The pros and cons of taking on Europe solo

Lone ranger.

They say solo travel is a time for self-discovery. An unparalleled experience that will get you outside of your comfort zone, and make you a self-reliant problem-solving genius.

And, sure that’s partly true, but they also fail to mention the tears, the loneliness and the impossible task of taking a decent selfie in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

It’s not for everyone, so to help you figure out if this is a journey you should undertake, we’ve rounded up a list of the good, the bad and the downright awkward.

Con: Loneliness is inevitable 

Prepare to eat alone, staring longingly at groups and couples as they laugh over their vino. There’s a good chance your travel diary will become your most constant form of conversation and you’ll live for those moments your Facebook Messenger pings with a notification. Not to mention the extreme FOMO you’ll be faced with when you see your friends back home hanging out without you.

Pro: Hello newfound confidence 

When you return from your adventure, you’ll be greeted with a new ‘can do’ attitude. Before you leave you’re too timid to ask a stranger for directions, but when you return home you’ll be able to yell at your phone provider about how your data roaming bill is all. their. Fault.

Con: You’ll definitely have multiple breakdowns 

Tears will be shed, even if you’re not a crier. You get lost? Cue waterworks. Feeling tired? Prepare to have a full blown anxiety attack. Someone at home won’t answer FaceTime? Welcome an insane bout of rage (tears included). It’s all part of the process.

Pro: There’s no compromising on the itinerary 

Want to journey two hours out of the city to see a giant greenhouse? Sure thing! There’s no one to argue with, and no one to compromise for. Feel like being lazy and spending the day watching Geordie Shore reruns from your bunk? Who’s going to judge? (OK, we don’t recommend that last one).

Con: Making friends isn’t as easy as everyone tells you 

Everyone says that staying in a hostel is a surefire way to meet people. Well, they’re wrong. Solo travellers are few and far between, meaning most of the time you’ll be sharing a room with Betty and her two best friends. Newsflash… they don’t need some lonely person to humour with their company. And then, when you finally do find someone to eat breakfast with, they’ll end up checking out the next day.

Pro: You get really fit 

Once you’ve lugged your 38kg suitcase up a few hundred underground train station and hostel staircases without the help of anyone else, it’s impossible not to stack on some muscle.

Con: There’s no one to help you lug your suitcase around

On the negative side, it’s extremely hard to lug your 38kg suitcase up a few hundred underground train station and hostel staircases without help.

Con: There’s no one to take photos of you 

Prepare for hundreds of moon faced shots with off centre monuments in the background. If there’s one thing I learnt the hard way, it’s that strangers don’t care about taking a good shot of you. Once you finally work up the courage to approach a random passerby, chances are the resulting photo will be blurry AF, has your eyes closed or terrible lighting.

Pro: It finally gives you an excuse to use a selfie stick in public 

A gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do (to get that perfect Insta selfie).

Pro: You have no shame 

No one knows you, no one’s going to remember you. Who’s going to care if you haven’t done any washing in two weeks and smell a bit off? Or your hair is bordering on Garth from Wayne’s World. It’s the perfect time to experiment with a new laugh, wear a bumbag or read 50 Shades of Grey in public.

Pro: It’s empowering AF 

The sense of self-pride you feel when you look back at your trip will be immense. Knowing you made it through the other side, on your own, is a powerful feeling.

Illustration by TwylaMae who’s T-shirts should be on your packing list.

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