Today’s post is from Lisa Eldridge, one of our favourite bloggers writing about travel (check out our interview with her here). Do you want your travel questions answered? Leave us a comment, tweet, or find us on Facebook to have one of our travel pros help you out!
Have you thought about travelling alone but the thought of arriving in a new country feels you with unease? Did you know that the biggest reason that people don’t travel alone is fear. Fear of not meeting anyone, fear of something bad happening, and fear of just not being able to handle it alone. But the reality of solo travel is that it really isn’t as scary as you think. More and more women and men are now embracing solo travel and preferring to travel alone. Maybe it’s not fear that’s stopping you but one of these instead. Do any of these sound familiar?
“I’m too old to travel.”
First thing’s first – you’re never too old to travel. That is an absolute myth. Whether you are in your thirties, forties or fifties, travel is ageless and I’ve met people on the road who are sixty plus. An age shouldn’t define you. More and more of us are looking to escape the rat race, opting for a more balanced way of life and realising that gap years aren’t just for students anymore.
Travelling in your twenties may have a different purpose than a soul-searching trip in your later years, but there is something out there for everyone whether it’s culture, cuisine, wellness travel or just wanting to let your hair down and go wild in some coastal resort. The travel industry caters to everyone’s needs and if you don’t have a desire to hang around with twenty year-old partygoers, then avoid those kind of hostels and stay in hotels or home stays instead. Look for tours that fit in with your interests rather than your age. You’ll soon find that age on the road doesn’t really exist, it’s what you are like that matters.
“Travel’s too expensive.”
Travel is as expensive as you want it to be, but there are plenty of ways to save on your travels. If you pick expensive countries, stay in five star hotels and eat out every night then yes, it is expensive and you’ll soon find that your money won’t go far. Fast travel will eat into your budget as you’ll want to experience each country and see as much as possible in a short amount of time. If you’re going to be away longer than a few weeks, consider picking up some work to supplement your travel funds. It’s not as uncommon as you may think to see people travelling on a one-way flight and earning enough money to buy a flight back home again.
Opportunities such as working in guest houses or on local farms can be a good exchange for accommodation and board, plus they’ll be unforgettable experiences (even if you only volunteer for a day). Many countries require English teachers and if you are a native English speaker with a degree you can get qualified in less than two months before you go via an online course.
“The world is a scary place.”
Is it? Crime can happen anywhere and admittedly some countries are much safer than others, but if you listen to locals and take reasonable precautions, then travel will be no more scary than your own capital city. When you visit poorer countries with desperate people living on the breadline, crimes can happen, but pickpocketing and minor crime can happen at home, too – and statistically, home is where you’re most likely to experience it.
Tourism plays a huge part in the income of many countries and if the police can avoid tourist-related crimes they generally will. Negative press will damage their reputation, and possibly their livelihood, which many people depend on.
The reality is that there is a whole world out there and yes, some areas are less stable. But for every area that is out of bounds there are hundreds more which aren’t. It is important to pay attention to any foreign office advice before you travel, but be aware that only certain areas may be affected and they may not be the places on your chosen itinerary. You’ll find that when you travel alone your instinct is heightened and you’ll be able to spot a potentially bad situation and avoid the unsavoury characters.
The beauty of travelling solo is that if you are open enough – anything can happen. You’ll soon be pushing those boundaries, trying new activities, and staying in places that you never thought you would. In fact, travelling solo is just so awesome that once you’ve tried it, you’ll wonder why you never did it sooner!
Lisa Eldridge blogs at Girl About the Globe, a website dedicated to helping travellers get the most out of their journeys and support the destinations we all love. Lisa is an author and freelance journalist who has published with Insight Guides, Sunday Times Travel and Real Travel magazine.
Images courtesy of Lisa Eldridge.