10 Solo Travel Myths That Shouldn’t Put You Off!

Solo travel myths

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After several years travelling solo around the world, I’ve become accustomed to people’s reactions as well as the many solo travel myths that some people believe to be true. I’ve been asked if I’m scared of being murdered, if I live off my parent’s money and many other bizarre and unhelpful questions.

The reactions of others can be a lot to navigate! Some people are supportive, some are jealous, some are scathing and some are downright confused why I want to do this and how I can do this. I try not to let it bother me. More often than not, I roll my eyes and laugh at these unfounded comments.

Hey, I get it! What I do is not necessarily the norm and I understand why people don’t always get it. But at the same time, I wouldn’t want other women to believe these myths and assume they can’t or shouldn’t travel solo.

Since there are so many strange things people assume, I’m going to break down the main myths about solo travel and, hopefully, debunk them!

Read next: 101 solo female travel tips!

These are (some of the) things people assume about travelling solo…

1. You won’t have any photos of yourself

Hold up – have you seen my blog and Instagram?!

Travelling in Glasgow solo travel myths
Case in point!

This is absolutely a solo travel myth. There are so many ways to be in your own photos. If you don’t believe me, check out my guide to solo travel photography.

Personally, I travel with a Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod which I love. It’s super lightweight and quick to set up. Asking strangers to take your photo can work but I personally prefer taking my time and doing it myself. When I don’t fancy carrying my tripod, I have a teeny Joby GorillaPod which weighs nothing and can be attached to surfaces with its bendy legs.

Taking photos of yourself while travelling solo just requires a little creativity. I’ll admit there are days when I can’t be bothered which is fine, too. But for the most part, I succeed in creating photo memories without much effort. It’s worth it!

2. It’s way more expensive to travel solo

I can safely say I travel cheaper solo than most people I know in groups or pairs.

Consider that hostels can cost as little as £2 a night (hello, Vietnam!), public transport is priced per person, and there’s no surcharge on meals for one.

Of course, there are extra costs when you need to call a taxi or want a private room. However, in my personal experience, I’ve found these things are balanced by the fact I can manage my own budget. When travelling with a buddy, I often end up spending based on anyone else’s wants or needs.

Hue Vietnam
Vietnam is an affordable place to travel solo

Ways to travel cheaply as a solo traveller

  • Stay in hostels or private rooms within shared Airbnbs
  • Download public transport apps like CityMapper to suss out buses and underground trains
  • Use UberPool rather than regular Uber.

There are plenty of ways to travel cheaply as a solo traveller so don’t get too hung up on the costs!

3. You’ll get lonely

I frequently hear ‘I’d never travel solo because I’d be lonely!’ or worse, ‘you’ll be lonely’.

First, let’s separate ‘lonely’ and ‘alone’. The first is a feeling and the second is a state. They don’t necessarily come together. You can feel lonely, misunderstood or alienated in company. You can feel empowered and happy alone.

I’m not proclaiming you’ll never feel lonely travelling solo. But I AM saying lonely and alone aren’t mutually exclusive. Don’t assume by travelling solo you are destined for a lonely experience.

Actually, you’re likely to meet people while travelling solo and make plenty of meaningful and lasting connections. And if you do get lonely, there are plenty of ways to combat and overcome the feeling. It’s not game over. I share my advice in my guide about the downsides of solo travel.

Making friends sol travel myths
You’re allowed to make friends while travelling solo!

4. It’s too dangerous

This solo travel myth is toxic. Firstly, it’s used as a scaremongering technique by media outlets to convince people that the world is dangerous for females and, even more toxically, that women ‘deserve’ the isolated incidents that very occasionally happen.

Camden street art
Safe, happy and debunking solo travel myths!!

How many more women would have travelled solo if they weren’t told travel was too ‘dangerous’ for them? I’d imagine thousands if not millions.

Let’s remember, bad things can happen anywhere. In your home country, your hometown and yes, even inside your own home. Travelling isn’t what harms women; it’s attitudes towards women which exist universally.

While I can’t promise that nothing bad will ever happen while travelling solo, I can tell you that I’ve safely travelled around 58 countries, many of them solo including India, South Africa and Mexico. If I’d believed that solo travel was too dangerous based on my gender, I would have missed the best moments and experiences of my life.

5. Eating out alone is problematic

Just so you know, I don’t hide inside when the sun sets like a reverse vampire, eating pot noodles in bed!

Eating out solo is not such a bad thing. I used to feel overwhelmed at the idea of eating in a restaurant by myself but now it really doesn’t bother me. Initially, I’d always bring a book or podcast to look busy and distracted. Now I can do it without distraction.

Eating out while travelling solo
Drinking coffee solo is a hobby of mine

Also, there are plenty of alternatives if you feel stressed about meals out solo. Start by eating out for lunch which always feels less formal, or why not eat at the bar where you can chat to the staff? Plus, there are always takeaway mobile apps that you can order from when you want a night off.

Another option is EatWith, a website for food experiences including cooking classes, supper clubs, workshops and food tours.

6. Only single people travel solo

A pet peeve of mine? When people use ‘single’ and ‘solo’ as synonyms.

People often suggest solo travel is an activity for young, single women before they marry and presumably get chaperoned around for the rest of their lives? Nope. Solo travel is for anyone!

I know married people who travel solo. And I know couples AND single people who don’t travel. It’s not just for one type of person: travelling solo is an empowering and FUN experience and something I love to do regardless of relationship status.

This links to my next point…

7. Solo travel is for when you have no one to go with

I’ll admit that back in 2015, I believed this solo travel myth!

Solo travel in Romania

In fact, I did go travelling solo because I had no one to go with – initially. But I learnt from the experience that there are so many other reasons to travel solo: the freedom it brings, having complete control of your plans, and the many life skills you gain.

Nowadays, I travel solo because it works well for me. I rarely seek out group tours and travel buddy Facebook groups like I did during my first solo trip (but these are great options if they suit your style – and yet more evidence you don’t have to be alone while travelling solo).

Read next: Solo travel vs group travel – which is right for you?

8. Travelling solo requires you to be ‘brave’

I’m frequently told I’m ‘brave’ for travelling solo. For starters, this comes across like a threat. I hear, ‘you should be scared!’.

But overlooking this, I’d argue you don’t have to be a sassy superwoman to go places alone.

Cooking class in mexico
Brave or just hungry?

Solo travel isn’t reserved for tough women who know no fear. Solo travel is accessible for anyone: introverts, those who like their own company, and those who are still working on this valuable life skill.

You don’t need to be born with random Beyonce-like self-esteem to go travelling. It’s the trials and tribulations, the obstacles you overcome, and the time you spend with yourself that build your self-confidence and leave you feeling ‘brave’ (whatever that means to you) by the end of your trip.

9. Solo travel is what follows a life-changing event

I remember telling someone in a hostel in South Africa that I’d arrived in the country overland after camping my way there from Kenya. She clapped her hands and said ‘who broke your heart? I’ll pour you a drink!’

I remember being baffled and feeling like my adventures were ‘less’ because there was no special story behind them. She didn’t seem to believe that I just really love travel.

Solo female travel South Africa
In Cape Town after my overlanding adventure

I understand where she was coming from: solo travel is a liberating experience often associated with soul searching after a breakup or huge life event. Perhaps that’s why she was travelling solo – I totally respect and admire that!

But the way I see it, travel is incredible. The world is full of fascinating places waiting to be explored. So here’s your reminder – you can travel solo just because you want to! Don’t think you have to wait for a reason or a sign from the universe.

10. Someone else is paying for your trip

Several times while travelling solo, people have said ‘are your parents paying for this?’, ‘do you have a trust fund?’ or, in complete confusion, ‘how are you affording this?’

Would they say the same if I were male? I always want to give them a sarcy ‘I just use the money tree, don’t you?’ but I know it’s not their fault. Perhaps it’s a cultural thing or an age thing because I rarely get this comment from other backpackers. Usually, it’s from older people who aren’t trying to be rude; perhaps they don’t know how affordable budget travel be these days!

Anyway, regardless of their intention or my reactions, it’s 100% a solo travel myth that women can’t work hard, get good jobs, budget, manage their finances and save money to travel the world!

Thanks for reading these solo travel myths!

Did you previously believe any of these? What other assumptions about solo travel have you encountered?

Check out my solo travel blogs:

See you next time,

Rose

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