Why People Don’t Travel, Part 1: Fear of Going Solo


JoAnna is a globe-trotting, idea-inventing, culture-collecting creativity connoisseur with a global family of foreign exchange students and rescue pets. You can also find JoAnna at joannahaugen.com.

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23 Responses

  1. Sabina says:

    I strongly agree with all five of the benefits you listed for going it alone. I have found all to be true.

    Another option for people leery of 100 percent doing it on their own is going to their destinations alone, then joining a day tour every once in a while to meet people and not feel so alone.

  2. I know from experience (personally and professionally) one of the major reasons people don’t indulge in life-affirming travel is because they have no one to go with. The internal debate on whether to go usually ends there.

    This is a great article because it gives people a reason to think twice about that argument. And give resources to back up the inspiration to go.

    Thanks, JoAnna! Hopefully this will help people to rethink their solo travel hesitations.

  3. Candice says:

    I was so proud of myself for travelling alone in France, I’m not sure if I would have attempted doing so if I weren’t sent by my work . Sweet tips!

  4. Abbie says:

    The tips are great and the resources are great! I always go back and forth with solo travel… I love traveling solo because (like you said) you can do whatever you want and you can really grow as a person. BUT once you get home it can be really hard to describe your experiences to people who want to “hear all about the trip.” Then again, that’s actually part of the reason I write, so maybe it’s not so bad 😉

  5. Alouise says:

    I like traveling with friends, but I love traveling alone. I did a whirlwind tour of Europe on my own and met tons of great people. But I also really enjoyed the 3 days I spent in London by myself before the tour. When you add too many people in the mix traveling can get stressful. One person wants to see the tourist attraction, another person wants to go shopping, the other wants to drink at the bar all day. Some friends of mine have had some bad tiffs over traveling, they say you don’t really know what a person is like until you’ve traveled with them. When you’re by yourself there’s no one to impress, keep up with or worry about. And even when your alone there’s always ways to meet new people (if you want to).

  6. Janice says:

    Hi JoAnna,

    As always, you’ve offer us an insightful, well written travel piece. I appreciate being included and especially like the fact that you recognize all the others who share their stories on Solo Traveler. Thanks for highlighting what I consider to be an important travel issue.


  7. Heidi Ahrens says:

    I have traveled alone a few times but I don’t like it that much. I find that I can’t re live my experience with others.

    But, the part that I like is that I can truly travel and be on vacation because I follow what i want to do and go at my pace.

    Traveling is so different for each individual.

    Heidi http://outdoorbaby.net

  8. JoAnna, what a nice gift to find journeywoman.com in your list of resources for solo women travellers. This is an excellent article.

    I view solo travel as a rite of passage for both women and men. Everybody at some point needs to leave their ‘safe place’ and venture out into the world – all alone and carrying only a small pack and the things they’ve learned along the way. It’s a fabulous test and guaranteed you’ll have a different , stronger sense of self once you’ve achieved it. Whether your 18 or 80 – I think there’s nothing like it. Go for it!

  9. I think is especially true for women, who feel a little more vulnerable in every day life. So to ask them to hit the road by themselves is like asking them to complete an impossible task.

    Vast majority of women female travelers seem to have a fantastic time and come back refreshed and more self-confident in themselves. It could be the best gift someone gives themselves, man or woman. Don’t shortchange yourself on the experience of a lifetime by waiting on someone else!

  10. I cannot imagine NOT traveling solo. It opens you up to such amazing experiences, let’s you do whatever your heart desires … I travel mostly solo and am preparing for my solo RTW adventure.

  11. Loved this. Actually I love to travel solo, but there are totally reasonable fears to that.

    Your suggestions absolutely overcome all the objections. Excellent thoughts.

  12. I love travelling solo especially for points 1, 2 and 4 that you mentioned.

    Here’s a tip for travellers who want to travel solo and meet new cool solo adventurers: BikeHike Adventures (http://bikehike.com) doesn’t charge single supplement fees and will match you with another female / male to share accommodation and save on travel costs. 😉

  13. Pola says:

    What a great read, JoAnna! If I already didn’t mind traveling solo, I think your tips and list of resources would convince me. 🙂

  14. Mikeachim says:

    Nice work. And spot on.

    I find traveling alone a very *different* experience to traveling with others. I notice different things. I act differently. I *am* different – as you note, there’s more room for spontaneous behaviour, making it up as you go, and it’s also easier to shoulder discomfort when you know it’s only you that’s suffering. 🙂

    To be honest, being on my own? Maybe not always a better experience – but it makes for better writing and better photography.

    • JoAnna says:

      I agree with you. Traveling on my own results in a very different experience. It’s not necessarily better, but it is a different – and much appreciated – experience. Plus, I like knowing that I am able to travel on my own.

  15. When I travel solo, it forces me into a place of independence that is so welcome and quite rare for me, especially now that I am a Mom. I love it. I cherish the few trips I have taken solo.

  16. Nothing like get away singles trips to meet people and have fun. I’m sick of dating around here. Sometimes its just nice to get away and be alone.

  17. Travelleray says:

    Very interesting read indeed!
    I found a great way of connecting with co-travelers through http://www.mingletrips.com/ It would be a lot of fun connecting with them and venturing into newer destinations with them!

    Do check it out soon!

  18. axel g says:

    Nice post!

    Like you said, there are numerous benefits of setting out on your own.

    What makes traveling beautiful is that there are no rules.

    Everyone can find a way that suits them…

  1. January 20, 2010

    […] alone, please check out ‘Ten things to do when you travel alone’ on this blog or ‘Fear of Going Solo’ on the Kaleidoscopic Wandering blog. If you’ve travelled alone or if you’re thinking […]

  2. January 24, 2010

    […] Why People Don’t Travel, Part 1: Fear of Going Solo by my friend JoAnna Haugen of Kaleidoscopic Wandering (and Associate Editor of online travel magazine, Matador).  In this article, JoAnna identifies the problem (fear of traveling alone) and offers several solutions, as well as offering reasons why solo travel is actually a great way to go.  It’s a good read. JoAnna is fast becoming one of the best travel writers on the web, winning two prominent travel writing contests lately.  And while you’re at it, please also read the wonderful story that earned her the grand prize in the WanderWomen Write contest, Building a Family in Kenya.  If you love animals, you’ll love this story. Just make sure you have a Kleenex handy. […]

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