Solo Travel is Hard

Solo Travel Nicaragua Leon

It’s only been a week and a half, because I don’t count my time at Spanish school as solo travel. For one, I wasn’t traveling; I was living with a family. And, for another reason, there were other students to hang out with all the time. I was rarely alone. So, I have only been traveling alone for about 10 days, and I am glad it’s almost over. Solo travel is hard.

THE GOOD part of solo travel

There are a lot of things to like about solo travel. I was able to go see some amazing places that no one else I knew had the time to visit with me! I did it anyway. Plus, when alone, I can do what I want when I want.

Generally I don’t sleep late, so not having to wait for anyone in the morning is a plus. I also don’t take long to get ready, so not having to wait for someone else is good too. Being solo, I can get up and go – get coffee, breakfast or start a tour at 7am which is nice. 

Another positive is I make all the decisions, so I only do what I want to do. No compromising in solo travel. I also can decide on a whim to go to a museum or on a tour and not to have to sell anybody else on it. It’s all up to me. Plus, I got to spend my downtime however I wanted, got some good night’s sleeps (not easy with all the noisy animals in Nicaragua) and read a lot of good books on my iPad.

Selfie, Beach day, Nicaragua
Selfie on a happy beach day in San Juan del Sur

The Not So GooD: it’s lonely

A lot of the time, for me at least, solo travel meant being alone. I don’t mind being alone. It gives me the opportunity to watch what’s going on around me and experience the world. But then it can also get boring. Or lonely. Meals especially. Who wants to read during every meal? Not me. I am done with it.

joining tours

The good thing in Nicaragua is a lot of the interesting sights involve tours. (You can’t visit most of the volcanoes on your own. They don’t allow it.) And most of those tours have involved other people. Volcano hikes, coffee tours, and city tours are great ways to share in the company of others.

Most of the people who tour around Nicaragua have been very interesting too! I met a Belgian coffee processor, a Kentucky documentary filmmaker, Australian backpackers, an American retiree who volunteers to teach Nicaraguans sustainable farming techniques, and more.

Cerro Negro Volcano Boarding
My volcano boarding group

There was also my last night in León, where I spent a couple hours with Silke, my friend from Toronto, who had just arrived to town! That was a treat!

But most of the time, I was eating alone, riding buses alone and visiting museums alone. I got to see a lot of cool things, and I don’t regret it, but I prefer company! I am ready to end the solo travel and go back to being social.

company is coming

Good timing too! Brian is almost here! Technically, he should be here already, but he wandered too far in the Mexico City airport and missed his connection. I really don’t know how it happened, but for me, it meant another night of meeting new people at the Managua airport hotel and reading my book. It’s been fun, but I am ready for company.

Today I head to Corn Islands. Hopefully Brian will be there too. It looks like a paradisiacal Caribbean vacation spot, with diving, lobster and beachfront relaxing in our future.

Have you ever tried traveling alone and do you have any tips to improve solo travel for me or other travelers? Share in the comments!

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Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, blogging about the places we visit and the adventures we have. Love hiking, cycling, scuba, animals and adventure.

7 thoughts on “Solo Travel is Hard”

  1. I am by nature kind on introverted and solo travel is good at pushing me out of that bubble- it forces me to talk to people. I also like to meander which is better done alone. My perfect travel, however, is with one or two low-key friends who are flexible.

  2. I agree. Solo traveling can be tough but it is also so rewarding and pushes people out of their comfort zone and you can end up making some great friends along the way – which is absolutely amazing! Great article!

  3. I travelled solo for many years. I enjoyed the flexibility and freedom of making my own plans. And most of the time I did not feel lonely. But I did take group tours to share the travel experiences.

  4. I 100% agree with you about the pros and cons of solo travel. I’m always amazed by how quickly I get tired of my own company. I’m glad Brian will be with you soon!

  5. It’s interesting to see this after reading about a zillion posts about how solo travel is the best thing since sliced bread!

    I don’t mind solo travel (especially if I don’t have friends that want to join me) but I have to admit, I almost always find it *more* fun if I travel with my partner of mates. I guess the thing I like about solo travel is making new friends. But then, i’d be less solo…so it doesn’t really count.

  6. I lived in Germany for a year and did some solo traveling during that time. They were mostly day trips or weekend trips though – just the right amount of time to get out and do my thing, explore on my own, but not get too lonely. Still, it was an unforgettable experience – I’d recommend solo travel for everyone at least once!

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