Questionnaire: Are You Ready to Travel Alone?
Travelling alone appeals to many people who don't want to compromise on their gap years. When you travel alone you are free to determine your own itinerary, transportation, activities, accommodation, dining and much more. There is no one with whom you need to negotiate or compromise, but there is also no one with whom you can share the joy of your travels or the responsibilities.
To help you discover if you are ready to travel alone we have put together the following questionnaire. Answer "yes" or "no" to each question and then total your answers. Match your total number of "yes" answers to the results at the end of the page to find out more about travelling alone on your gap year.
1. Have you ever travelled alone in the past?
2. Do you have experience with making travel arrangements?
3. Are you comfortable travelling in areas where you do not speak the local language?
4. Are you comfortable with obtaining travel visas from various foreign governments?
5. Do you check with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for travel advice before leaving home?
6. Do you spend a lot of your time alone even while at home?
7. Do you often strike up conversations with strangers while you are out?
8. Are you happy to "check in" with family and friends at appointed times while you travel?
9. Do you travel with contact information for nearby embassies and consulates?
10. Are you happy to eat meals and go to events alone?
11. Have you considered how to deal with an emergency abroad if you are alone?
12. Do you feel confident in your basic safety and self defense skills?
Are You Ready to Travel Alone?If you answered "yes" to between one and four questions then you are probably not ready to travel alone quite yet. Review your answers to find out if you answered "no" to those addressing practical concerns or personal preferences. If it turns out that you simply need to think more about the practical aspects of travelling alone then you can address these concerns easily. However, if your personal preferences do not lend themselves to travelling alone then consider why you thought about solitary travel in the first place. It may be that you would prefer not to travel alone but circumstances are preventing others from travelling with you, in which case you can look into organised groups or agencies with whom you can work so that you can travel however you feel most comfortable.
If you answered "yes" to between five and eight questions then you may be ready to travel alone. You have likely considered many aspects of solitary travel, but there may still be significant areas with which you are uncomfortable. Consider taking a few test trips, ranging from eating meals alone to taking day trips to city breaks to full holidays by yourself, to find out more about your travel preferences. It may be that you have a definite time limit, whether it be a few hours or a few days, after which you no longer enjoy travelling by yourself. Better to find this out early than when you're already committed to further travels!
If you answered "yes" to nine or more questions then you are probably ready to travel alone. You are most likely comfortable with being by yourself and taking responsibility for your own travels but there may still be aspects of solitary travel you have yet to consider. Review the questions to which you answered "no" and try to address these concerns before making any firm decisions about travelling alone on your gap year. Even if you are only considering travelling alone for part of your gap year trip you'll be more confident with your decision if you can answer "yes" to all questions.