15 Myths About Traveling Alone You Should Never Believe

Traveling solo can be safe, rewarding, and quite affordable.

Famous destination landmark in Europe
Updated May 28, 2024
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The idea of traveling alone to an unknown place can be intimidating. But solo travel can also be incredibly rewarding.

You’ll find countless tales online from travelers who describe the joys of exploring a new place on their own that will make you want to finally ignore some misguided notions and step up your travel game in 2024.

If you’re unsure about whether to embark on a solo adventure, perhaps some of the following common myths about solo travel are holding you back. 

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It is way more expensive

miss creative/Adobe standing in fantasy landscape

Savvy solo travelers know how to enjoy their vacation without jeopardizing their financial fitness.

While it’s true that traveling solo means you won’t split the bill for accommodations, there are many ways for those on solo vacations to travel affordably.

Even if you spring for a private hotel room over something like a hostel, you can hunt for cheaper accommodations, use public transportation, and take many more steps to save money.

You must be an extrovert

vejaa/Adobe vacation holiday trip

Those on the shy side might worry that traveling alone will feel lonely. However, you don’t have to be all that outgoing to connect with others when you travel.

Sign up for a tour group or stay in an area where many other travelers pass through. Simply asking people where they are from is a great conversation starter.

It is dangerous — particularly for women

Daxiao Productions/Adobe memories on holiday european architecture

A common misconception about solo travel is that it’s dangerous, particularly for women. But the potential for danger lurks everywhere, even when you are at home.

Fortunately, there are steps solo travelers can take to make any destination safer.

Follow common sense safety tips when traveling solo. Don’t share where you’re staying with others. Also, try to blend in with locals by dressing and acting in ways that conform to the social norms of the place you are visiting.

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It is only for single people

Peera/Adobe temple at lampang thailand

Many people believe that solo travel is for single people only, and that those in relationships would never embark on a journey alone.

However, it is rare for partners to share all the same travel dreams. So, rather than dragging your significant other to some place that person would rather not be, consider taking a trip alone.

You are too old

Courtney Haas/peopleimages.com/Adobe taking photo of historic building

Many wrongly assume that solo travel is only for recent high school or college graduates, or those looking to explore before settling into a career.

However, people at all stages of life take solo trips. Don’t let stereotypes prevent you from fulfilling travel dreams.

It is hard to get good photos of yourself

Soloviova Liudmyla/Adobe photo on amazing ocean coast

It may not be as easy as asking your spouse or travel buddy to snap a few photos of you, but plenty of solo travelers take great pictures of themselves during trips.

There are many gadgets to help you capture great photos, from fancy compact tripods to simple selfie sticks.

It is lonely

Song_about_summer/Adobe man enjoying sunset

It’s common to conflate being alone with loneliness, but that can be a mistake. A packed vacation itinerary rarely leaves time for loneliness.

If you need proof, the sheer popularity of solo travel should be enough. Solo travelers make up 17% of all who travel globally these days, according to data from WTM Global Hub, an online portal for travel industry professionals.

You will get bored

Kittiphan/Adobe sunset on the tranquil beach

Certain aspects of traveling are boring no matter who you are with. For example, few travelers are thrilled by the prospect of a delayed flight.

However, when you travel solo, you can do or not do anything your heart desires. It’s rare to hear seasoned solo travelers complain about being bored on a trip.

It is only for the wealthy

Jo Panuwat D/Adobe bangkok travel concept

No, solo travelers are not all young people bankrolled by parents or hefty trust funds.

Being rich is not a requirement for traveling solo. Plenty of solo travelers are folks of all ages who simply have become experts at vacationing on a budget.

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Eating out alone is depressing

kasto/Adobe eating pizza at airport restaurant

Part of the allure of travel is sampling the cuisine in a new destination. However, many would-be solo travelers are deterred by the prospect of having to do all that eating alone.

Dining alone doesn’t have to be depressing. If you’re feeling self-conscious, bring a book along to keep you occupied. Or, consider sitting at the bar so you can chat with the staff.

It is for people running from something

Marina April/Adobe walking in the magic light

The popularity of the book and subsequent film “Eat, Pray, Love” has left many people to assume that those who travel solo are running from something.

However, there are plenty of reasons people hit the road — or take to the skies — on their own. For most folks, solo travel has nothing to do with escaping some sort of pain back home.

It is only for travelers with no other options

soft_light/Adobe enjoying sunset listening to music

Another common misconception is that people take solo trips because they can’t get anyone to come along. Of course, that is sometimes true.

However, seasoned solo travelers will tell you that planning a trip alone is often a choice. It can be liberating to travel without worrying about the wants and needs of a travel buddy.

In this way, solo travel can be a completely different — and incredibly fulfilling — experience.

It always must be a journey to ‘find yourself’

Weedezign/Adobe alone solo journey

Another side effect of the “Eat, Pray, Love” phenomenon is that some people assume solo travelers are doing so because they need to “find themselves.”

This idea makes it appear that anyone who travels on their own is lost in some way. However, most people who travel solo are simply trying to enjoy life, not hoping to find themselves or anything else.

You will need to stay in hostels

THANANIT/Adobe standing with baggage in bedroom

Staying in hostels can be a great way to save money. Many solo travelers keep costs down in this way, and it can be a great method of meeting others exploring the area.

But staying in hostels is certainly not mandatory. In many major cities, it’s possible to book a hotel room for just yourself without breaking the bank.

It is for those who don’t care about their careers

Vika art/Adobe man in airplane.

Finally, those who travel solo — particularly for long stretches of time — are often stereotyped as flighty types who don’t take their careers seriously.

This is another myth. Solo travel doesn’t mean abandoning your career. In fact, with the rise of remote work, it’s possible for many to log into work from any destination.

The ability to work remotely means you can take a solo vacation without jeopardizing your job or your efforts to get ahead financially.

Bottom line

vejaa/Adobe old town of spanish city

Solo travel can be an incredibly rewarding experience, and many travel enthusiasts even prefer going it alone.

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Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.