Want Adventure? Try traveling alone through Europe. This has always been a common trend among many AAU students and exchange students. Those who have done so have returned to Prague with a better understanding of themselves and of the world in which they live. In fact AAU exchange student Remy Miller says: “it was one of the best decisions I’ve made since I’ve been here.”
Many students are worried about the risks of traveling by themselves. Those students prefer having a second set of eyes to accompany them on their travels to insure a safer time. “It is important not to stand out and remain confident, while traveling, just trust your gut…it’s really not as dangerous as one would think,” says Miller. In fact many of the student hostels Miller stayed at were filled with students who were also traveling alone.
Many of the initial thoughts and feelings one might experience while traveling alone for the first time may be negative, and that is normal. It may feel strange doing things that one might usually do in a group, such as eating dinner or going to a bar or club. Miller says that “getting over that first hurtle of eating alone is tough and it makes you feel awkward. Just remember you’re a traveler and it’s totally normal.”
Part of the fun of traveling alone is it forces you to meet other people who you would not have met if you were traveling with a group. Patrick Batuzich, a full time AAU student, says that “many of the people I befriended in the hostel preferred to travel alone for the sole reason of meeting new and different people from all over the world.”
It is normal to be hesitant befriending a person you just met, but chances are they are hesitant as well. Being on your own really encourages you to rely more on your own judgment and decision making. Miller says that she “matured a lot” from having to be self-sufficient in a foreign environment. In other words you cannot rely on your friends for everything.
Aside from the maturity aspect, traveling alone also gives you more time to enjoy a place. “You have more time to experience a place… I was more likely to see the sights and walk amongst the crowds,” says Patrick.
This is partly because being in a group people will have to make compromises on what they want to do, thus resulting in not getting to do or see everything you wanted. Patrick was quick to say “you’re less likely to make a stupid decision if you’re alone.” Being in a group does not necessarily mean you are safer than if you were alone.
For students looking to plan a trip by themselves but not sure how to go about it, be sure to check out the following websites, http://www.seat61.com/spreadsheet.htm#.UoyoMMSkr1o and http://www.passportandatoothbrush.com/how-to-plan-your-first-trip-ever/.
Seat 61 offers a “simple way to plan a complex trip” which includes how to make your own itinerary and budget sheet. They also offer transportation and travel guidance for every single region of the world.
Passport and a tooth brush is a site created by a Canadian couple who has traveled all around the world. Their blog includes great and honest travel advice especially for first time travelers; the blog also includes some great stories that are well worth the read.