Lately, solo travel has emerged into something magical-sounding. Risky and ostensibly life-changing, the endeavor is appearing to be the best way to explore the world. And maybe, you’re one of the many travellers who tried out solo travel only to end up… quite disappointed.
Here’s some good news for you: You aren’t alone. So, don’t feel bad about yourself, because solo travel isn’t for everyone. If you feel like you’re not enjoying travelling alone as much as you should, then you don’t have to force it upon yourself.
Sometimes, you desperately need a travel buddy to make the most of your travels. And that’s okay. In fact, I highly recommend that you look into searching for a travel buddy if you resonate with any of the following signs.
1. You spend most of your time getting lost
Many travellers believe that getting lost is part of the adventure. But if you find yourself wasting your time running around in circles instead of actually exploring foreign soil, then you might need some saving. If you’re like me who has no sense of direction, then I present to you two options: plan out a very detailed itinerary complete with directions to go from place to place, or accept that you can’t read a map to save your life and get a travel buddy who can.
2. You find yourself running low on budget after every a trip
Seeing foreign products (or food) exhilarates you? That’s normal. But buying everything you set your eyes on? That’s dangerous. If you know you’re a compulsive shopper, you need to bring someone reliable. Meaning, you must choose your travel buddy wisely. Don’t bring someone who does nothing but encourage you to buy and buy and buy. Get a travel buddy who can actually stop you from spending your money on everything. Aside from being a good second opinion, a travel buddy is also someone to share travel expenses with.
3. Talking to strangers makes you anxious
It’s often said that solo travel pushes you out of your comfort zone and drives you to grow. However, if you frequently experience serious bouts of social anxiety, then you might want to avoid travelling solo until you’re mentally conditioned. Solo travel requires a lot of social energy from people, because you will most likely find yourself in situations wherein you absolutely need to interact with strangers. If you think you can’t deal with that, then try travelling with a travel buddy first. You don’t have to give up on solo travel totally. You can use your trips with your travel buddy as a training ground for your future trips. Be the one to interact with strangers whenever there’s a chance. At least, you have your travel buddy with you to offer reassurance when things get rough.
4. Travelling makes you sick
Your immune system has always been weak. You suffer from sporadic migraines. You have countless allergies, and might have even more conditions that you don’t know about just yet. If travelling makes you sick, then you definitely need someone to accompany you and make sure you stay alive. Make sure this travel buddy of yours knows you enough and is aware of all your conditions. Oh, and don’t forget to get travel insurance so you won’t put on added stress on your travel buddy.
5. You never have good photos
No matter how hard you try, you just can’t work a self-timer. You’ve been to so many picturesque places around the world, and it frustrates you that you still have no Instagrammable photo. Well, what are travel buddies for? Bring a friend along who you’re comfortable enough with. The least thing you want is still not having good photos because you’re too embarrassed to pose in front of your travel buddy. Make sure to return the favour and take a good photo of them as well.
6. Homesickness often hinders you from enjoying a trip
Emotions are healthy, but once they get in the way of the present, you have to deal with them. If you often find yourself suffering from loneliness when you travel, chances are your personality just isn’t fit to travel solo. A familiar friend will help you combat homesickness because they remind you of comfort amid alien cultures and landscapes.
7. Walking alone makes you paranoid
Growing up, you were conditioned to avoid walking alone because of the dangers in the world. Now that you’re an adult, you can’t shake off the paranoia. But sometimes, it’s reasonable and it keeps us safe. If you feel vulnerable to the risks of solo travel, bring a travel buddy along by all means. At least until you know how to protect yourself.
8. You’re a heavy packer
Always, you have an extra of everything packed in your luggage for cases of emergencies. You love putting on makeup and you hate repeating your shoes, so you pack a month’s worth of items for your week-long trip. Or, you’re on your way to a business meeting which requires you to bring hefty amounts of important documents and equipment. Certainly, you can’t always bring all your luggages with you all the time. You need someone to look over your valuable belongings when you go to the bathroom, or when you take your third trip from hotel room to reception to carry your bags.
9. You often drift to sleep unintentionally
One glaring sign that you cannot travel alone is when you often miss your stop because you keep sleeping through it. Especially during overseas trips, there are several things you can’t afford to miss — boarding times, tour departure times, broadway show curtain times, and restaurant reservations, among many others. If you can’t keep yourself awake, maybe you need someone more reliable than yourself to always stay alert and alive.
10. You feel like you’ve never maximised a trip
For some reason, you just never feel fulfilled after a solo trip. Maybe, you lack trip planning skills. Or, you’re just the type of person who generally enjoys life more with company. That’s completely fine. You don’t have to force yourself to find joy in solo travel. Just because it works for most people, doesn’t mean it has to work for you. As the saying goes, “To each his own.” Travel in a way that makes you happy.
11. You misplace everything
Maybe, you’re not mature enough to travel alone yet. But, you don’t have to renounce travelling once and for all! While training yourself to bloom into a more organised adult, you can already trek the world with more experienced travellers. Don’t feel bad for not being ready to travel alone yet. If your heart is into solo travel, you’ll find yourself there in due time. My advice to you (and to myself) is to treat everyday as an opportunity to grow more and more responsible — eventually, responsible enough to look after yourself under any conditions.
12. Your parents won’t allow you to travel on your own
This used to be a serious dilemma for me and for many of my friends. But, our parents only want to look out for us. So, all you can do for now is try proving to them on a daily basis that you can fend for yourself. It’s a scary world, after all. In the meantime, you can bring someone they trust along with you on your trips. Once they see how equipped you are for travel, they’ll eventually trust you enough to allow you to travel alone.
All these being said, remember to never take your travel buddy for granted. Make sure they enjoy the trip as much as you do, especially because great travel buddies are rare and you won’t want to lose them. As you go on a trip with your much-needed travel buddy, be the travel buddy they need as well.