uncomfortable about your surroundings. And someone witnessing situations made the story real when you talk about them.
Group traveling was my norm up until last year. Compelled to explore the world more often, I was placed in a juxtaposition where I had found an awesome flight deal to Southeast Asia and trying to find someone to go with me. I ended up booking the flight hoping someone will go with me but as time passed. I Said FUCK IT. I’ll go by myself.
I ended up going to Thailand as my first solo dolo trip. It was one of the best decisions I made by far! There is something about solo traveling that makes my soul happy and it was liberating for me to just take the leap and do it. Did I have doubts? Yes! I was absolutely terrified. I “casually” tell people my plans on going solo, people will fuel your doubts. Not because they want to stop me from going but they cared and they are just as terrified. But I had to “Keep Calm and travel solo.”
Here are my pros and cons of Solo DOLO and Homies that live by YOLO.
PROs of Homies that live by YOLO
1. Shared memories.
There are many experiences I have shared with my friends that I could write an entire book. Some of them were fun, some of them were WTF moments. But memories with homies makes it an amazing time.
2. Saving Money
Hotel accommodations, excursions, tours are spilt. It is cheaper when you can have more people to get a deal.
I love food. It is hard to try everything on the menu by yourself. I have tried and failed. My stomach won’t let me great. Having people around you that share your love for food allows me to eat everything on the menu without feeling some type of way.
4. Itinerary is planned out
I am the one planning out the details of the trip because I enjoy it doing it and I am super A type. People that travel with me loves that! I have had the experience to just sit back and enjoy the work that someone places in planning a trip. There are perks to sitting back and enjoying the ride and trusting your travel companions in planning.
5. We are all different
PUBLIC TRAVEL ANNOUNCEMENT: When I plan, I always ask for everyone’s input on what they might want to do. Remember this is not JUST your trip, it is for everyone! To have a successful, enjoyable trip, I ask everyone. You never know. You or your travel homies might find something that will be unforgettable.
Cons of Homies That live by YOLO
1. Different personalities
Everyone is not the same! Traveling a long period of time with same people for a lengthy time will heighten everything. Things you never knew that you didn’t know about them gets real. Different personalities are not a bad thing. It is something you have to be aware of. You can travel with your best friend for 10 days and find out something you will never know about them in those 10 days.
Not everyone is a morning person and not everyone is a night owl. Some people can get ready in 10 minutes, and some people need an hour plus a nap to get ready. Group traveling will teach you patience whether you like or not. Unless you plan on conducting a group compatibility survey before a trip, everyone is not going to be on the same wavelength with you. But then what’s the fun in that? So PATIENCE, grasshopper.
3. Group Number
My magic number is no more than 4. Why 4? 4 you can get one hotel room, one cab, two buddy systems, people can be accounted for with 4. 4 different personalities for more than a week…. more than enough. Have I traveled with more than 4? Yes, I have. The majority of my big group travel have been successful and been an unforgettable, great time. And then I have had… disaster, chaos, “never again”.
Cons of SOLO DOLO
Is it dangerous with traveling alone? Yes, and it also dangerous jaywalking in New York City but what do I know. My family and friends worry about my safety every time I go anywhere. And thanks to the movie Taken… it is on another level. I always TRUST my intuition. If I don’t feel like that is a good thing to do. I. DON’T. DO. IT. Also, I don’t get shit faced, being aware my surroundings is easier when I know what is going on.
2. Carrying everything
When I travel with a group, we plan to carry no more than one of each of the necessities. When I travel solo, I have to carry everything like a first aid kit, a flat iron, sunscreen, toiletries, you name it. And if you carry just a backpack 😉 or a carry-on, some things get left behind.
3. Selfie stick
Selfie Stick. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Greatest Invention! BUT damn it! Candid pictures are not fun on a selfie stick. And having a random stranger take pictures of me when I want to have a model pose is awkward. BUT there are solutions to this selfie situation. Thanks to another solo traveler, he told me to prop my camera/ camera phone and use the self-timer. NOW I got angles on angles!!
4. Aren’t you going to be lonely?
I get lonely at times! But that is the thing! Being lonely is only negative if you want it to be. Sometimes it is beneficial to spend some time alone to do a self-check. It is only lonely if it is uncomfortable for you and if you are uncomfortable about being alone, you might want to ask yourself why. ( Yep, I just got deep on you with that one.)
Pros of SOLO DOLO
1. Staying within budget
It is hard at times to stay within budget traveling with a group. I can end up at a bar and then hours later, I have blown my daily budget by three days. It happens. It is easier to stay within budget alone since I am the only decision maker on how I want to blow your budget.
2. Me! Me! Me!
It is all about me. From the time I wake up to what I want to do or eat. It is about me! There is a huge satisfaction to explore a city the way I want to without receiving or giving input to others. I am able to take the time to take in the experience and reflect on my own time or run past something. ME!
I cannot tell you how many people that I have met while traveling solo. I end up talking to people that I would never have a conversation with if I wasn’t traveling alone. There is a huge community of solo travelers everywhere you go. It doesn’t matter where you go, someone else is traveling alone and sparking a conversation with them could open other travel possibilities.
4. The “Ease”
Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
It is easy to go wherever I want to go. If I had waited for someone to accompany everywhere I go, it wouldn’t have done a lot of traveling. There is the ease of planning my trip of one.
It easy to get into places with a party of one. Businesses are more than happy ( or sympathy) to accommodate a party of one.
Traveling solo has given me empowerment of my life. It is empowering to be responsible for myself, discovering my capabilities, breaking down my comfort zones and trusting. I have discovered what it is to have “first world problems” and be grateful for what I have when others do not. Learning to live in the moment and to be present.
No matter how you do it… solo or with people….
“Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
📸: Mykonos, Greece