Solo travel … what are the upsides and downsides?

Published: August 30, 2015
Grey nomads take selfie while in their carava

The number of solo grey nomads on the road is growing quickly but what is behind the trend … and what are the good and bad things about going alone?

A new survey by holiday website night give a few clues. While not really targeted at caravanners and motorhomers, the study revealed that 45% of Australians of all ages now go travelling alone.

The top reason for doing so was ‘to go exploring’ (47%), followed by wanting to live the motto that “life was too short”’ (29%), and another 27% saying they had no one else to go with.

“Travelling solo allows you to have the freedom to plan your trip exactly as you like, allowing you to avoid destinations or activities you have no interest in,” Travel Specialist Kirsty La Bruniy, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

So, what are the upsides and downsides of the solo life? Well, according to the survey, as reported in the Daily Telegraph, they are:

The best thing about travelling solo:             

  • Getting to do whatever I want to do (no need for compromising) — 48%
  • Meeting new people – 23%
  • Building my confidence — 11%
  • Getting to go when I want (rather than waiting for someone else) – 9%
  • I was able to find myself — 5%
  • I didn’t get stuck with an annoying travel companion – 1%

The worst thing about travelling solo:

  • Not having anyone to share the memories with — 38.5%
  • It was more expensive than travelling with people — 18.3%
  • Having no one to help look after my things — 10.6%
  • Feeling lonely — 10.1%
  • Feeling unsafe — 7%
  • Having to take selfies — 3.9%
  • Having to do all the trip organising myself — 1.8%

* Are you a solo traveller? Do you agree with the survey’s findings? What do you think the upsides and downside are? Comment below.

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6 years ago

If 48% of those interviewed prefer to travel solo then tourist companys need to start accommodating them more dollar wise. To travel solo on trips is very expensive and needs to be addressed. I would love to travel on my own but the cost is usually almost double as to travelling with a friend. Please consider

Carol Ann Harstedt
6 years ago
Reply to  Helen

Many years ago I did a tour as a solo but there was the option of being paired up in accom for a discount. This was a great option but I haven’t seen it offerred since.

6 years ago

There are a lot of Grey Nomads who don’t have a choice. They don’t own a home or if they do can’t afford the cost of keeping one. The rents are beyond their income. Government housing is unobtainable, a lot of women in particular who weren’t government employed retire without a super Anniston to supplement their pension and as a consequence this is the only way they can afford to live. Even then they can’t afford the caravan parks so are forced to free camp. The local councils are forcing on site vans out to make way for cabins (more economical for them) so it leaves many no choice. Obviously the Tourism Industry needs to benefit from caravan parks but wouldn’t tourism also benefit from free camps. People still need to eat enjoy a beer or wine occasionally so would patronise local stores.

6 years ago

I have just been told that if I want to camp on my lap around this amazing country that I have to pack away my tent every time I want to leave the camp site. Especially road sode or free camping. If this is true then I am blown away before I even start my journey. Can noone be trusted!!!!

6 years ago

the best thing about being single is you live your own life.

u can travel by yourself and can do and go were u want
u can find others for a chat etc if u want at times
u can sleep in car or swag tent van etc

Julie Ibbetson
6 years ago
Reply to  pete

Hi I am finding that caravan sites are fully booked any suggestions

6 years ago

I am a solo caravanner for the first time and new to this site.
I have had many happy holdiays with my husband, but he went to a school reunion last year and ran off with his girlfriend from 1973!!
I am determined not to lose my dream of exploring Australia as well as my husband….so I’m giving it a go!
I head off in three weeks, up to the Murray at Corryong and then go downstream to Echuca and Swan Hill…travelling with my two dogs.
Has anyone got some tips for dog-friendly caravan parks or travelling solo?
Regards, Debbie

6 years ago
Reply to  Debbie

Good on uou I am a solo after my hubby passed away last year, it is lonely with no one to share the joys with , but if travelling is what you want , get out there snd meet people and enjoy . I am going to Bendigo to housesit for friends in Oct , so if you are in that area at that time , I would love to meet up with you and chat , you can find me on face book , Cianne Burton cheers hope I hear from uou

dave barter
6 years ago
Reply to  Debbie

hi debbie i travel with my little dog and free camp all over aust never had any trouble finding dog friendly spots there are so many people like us enjoying this life style iam sure you will have a new wonderfull and exciting life regards dave

Lis Brown
6 years ago

I am a solo, full time and indefinite, grey nomad in my tenth year. This is by choice and I love it. Are there downsides? If I want to think negatively enough, of course I could tell you some downsides, but show me some-one who hasn’t got ‘downsides’ living suburbia or rural. The upside is freedom and the chance of liberation from ‘the norm’. Some call that eccentricity. Hogwash. Stepping out of the norm is SO good for the soul – like showering outside, skinny dipping, wearing the same top for a week and jeans for 3 weeks because you are sick of washing clean clothes. The ‘norm’ has so, so many exceptions that are commercially based. I always free camp as I cannot afford otherwise.and now would turn down a free night at a caravan park. This is about freedom, not rules and regulations. Yes, there will always be some rules to keep us socially acceptable and within the law but generally, I do exactly what I please. My Bestie is a Westie and we wouldn’t change a thing.

6 years ago

You have to admire anyone who travels alone, or envy their achievement. Is it possible for greynomads to organise a security system whereby people can check in online or link themselves.

6 years ago

Travelling solo for me is something I did not have a choice about if I wanted to live life. My husband passed away so it was up to me to see this wonderful country. I love it. Never felt unsafe, have met some wonderful people, seen amazing places, learnt so much about myself and life itself. I am aware that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible.
There is a down side of course. There is no one to share the adventure with, nobody to help with the chores, its all up to me. Loneliness is not a huge problem, yet there are times when I would like that person next to me to talk over the days adventures and where to next.
All in all a great life and one I love.

6 years ago
Reply to  Sharon

Hi Sharon. Im also a solo traveler and currently staying at a great park in Mt Morgan QLD. $125 a week. Its a great life and being a 65 year old widower it can get a bit lonely but still a great life. Take care. Maybe we will catch up one day.

Mack Jordan
6 years ago

I completely understand your post, thank you for a very witty share!


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