Solo travel is without a doubt one of the best experiences a person can have. You learn so much about yourself and the world simultaneously but it doesn’t come without a few hiccups along the way. After 8+ months of travelling solo, while working as a digital nomad, I’m here to fill you in on the top disadvantages of travelling.
Most of these disadvantages of travelling are most applicable to solo travellers, digital nomads/remote workers or anyone that spends a considerable amount of time travelling (1+ month). Of course, that’s not to say that everyone will have the experience I’ve had. But lately, I’ve been struggling with these aspects of travel so it felt fitting to share it with you here!
It does get lonely
I’m the first person to vouch for solo travel so this one is a hard pill to swallow. In fact, I even wrote a blog about all the reasons why solo travel isn’t lonely! Of course, a few things have changed since then. I wrote that blog back in 2019 and since then I’ve travelled to around 10 more countries by myself. Yes, you’re always going to meet new people but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always love solo travel. I personally find solo travel lonely when I find myself in a group of people with whom can’t fully relate. I don’t really drink much anymore or like to party like I did while I was at uni. I’ve started to realize that a lot of people’s lives rely heavily upon going out with friends to drink so if you don’t drink it can leave you feeling like you don’t fit in.
You also never have your close friends from home around you. Yes, you’ll meet so many new people and have the chance to create amazing new relationships but nothing compares to the comfort that comes with being around friends who have known you for years!
Making friends with locals can be tough
While we’re on the topic of friends, it can be challenging to make friends with locals. After spending a considerable amount of time living in Australia (1.5 years in Melbourne) and South Africa (6 months in Cape Town), I’ve seen how hard it can be to get in with a local crew of people. The beginning of these friendships are always so exciting but often lead to disappointment. From my personal experience, it can often feel like locals aren’t as invested in the friendship as you may be because they know you’re not going to be around for long.
I try not to take this too personally but it’s not great when you feel like a temporary friend.
Different time zones suck
Dealing with different time zones doesn’t usually get to me but it’s definitely one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling. Depending on where you are in the world at any given time, you’ll have to put in a LOT of effort to stay in contact with friends and family from home. The same goes for those who are working remotely. Making sure you’re getting on a call at the right time and setting up meetings can be a bit of a headache.
Dating is rough
I’m sure you’ve heard stories of couples who have met in hostels or on a quick holiday in a new place. It sounds like the plot of a movie and you start to think that it can happen for you too … then days, months, years pass and suddenly you realize you’ve deleted and redownloaded Hinge too many times to count. Scratch that – you’ve redownloaded allllll of the dating apps (Tinder included).
Anyone who’s known me for more than a week knows just how painfully single I am. I’m all for being single, meeting new people and waiting for the right person to come along but there comes a point where you start to lose hope that you’ll meet someone who wants the same things out of life.
Explaining your entire life to everyone …
Don’t get me wrong, I love talking to new people and forming new connections but it can be a LOT. If you’re thinking about planning a trip for more than a few months you can expect to get fairly annoyed when you get the same questions each and every day. Here are some of the classics you can expect to get:
- Where are you from?
- How long are you travelling?
- What do you do for work?
- Where are you going next?
- How long are you staying in (insert city/country)?
Sometimes the questions seem to be endless and most often repetitive, eventually draining your social battery.
Feeling like you have to do everything all the time
When you get to a new place there’s always going to be SO much to do. While this is great and exciting, it can also be overwhelming. This is especially the case for digital nomads who want to spend all their time exploring but still have to balance work. I’ve found that over time I stop feeling as bad about not seeing a spectacular beach or doing that incredible hike because I know I can’t do it all. It’s fine to spend some of your time doing nothing and just relaxing. Of course, this is easier said than done and I still struggle with feeling like I should’ve seen or done more at a particular destination.
Burnout is real, even if you’re travelling
Ever feel like you need a vacation from your vacation?
My fellow digital nomads or full-time travellers might be able to relate. Everything about travel is exhausting. Between navigating public transit, new languages, new people and all the planning that’s involved, you can get burnt out. The more I travel, the less I want to move around quickly from place to place.
Although switching destinations every 2-3 days sounded like the dream when I first started travelling years ago, it no longer holds the same appeal. The thought of changing hotels, hostels or Airbnbs more than once a week makes me nauseous. In fact, I’d much rather stay someplace for a few weeks or months. That way I can truly get to know a destination and feel more settled in a place (especially in regards to getting work done).
What type of travel blogger would I be if I shoved all the worst parts of travel your way, without giving you a few tips to deal with the negative aspects? Not a good one, that’s for sure!
Of course, I’m still navigating these issues all the time and it’s not like these problems will go away entirely but there are a few things you can do to cope.
- Know that you can always change your situation – Not having fun after a few weeks of travel? Go home. No one’s forcing you to travel or live a nomadic life for a specific amount of time. Long-term travel isn’t for everyone and that’s okay.
- Tell friends & family how you’re feeling – Whenever I’m struggling with things, I give my best friend or my mom a call and I’m usually feeling much better the next day. Reach out to those who love and support you!
- Connect with new people – If you’re feeling lonely, use Facebook groups or social media to connect with people when you get to a new destination. You’ll always find someone who wants to share experiences with you.
- Let the tears flow – It’s A-OK to get emotional. In fact, it might help you move past whatever is bothering you. I cry often & have started sharing some of that on my TikTok.
That’s about all I’ve got for the disadvantages of travelling! If you’re experiencing any of these disadvantages, know that you’re not alone. You can always reach out to me on Instagram and I have other resources such as my Digital Nomad ebook, coaching calls & more here!
See you next week.
Pin this post or share with a friend 👇🏼