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The Solo Traveler

Posted by Erik Fabregat on Mar 14, 2021 6:26:09 PM

Hipster Solo Traveler checking out European architecture

For some, the idea of traveling alone can seem like a daunting, lonely venture. For others, traversing the globe on their own is the only way they want to do it! While there are benefits that come with both, the trend for solo traveling is on the rise: in 2021, Google Trends data showed that solo travel had risen in popularity by an incredible 761%!

Here are some other interesting statistics on solo travel:

This article will discuss the rise of solo travel, the benefits as well as the downsides, and a few tips on how best to travel alone.

What is Solo Travel?

Solo traveler taking a photo on a boat on a river in Thailand

As the term suggests, “solo travel” is where a person travels alone instead of with a friend, partner or group. It can be anything from short-term solo traveling to a single destination to long-term solo traveling on an extensive journey around the world. 

Regardless of their trip’s duration, those who enjoy solo traveling find it to be an excellent way to discover people, places and, perhaps most importantly, themselves.


Why the Sudden Trend of Traveling Solo

Solo female traveler drinking tea while admiring the Blue Mosque in Turkey

Why exactly are more people traveling solo these days? After all, isn’t traveling with company much more secure and fun? Or do the advantages of being able to do what you want (and when you want) override those benefits?

Let’s explore the pros and cons of each.


The Benefits of Solo Travel

Traveling solo whether on a guided tour or an organized tour through the maze of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul may seem disconcerting at first but leaving your comfort zone and making decisions for yourself reaps its own rewards. Single travelers often have incredibly profound experiences with the ability to embrace the adventures that await around every corner spontaneously.  

Embarking on your first solo travel adventure is the ultimate escape from your normal. Whether going off the beaten path in Central America or staying at many hostels throughout Europe, your first solo trip is one of the best ways to gain independence.

Absolute Freedom

Solo female traveler hiking a trail throwing her arms up in freedom

One of the leading reasons people choose to travel solo is that it affords them 100% freedom. Most people who have traveled with friends or family can relate to having experienced disagreements on where to go, what to do or see next, etc. Compromising your wants and needs to accommodate a companion or group is never a problem when traveling solo; you can do as you please without factoring in others’ plans. Single travelers enjoy advantages that others don’t, and these differences often significantly enrich their experience. 

As an added bonus, waiting for other travelers to be ready to embark on your global adventure is unnecessary when traveling solo— you can book it right now!


Personal Growth

Solo traveler searching destination and route

Another of the advantages of traveling solo is the personal growth that comes from it. When you travel on your own, you are solely dependent upon yourself; there’s no one immediately on hand to help you figure out solutions to challenges that may arise. Just the act of getting out of your comfort zone is in itself empowering.

For example, navigating on your own through the maze of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul may seem disconcerting at first, but many solo travelers have said it’s one of the best experiences of their lives! Expanding your skills and experiences and making decisions for yourself reaps its own rewards, and single travelers often have incredibly profound experiences through embracing the spontaneous adventures that wait around every corner. 


You Meet More People

Solo woman traveler having her photo taken in Lisbon

Besides being accountable only to yourself, traveling alone opens your eyes up to the world. Your focus is not distracted by a travel buddy, and you are in turn more able to fully take in the new surroundings, people and culture.

When you travel with someone, your social interactions can be limited primarily to them. There’s no real need to meet and engage with other people as you already have someone to socialize with, which can have a rather limiting effect on your overall experience.

But when you’re on your own, you are more likely to ask fellow travelers for their contact details. You are forced to meet new people (both locals or fellow travelers). Many solo travelers enjoy connecting with other travelers to swap stories, tips and recommendations. And it’s also a great way to cure loneliness. You can spend time and explore a new city together, or book an amazing experience such as a local cooking class.

Some introverts intentionally embark on solo travel to help bring them out of their shell, and many find that they have much more confidence in social situations back home as a result. Solo travel is a win/win for introverts. While they are forced to get out of their comfort zone and socialize with other solo travelers, they can also properly recharge their “social battery” because they are traveling alone.


Makes You Streetwise

Solo traveller walking dodgy alley holding expensive camera

When you’re traveling solo, you have to remain vigilant. Petty thieves, scammers, and bad actors looking to take advantage of tourists are more likely to target a solo traveler than a group. 

This is not entirely a bad thing, though. Almost every seasoned traveler has a story of getting swindled, ripped off or robbed while traveling (we know this writer has!). As unfortunate and stressful as the experience can be, it teaches you “street smarts” and makes you more careful when it comes to trusting people, taking care of your belongings, and staying sharp-eyed when in dodgy areas.

By the time you’re a seasoned traveler, you’ll have developed a habit of being very aware of your surroundings. Moreover, your judgment of character and gut instinct will be second to none.


The Downsides of Solo Travel

Operating as a solo traveler does pose a few challenges, though many of these obstacles can ultimately serve as the catalyst for several of the pros of solo travel.

Safety and Security

Dangerous neighborhood that a solo traveler should steer clear of

As mentioned above, arguably what holds most travelers back when deciding to go on their first solo trip is personal safety and security. Lone travelers are more vulnerable purely by virtue of not having someone with them every step of the journey to notice if something is awry. This has been voiced as a particular concern for female solo travelers, however it’s interesting to note that women are more likely to travel solo than men. In fact, between 2018 and 2019, over 60,000 women traveled alone. Since then, the trend has been increasing, with 26% of millennial women having traveled solo.

If you’re looking at solo travel as an option, do your research, and if you are concerned about a particular country, ask on chat forums and solo traveler / digital nomad Facebook groups what other solo travelers’ experiences have been. (Make sure to ask when they traveled there as well, as an area’s social and political situation may have changed since then.)

You can also focus your plans on the countries currently rated to be the safest for solo travelers. While various sources vary with their safest destinations, at the time of writing, you cannot go wrong for stress-free solo travel experiences with these top destinations:

  1. Japan
  2. New Zealand
  3. Iceland
  4. Slovenia
  5. Croatia

One or more of these are a fairly safe bet for your first solo trip. And there’s no need to set off worldwide for your first solo adventure; you can just test out one or two countries. Baby steps still move you forward!

However, some of the most popular solo travel destinations are considered unsafe to the outsider, but on the ground the reality can  be in contrast. Think of places with thrilling nightlife such as Berlin, Bangkok and Medellin. These are some of the most popular solo traveler destinations today. If you are concerned about a destination, there a plenty of solo travel Facebook groups you can join and ask advice on.



Young Thai girl solo traveler bored on a train

While you are likely to meet and engage with more new people as a solo traveler, there are times when you may feel lonely, unsettled and perhaps a little homesick. One of the biggest challenges for digital nomads (those who live and work on the road) is this feeling of loneliness. As a result, there are many online support communities for digital nomads and solo travelers, including solo travel Facebook groups.


You Don’t Share Your Experiences With Loved Ones

Woman in black silk robe stands with naked shoulders before a panoramic window in New YorkYou will undoubtedly have some unforgettable experiences on your solo travel that will not be shared with a close friend or family member, and for some people that can be a drawback. On the other hand, sometimes our most profound discoveries and experiences are achieved when we are on our own, without the influence of those who are very familiar to us. (Plus, you will have plenty of travel stories to share back home!)


All the Planning is Your Responsibility

Solo traveler checking flight times and boarding gate

Having a travel buddy can be great when planning, researching and booking transport and accommodations, as you can share the prep work. But it’s up to you when you’re on your own. This can be exhausting, especially if you’re trying to see a lot in a short time. One possible solution to this is to take the slow travel approach, which helps prevent your trip from becoming a blur with little time to relax as you constantly plan your next move.


The distaste for having to do so much research and planning may be one of the reasons why world cruise ships are becoming increasingly popular among solo travelers. The appeal of being able to visit multiple countries with minimal effort is attractive for those traveling on their own. As a result, several cruise lines now cater to solo travelers, where you can get a private room without paying as a couple.

Once you've done a few smaller voyages, you can check out the private rooms on the epic bucket-list around the world cruise. Having so much free time on board can allow you to work remotely if you happen to be a digital nomad.



The Ultimate Solo Travel Solution

MV Narrative residential ship

The Storylines lifestyle is a dream come true for solo travelers who prefer to share their adventures with others while still enjoying autonomy. Storylines MV Narrative, a luxury residential ship designed for traveling the globe, is a state-of-the-art floating community and the ideal solution for solo travelers who want to explore the world with others.

With a variety of well-appointed residences to select from and an outstanding array of dining, entertainment, work areas, leisure spaces, wine cellar with barrel wine on tap, microbrewery and the largest wellness centers at sea , solo travelers can travel more safely and comfortably than ever before. There are ample social opportunities on board, including culinary classes, golf outings, book clubs, fitness classes, social events, and much more, providing plenty of ways to get to know your neighbors.


MV Narrative Luxury Lifestyle and Residential Ship

Residential Lounge - work bench

The number of solo travelers getting onboard the MV Narrative surprised us at first, however once you consider that the ship and lifestyle encompass all that’s good about solo travel without many of the detractors, it makes perfect sense. 

As we’ve discussed, Storylines offers:

  • Absolute freedom: Here, you live, work and play worldwide.
  • Personal and professional growth: Learn not only from the world around you but from the wide scope of knowledge and experience of your fellow residents.
  • Meet more people: You’ll be friends (and neighbors!) with fellow passionate solo travelers and will create memories that will last a lifetime.

The Storylines lifestyle also eliminates many of the downsides for the solo traveler:

  • Safety and security: While traveling solo, you will still have a whole community and staff onboard who will look out for your welfare. From a health perspective, there is an onboard medical facility with full-time doctors, nurses and support staff.
  • Decisions and planning: While Storylines is not a cruise ship, there are similarities regarding ease of travel. Your itinerary, transportation, shore excursions and overland tours can all be handled on your behalf.
  • Loneliness: With an onboard community (including other solo travelers), you are much less likely to experience the loneliness that often afflicts a traditional solo traveler.
  • Shared experiences: Along with sharing unforgettable experiences with your neighbors, you can invite friends or family onto the ship to share a leg of the journey and create lifelong memories.

Storylines Solo Traveler Community

Female solo traveler looking at shore excursion guide with residential cruise ship in background

“The best way to meet new friends is to travel. And since we will all be residents, we already have something in common. I love traveling solo. I go where I want when I want.”

~ Myla from Arizona 


“With so many like-minded adventurous travelers on board, at any time, a single traveler could easily find other singles and groups to make friends with, as we all will be doing. There are meals, planned events and unstructured events to wander into; the opportunities are endless. We have all met interesting people on board short cruises, but we knew it was unlikely we would see them again. This is an entirely different situation.”

~ Jon from Massachusetts 


“Who wouldn’t want to join us?! This is perhaps the best lifestyle available to anyone on the planet.”

~ Martin from New South Wales 


We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

If you’re a passionate traveler who wants to see the world in one of the smoothest, safest, and most enjoyable ways possible without sacrificing all the freedom that comes with solo travel, then joining us aboard the MV Narrative may be the perfect fit for you!



Topics: Solo Travelers

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