Traveling (riding) solo

Before I left for study abroad, there were two things I knew for certain: 1.) I wanted to visit Budapest. 2.) I wanted to travel somewhere by myself. After arriving in Prague and beginning to plan out my trips for the semester, it became clear that the only way for me to visit Budapest would be to travel there by myself.

Even though I’d known for a long time that I wanted to take a solo trip during my time abroad, my decision to actually do it wasn’t an easy one. To be perfectly honest, I was pretty scared. I would be conquering a new city, country, language, currency, etc. But unlike my previous trips, I would be taking this on completely by myself. Not to mention the fact that while guys are free to travel solo around Europe, girls are often cautioned against doing so for safety reasons. And if you know me at all, you know my overactive imagination convinced me out of this trip several times.

Of course, I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I didn’t end up going to Budapest. So what changed? For one thing, the trip was scheduled for April 14th (I know, I’m very behind on writing these blog posts), over halfway through my semester. By the time the trip came around, I knew I would have accumulated enough traveling experience to manage just fine on my own. However, the main reason I ultimately decided to go was because I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. I desperately wanted to see Budapest, and I knew the only thing stopping me was me. So, I pushed myself outside my comfort zone and booked a bus to Budapest.

My actual trip to Budapest is discussed in another post (coming soon!!!) because in this post I wanted to focus on my experience of traveling alone. Here’s a Pros/Cons list (well, Cons/Pros) for anyone considering solo traveling.

Cons

Sometimes it’s scary

Let’s be honest, being alone in an unknown city/country can be pretty scary. It’s up to you to decipher a new language, figure out directions, and find transportation. It’s pretty terrifying to be lost alone at night in an new place (yes, that happened to me once). But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? And since it didn’t kill me, I’m definitely better off because of it now.

ISO Photographer

It might seem superficial, but pictures are an important part of traveling. Everyone wants pictures to help remember their trip. But, as you might expect, traveling alone makes it sorta difficult to leave with pictures of yourself on vacation. I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t this why selfie sticks were invented? And to that, I say probably. But when you’re awkward with selfies like I am, selfie sticks aren’t really an option. And without a selfie stick, your only option is asking strangers to take pictures of you. So in my case, that meant leaving Budapest with lotsss of landscape photos.

Traveling alone is more expensive and more work

If you’re cost-conscious, traveling with other people makes your trips less expensive. Ubers and hotel room costs can add up, so it’s always nice having other people around to help share the financial burden. Solo traveling also means it’s up to you to plan everything: restaurants, museums, tours. Something to consider if you don’t love to plan.

It can be lonely

Besides their money and photo-taking skills, travel companions are great company too. I’m a pretty big proponent of alone time, so this one surprised me. As much as I love my time alone, traveling solo could sometimes be pretty lonely. Some things just aren’t fun to do alone, such as eating dinner, going out, or certain activities (in Budapest, the thermal baths). Unfortunately, at times, traveling alone was more lonely than it was relaxing.

Pros

It’s freeing

Traveling alone is a very freeing feeling. No worrying about the needs and concerns of your travel partners. Every choice is yours; it’s just you, yourself, and you.

You’re in charge of your schedule

Being in charge of your own schedule means you’re completely free to do or see whatever you want. You can eat when you’re hungry or go back to the hotel and rest when you’re tired. Hell, you could spend all day in your hotel room if you wanted (but like, please don’t do that). You get to make your trip into whatever you want it to be.

Having your own hotel room is bomb

One of my favorite parts about traveling alone was having a hotel room to myself. I loved being able to spread my stuff out everywhere, sleep diagonally in a Queen-sized bed, and take up the bathroom for as long as I wanted. It’s the little things, y’know?

It’s a confidence booster

Traveling alone made me feel more capable and independent. If I could conquer a new city and country all by myself, what else could I do?

I’m so glad I pushed myself to travel alone. I learned so much and it allowed me to see a really amazing city that I wouldn’t have gotten to see otherwise. While in the future you’ll find me mostly traveling with friends and family, I won’t shy away now if the opportunity arises again to travel solo.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Traveling (riding) solo

  1. jocjarmom says:

    I was so proud of you for taking this step Joc! And of course, the fact that Jared and I had just been there 2 weeks earlier and could advise you made the trip a little easier. Wish you could have joined us in Budapest, but so glad you made it there anyway… one of my favorite cities! And you conquered it on your own.

    Like

  2. Marjorie Greenberg says:

    Thanks for this interesting post. I think it describes the pros and cons well, and there really are no cons (other than not speaking Hungarian!) to going to Budapest! I wasn’t there alone, but I did go to the thermal baths on my own and found it rather adventurous!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rbbrand says:

    I am absolutely loving your posts and your experiences. Your Budapest trip brings back memories of my own solo journey (Munchen, Vien, Venice and Roma) of ten days. It was, as you said, somewhat scary and exhilarating at the same time. I certainly gained much from that experience as you have from your own.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s