“I wish I have the courage to travel solo too”. I keep hearing this statement from friends when they find out that I love traveling alone. Almost everyone I know has a wanderlust to travel but there is always that annoying feeling of having to wait for your friends to clear up their schedule or cancel on you at the very last minute. Though it might sound daunting to travel alone, I simply love the feeling of being able to just focus on myself.
- Planning made simple
Have you ever had to cancel your trip just because your friend “suddenly” cannot take leave from work? Well, I’ve been in that situation and that cost me a non-refundable flight ticket! Traveling solo gives you the freedom to choose where and when to go for your holiday. You can choose to travel during a low season where you can find cheaper flight tickets and hotel rooms.
- Spend within your budget
Money would always be a focal point when traveling and this would be more complicated when you have to adjust your budget to suit your travel companion. Everyone has a different budget plan during a travel. For instance, I would rather splurge in a fancy Michelin-starred restaurant in Vienna and settle for a small apartment with Airbnb to make up for it. However, not everybody would trade the comfort of their accommodation for amazing Elk meat!
“I once travel with a friend who was reluctant to take the tube in London because she was too lazy to walk and we ended up taking a taxi which costed us an arm and a leg (freaking expensive especially when you’re converting GBP to MYR!) Now, she only likes my Instagram travel pictures.
- Free upgrade
It’s definitely easier to get a business class upgrade if you are traveling alone. Just imagine a situation when the airline has only ONE vacant upgrade available but you are traveling with your companion! It’s either you have to decline the upgrade offer or face the evil-eye from friend when you land at your destination. I have been upgraded a few times and I consider myself very lucky whenever I can fall asleep on a reclining seat or bed on during a 13-hours flight to London.
!Tip: Airlines will always give priority to their members for an upgrade. So, register yourself on the airline Frequent Flyer club!
- Meeting new people
Being alone and sitting in one corner with an ‘All By Myself’ soundtrack would usually be the biggest fear for someone who is traveling solo. This is a misconception!myth to be broken! I have made so many good friends from my lone ranger trips around the world. While on a boat in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, I met a couple from America (Shannon and Cole), who quit their job and travelled the world for one year! Sometimes you will find friends in the weirdest situations – I became friends with a Hawaiian girl that I met in a small café in Paris when both of us were sitting on different tables. We tried to order wine in French but both failed miserably! Now I can say “Puis-je avoir un verre de vin blanc?” perfectly with a Parisian accent.
- Do what you want
The number one benefit that I get from traveling alone is the freedom to choose to do what I want without thinking about other people. It may sound selfish, but hey, my vacation has to be worth my time and money. I am not a morning person and I certainly hate it when I have to wake up early to go to see the sunrise because all of my friends want to do it. Traveling alone means that I can wake up and have breakfast at 11:00 a.m. or skip the long line to see the Mona Lisa at the Lourve with my other friends because I don’t like crowds and art is not my fancy. You also won’t have anyone nagging you when you’re craving for rice in Germany! As a Kadazan boy, I need to eat rice at least once a day.
- Find yourself
Every time I go traveling alone, I see it as my version of Julia Robert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ journey of my life (actually, I’m more of a Eat, Eat, Eat kind of person). I travelled to Rome specifically to fulfil my late-mom’s wish to see and pray at the St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican. If you are planning to visit the Vatican, make sure that you’re dress appropriately to go to church and take the extra tour to go up to the dome in St Peter Basilica, the highest point in Rome. I believe that traveling alone gives me a chance to know myself better, experience the struggles in asking for direction when you don’t speak the language, and the smile of a new-found-friend. As a bonus, you might also find that you have a great talent in taking killer Instagram pictures!
- Distance is needed in love
Every relationship needs some “alone” time and this is agreed by many couples out there. Sometimes, being away from each other would make you appreciate the person even more especially when you find yourself missing the small things in your partners. Being away doesn’t mean that you stop talking to each other. Nowadays, most places have Wi-Fi and your loved ones are just a “WhatsApp chat” away from you. You know what they say, distance makes the heart grow fonder.
Solo traveling is not for everyone but you will never know until you try it. Some people will swear never to do it again and some will embrace it and travel annually (like me). Whether a beach weekend to Kuala Penyu, a two-week holiday around the world; you should try it at least once. Don’t delay for others to go with you! I recently read that Maldives is sinking due to global warming. I better book my next trip with AirAsia to visit Maldives before the whole island become the next Atlantis!
Three words to describe Dan – paranoid, organized, and fun. He loves (organized) long walks on the beach, smile and joke around while making new friends (vaccinated; and as long as you’re not touchy or clingy), and (responsibly) living life to the fullest!
When Dan is not working his day job, he’s probably jet-setting off to a new destination.