Recently I was speaking to a friend about the pros and cons of being single. The pros being that you can be an independent woh-man who can go everywhere without needing someone to check up on you, the negatives being that you don’t have anyone to put suncream on your back when we’re blessed with hot, sunny days. That got me thinking about the similarities between being single and travelling alone – I mean, it’s not entirely different let’s be honest here, but I guess it’s a lot easier to ask a fellow backpacker by the pool to get their hands creamy then it is to ask Paul the Gardener. I digress. Here are, what I believe to be, the TOP 5 annoying things about travelling solo:
IT COSTS MORE MONEY
Not to sound incredibly unromantic here, but when you’re not travelling with a partner or friends, rooms can sometimes get expensive. Sure the hostel beds are always going to be pennies, but when you’re travelling alone and you want to splurge on a private room, it’s always nice when the room is halved. I like looking for pretty cool, unique hotels too and I don’t have a problem with going by myself but it’s always nice when you’re paying half right? Yes, watching the purse strings and all that.
SOMETIMES SOLO IS LONELY
I love love love travelling solo by myself. In fact, I think I’m going to have to be really picky about anyone I go away with because there’s a strong chance they’ll have to give me an hour a day of me time. Having said that, travelling by yourself can actually get really really lonely. You’ll meet some great people for a period of time, become best friends and then go your separate ways. Or you’ll meet someone great, and you’ll never hear from them again. As much as it can be nice to recharge and get back to doing you, sometimes those long bus journeys would be made nicer if you had a shoulder to lie on, rather than a window pane. Sometimes it’s nice to do nothing WITH someone than it is to do it alone.
‘CAN YOU WATCH MY STUFF WHILST I PEE?’
You’ve really really got to trust your instincts when you’re travelling by yourself. 99% of the time I take everything with me – and I mean everything – if I’m working in a restaurant and need to pee – but then you risk losing your table obviously. Sometimes I might leave a book on the table or something, so people know it’s occupied, other times I may have trusted the backpackers next to me with looking after something, but still it gets frustrating taking 15 minutes to pack everything up and to try and carry everything on your lap whilst you pee so it doesn’t touch the toilet floor which may or may not be completely soaking wet. I remember, throughout my time travelling in India, and certain parts of Asia, the hole in the floor situation made things more challenging shall we say. Imagine jumping off a nightbus, having to beg the driver (and hope he understands) to wait for you whilst you find a hole in the ground to pee in (or behind a tree if you’re lucky), with your main backpack with all your clothes in the underbelly of the coach and having to carry your valuables and your hand luggage above your head whilst peeing in said hole in floor or ‘toilet’ that they’ve stopped off at.. It made my arms strong I’ll tell you that.
If you’re a sucker for a hug (pre-covid times) and you’re feeling homesick, the two combined are both pretty inconvenient to say the least when you’re travelling alone. As tempting as it is to use this an excuse to chat up the hot person sitting next to you, I don’t recommend it and you will come across weird. Facetimes with family and friends at certain points of the day definitely help, but still, sometimes you just need a good ol’ hug.
‘WHO’S GOING TO CREAM MA BACK?’
Exactly. I know I’ve mentioned it in the intro, but it’s actually a very legitimate question. Who is going to put suncream on your back in the absurdly boiling tropical temperatures you’ll be encountering on your travels? And more precisely, who’s going to be after-sunning you? Picture this. You arrive at said hostel after a very sweaty bus ride and all you’ve been dreaming about is the swimming pool and getting your tan on for a day. You get to your dorm, throw on your bikini, get to the pool and stare up at the 30 degree sun. You must get that suncream on your back – but you have JUST ARRIVED. Do you make friends first and then ask? Do you stand proudly with your pale – soon to be extremely sunburnt if you do not find a hand soon – skin and just bound up to the nearest sunbather for help? What if they say no? Exactly. I still haven’t mastered it. I usually attempt it myself with a helpless face until someone comes to my rescue, but still. These things are just the things you need someone travelling with you for.
That’s my top 5 – what do you think? What situations have you encountered where it was better for you to have had someone there? Let me know in the comments below!