Earlier I wrote a pieces that discusses all the amazing benefits of being a solo traveller (you can read that post here).
I didn’t want to ruin that piece with a truck load of negativity. But I do feel that it should be noted that travelling by yourself can be HARD.
Below are the top 10 reasons while travelling by yourself sucks!
1. Lugging all of your luggage around all of the time.
When travelling by yourself, whether backpacking or suit casing, you are going to need to pick up your bags at some point and put them on a bus, a train or in the trunk of a car.
Up and down stairs in the London Underground is the worst! Or try local trains in Italy (shoot me now).
Not having a partner in crime (or partner in travel) means that you have to do this all by yourself all of the time. Occasionally you’ll get handed a pity card and someone will help you. But this doesn’t come without some slight fear that the person helping is going to run off with your stuff or expect some money (that you don’t have) in return. This leads to my second point….
2. Having to protect your luggage all the time
Imagine, you are busting to go to the toilet after a 10hr bus ride. You can see the bathrooms. Ah relief. But when you’re travelling by yourself, what do you do with your luggage when you need to go to the bathroom?? There is no “I’m going, you watch the bags then we’ll swap”.
A good option (for a girl) is to go into the disabled toilets. Room enough in there for a who trolley of bags. But disabled toilets are generally a first world luxury of a good airport or lavish shopping centre. And even then, hard to find, difficult to get to and you have to ensure there is no disabled person actually needing the disabled bathroom.
3. Accommodation is twice the price
This one really stings. If you are travelling alone and have chosen hotels as your mode of accommodation, all rooms are double the price you would pay if you were travelling as a twosome. You have to spend the same price as your coupled friends who are splitting the bill. So this means that travelling as a couple, you are either going to get a room twice as good as your single friend or for 1/2 the price.
4. Package holidays deals
This is along the same lines as the accommodation. Amazing package travel deals are only ever available for couples or families and not singles.
I once wanted to go to the snow for a ski trip. There was a great deal where you could get a 7 day lift pass with travel to/from the ski field and 7 night accommodation with breakfast for 2 at a cost of $700.
‘Sweet’ I thought and called the company straight away.
I was soon alerted to the fact that this is only available to a couple. For me to go by myself I would have to pay for accommodation and lift passes separately and make my own way to the ski field. All together coming to $843!! Yep! It was cheaper for me to pay for 2 people in the package deal than to go to the same hotel and the same ski field as a single. Such BS!!
5. No social life
This one is also a bit on the sucky side. Travelling by yourself (especially as a single girl) means that you can’t really go for a big night out, or even a drink while on holidays. It’s just not safe. I was in Rio for the World Cup and was desperate to experience some Brazilian night life that I had heard so much about. But a drunk girl walking around the streets with a phone, camera, money and cash/credit cards at 3am is probably not the safest option. Spiked drinks, no one to watch out for you, pulled guns, muggings. All the joys of a night out in the big city (and regular occurrences in Rio). I once went out with some friends in Atlanta, but lost them moving bars. And this was the only time I’ve had a drink spiked. Lucky for me my friends found me 10min later and kept me safe.
6. No one to protect you
This comes along after I was mugged on a train in Amsterdam. I was assured by a gentleman at the information counter in the airport that Amsterdam was a very safe city and I had nothing to worry about. So I’m relaxing on a train into the city when a guy came up to me and took my hand bag. And my hand bag had EVERYTHING in it. This was back in the day of multiply currencies, actual plane tickets, and no cheap cash cards or credit cards. Not to mention no internet access to get any help. Travelling was a cash society and 20yr old me didn’t listen to my father telling me to split up my money into different bags.
But the point is- I never would have been mugged if I had had a partner with me. A single girl (and single guy) is a vulnerable and easy target.
7. No tables for 1
One of my worst experiences travelling as a single girl was in Argentina during the World Cup. I was desperate to watch the Argentina v Netherlands game in Buenos Aires. As kick off approached I started to seek out a bar. Bar 1: sorry, no tables for one. Bar 2: sorry, we only do tables for 3 or more! Bar 3: sorry, we only take couples for our set menu.
I ended up having to settle for a very un-Argentinian, very quiet TGI Fridays.
8. No one to share moments with
This one particularly sucks. There you are standing in front of the most incredible thing you have ever seen. Pyramids of Egypt, Machu Picchu, Ravello looking over the deep blue colours of the Mediterranean ….. And you haven’t anyone to re-live it with. No one to express your awe or excitement to. This comes with average travel moments too. I was in a Thailand ping pong show in shock, turned to the guy next to me and said “can you fucking believe this??” He said “um-no” and turned back to his wife to enjoy the show with her.
9. No one to take photos
I have so so many selfie photos of myself in places around the world that its stupid. You see, when I arrive at the Colosseum in Rome- I want a picture of myself there. I have learnt that my selfie skills are far better than most (if not all) of the tourist around me. And the only way to get the picture I want is to do it myself. Most people who I ask to take a photo of me at a tourist hot spot, usually just take the photo of me without any of the awesome background. I don’t need or want a picture of me to add to my overflowing collection. I want a picture of the amazing site with me as very small presence in the corner to prove that I was there.
This means that all the photos I have of a trip are of me and me only. This also means that I am unable to act stupid and get photos of me riding a camel in the Middle East. Or a even riding a statue of a camel in Newcastle.
10. No one to eat dinner with
I’m starving after a long day of sightseeing. And when street food isn’t an option I will head to the local restaurant or bar for some food. But there is almost nothing lonelier than sitting in a restaurant by yourself. No where to look, no one to talk too.
IT PAINS ME TO SAY THIS but it is times like this you are thankful for a smart phone and free wifi. I don’t want to travel with a constant connection to back home through FB. I travel to get away from this.
But when you are waiting for 30min for your slovaki to come out, there is nothing to do except sit and stare. Sometimes going through photos is ok. Sometimes the guy behind the bar will strike up a conversation. Sometimes I ask to keep the menu and practise reading my spanish.
I was once in a Fado Club in Lisbon waiting for my meal and the show to start. I was put in the back corner with 2 other alone single girls also there by themselves, all of us at separate tables. I was building up the courage to introduce myself when the 2 girls found each other started talking and moved to a table for 2. Leaving me to sit on my lonesome.
And there you have it. The top 10 reasons why travelling by yourself SUCKS! Even after 16yrs of travelling by myself- I still get annoyed with these problems and can not wait to have a holiday with others. Whose keen?