I’m sure you will understand when I say that I was afraid to travel alone. I wouldn’t get surprised if you were, too. I got that fear from the misconceptions I had even before I even tried it. I thought traveling solo was dangerous, boring, requires more effort, or just not as fun as traveling with friends. While many people, including myself, debunked these myths about traveling solo, there’s still one thing that many people think about solo traveling that I think is not true – that traveling solo is more expensive than traveling as a group.
I see why many people think of this. We think that having companions mean you get to share with many things, thus expenses on the road. While this is true in a way, this is not always the case. In fact, it wasn’t the case at all for me.
I thought I would be able to spend more money if I traveled solo, that’s why I always chose to travel with my friends, boyfriend, or sister. Until I experienced traveling alone and found that most of my beliefs regarding solo traveling were only misconceptions. When I first planned on traveling alone, I brought twice the amount of money I would normally do if I was traveling with friends, just to make sure I wouldn’t get short throughout my trip. To my surprise, I didn’t even spend half of what I’d have spent if I was with my friends!
How did I say this? You may ask. Well, here are some of the things I discovered…
- You don’t have to pay for expensive double room accommodation
When traveling as a couple or as a group, it is a lot likely for you to get private accommodations. When I was traveling with my friends in The Philippines, a lot of them didn’t like the idea of staying in a hostel. So, we ended up paying between $35 and $50 per room that can be shared by two persons. That means I paid an average amount of $17 to $25 per night.
If I was traveling solo, I would have stayed in a hostel which normally costs between $6 and $13 per night in the same country. This, of course, will depend on where in the world you are.
- You don’t have to spend a lot of money on food
This is another issue I noticed when I travel in group. Whenever I travel with my friends, we often find ourselves eating all the time. I know this is something that I have control over, but if someone wants to eat a delicious coconut ice cream on a street in Bangkok, how can I possibly just watch them eat that delicious delicacy without trying it myself?
There were also times when my friends wanted to eat at fancy restaurants while I was on a budget. I know, I can simply tell them I don’t want to eat there, but I didn’t want to kill their excitement. Especially that we are traveling and we wouldn’t be able to visit the same restaurant every day.
On the other hand, whenever I travel alone, I can just eat whenever I want to. I don’t feel pressured to eat just because one of my friends is complaining about being hungry.
- You don’t have to be pressured to try attractions you don’t like
Of course, traveling always includes seeing new attractions or doing some sort of unique activities. While trying out new things in a place you have never been before could be a great experience, there are instances where you don’t really want to try it because (1) you don’t find them interesting; or (2) you think they are too expensive.
I once traveled with my sister in India. She wanted to try zip lining, which is okay, but the thing is that she didn’t want to do it alone. I, on the other hand, don’t find it interesting anymore because I have done it several times before. I wanted to decline, but I didn’t want to spoil her excitement to try it. So, of course, I did it with her. I didn’t regret doing it because it was a fun experience, but if I was there alone, I could have saved my money and also not regret for not doing it.
- You don’t spend a lot for drinks
This is of course, not the same with everyone, but whenever I travel alone, I don’t drink as much as I do when I travel with friends. Sure, I meet new friends on the road who I ended up drinking with, but it’s a rare occasion. Also, there are times when I even get free drinks from new people I meet as a solo traveler!
When I travel to the city, I don’t get overstretched as I don’t have friends who want to experience the nightlife with a lot of drinks.
- You don’t have to pay all the time
Yes, there were a lot of instances when I got free stuff because I was alone. I backpacked to South America for two months, and half of the long-distance transportations I had didn’t cost me anything. I find it easier to hitchhike when you’re solo. Yes, some people may find it risky, but on countries where hitchhiking is common, this is a good way to save money. Imagine if you are traveling in a bigger group, you will have less chance to get a car stopped at the road for a hitchhike.
Another instance is when I Couchsurf. There are more hosts that accept one guest on their place for free accommodation. I hardly find a host that can accommodate bigger groups of travelers.
Like I said earlier, this is based on my own experience. Of course, there are always benefits when traveling as a group, but when it comes to expenses, I don’t fully agree with the common belief that you can save more money when you don’t travel alone. Sure, this depends on the people you are with, but for me, it’s always easier to save more when I travel solo.
If you like this article, make sure to visit www.fortravelista.com for more tips and tricks to make the most of your trip whether you are traveling solo or with a companion or two.