Stop waiting for others: Here’s why being alone doesn’t need to stop you from travelling
You’ve got the money, you’ve got the time and you’re all ready to jet off and travel the world. There’s only one problem, you’ve got no one to go with.
Going travelling is one of the most exciting experiences ever so it can seem crazy that’s it’s often hard to rustle up people who are willing to do it. The reality is that travelling takes time, money and a lot of effort and most people can’t just give up everything and go off for a few months the second they feel like it, which can be so frustrating if you’re ready to do just that.
However having no one to go with is really no issue so, whether you’re on your gap year, planning summer travels or taking a break from work, here’s what to do if you want to travel but have no-one to travel with.
If you’ve never travelled by yourself before then the idea of heading off to another country or countries on your own can seem really daunting but solo travel is one of the most liberating and rewarding experiences ever and just because you’re travelling solo, it doesn’t mean you have to be alone.
Travelling offers more opportunities to meet people than any other time in your life, particularly in popular backing countries like Thailand and Indonesia. If you’re worried about meeting people then book yourself into a sociable hostel, (look for party hostels) and really put yourself out there. If you’re willing and open to meet people then you’ll barely have a second alone. When people ask me if I’m going solo travelling? I say ‘no, I’m travelling with friends I just haven’t met yet’.
Book a group tour
Gone are the days that a group tour meant boring. Thanks to adventure travel companies like Busabout, Contiki and G Adventures, there are so many young, fun, active and largely inexpensive tours out there all across the world. These are a great option to ease you into travel if you’re worried about going solo as you’ll be travelling as part of a group. These tours will usually arrange all your accommodation and transportation, and some even include meals. You could always leave some time at the end of your tour for some more travelling, as people in your tour will probably be staying on and you’ll most likely feel more confident as a traveller at that point anyway.
If you want a compromise between a group tour and solo travel then you could consider travelling with a hop on- hop off bus pass. These passes include your transport and some activities but allow you to travel independently at your own pace and without a tour guide. This can be less stressful than travelling fully solo but less structured than a tour. You’ll also have a member of staff that you can contact if you have any issues. A good company for these hop on-hop off passes is Bamba (bambaexperience.com), as they have passes all over the world.
Couch surfing is a really unique way to travel abroad. It works by matching travellers with locals in the area who will let you stay in their home for free. This allows you to experience places like a local and it means that you arrive at least knowing someone. It’s also a really good way to save money. Granted this isn’t going to be for everyone but its worth taking a look online either way. (www.coachsurfing.com)
Sometimes having some structure when you’re away can make the idea of travelling by yourself so much less daunting. There are limitless opportunities to find work all over the globe, which not only means guaranteed structure and company but it’s also a culturally enriching experience and it allows you to save money and travel for longer. Just a few of the very many work abroad options include; Working visa in Australia, New Zealand or Canada, Doing a ski season, Tefl, Scuba instructor/ training in Thailand, Hostel or conservation work (Lots of these listed on Workaday.info), Camp America, Kibbutz in Israel, Au pair jobs, ashram in india).
Volunteer programs are another fantastic way to spend some time abroad if you have no one to travel with. Volunteering is also a great option as it can be really rewarding and may be beneficial to your future career goals or interests. There are a few different types of volunteering that you can do abroad.
These can be run by tour companies like Frontier, Intrepid and GVI, or by charities and these tend to cost some money. However they are generally cheaper and longer than just booking on to a group tour to travel. These programs also usually include accommodation and food. You can do any thing from marine and wildlife conservation projects, to construction or teaching. Loads of companies also offer really career specific volunteer projects which can give you credits that go towards a uni application. Just make sure that any volunteering you do is with a reputable company as some volunteer programs can do more harm than good.
Another great way to find more informal and cheaper volunteer projects is on sites like workaway.info and goabroad.com which have a range of listings from conservation work to construction projects and often exchange voluntary work for food and accommodation.
Study abroad and internships
Studying abroad is a fantastic decision if you want to spend some time away but maybe don’t feel confident to just go off alone. It also means that you’re gaining an education while experiencing the world too. There are endless ways and endless options for places and subjects to study abroad.
Firstly some travel companies like frontier offer study abroad programs. They have loads of options from wildlife conservation internships to journalism internships. Another idea is doing a TEFL internship which combines studying for your TEFL certification to teach english in another country and then usually incorporates a work placement after.
If you’re interested in leaning another language then why not enrol at a language school. Central/ South America and Europe are all great places to do these. You may also want to look at doing a language course with Education First which have lots of language schools all over the world and offer a very social experience.
Depending on your hobbies, there are so many ways to study absolutely anything abroad so get inventive. There are plenty of sports programs out there, international art schools or cooking schools so whatever you want to do, there’s a way to incorporate it with travelling.
Combining university and travel
If you’re wanting to travel in the future then you may want to consider a year abroad. A lot of universities offer year abroad in second or third year and these are usually listed on the university’s website so, if you’re thinking about a degree then finding a course which has this option could be ideal.
I hope this post has shown you that not having anyone to go with you doesn’t have to mean that you can’t go travelling. There are so many ways to get out there and see the world, even if you don’t quite feel ready to tackle solo travel.
Sometimes when you’re at home deciding to do what next, the amount of options out there can seem overwhelming but don’t let it get you down too much. Follow your heart and pick something and somewhere that appeals to you. One thing I’ve learnt is that when it comes to travel, there are no wrong choices.
Do you have any more thoughts on this topic? If so drop me a line or leave a comment below!