6 Solo Travel Myth Busters For Veterinary Travelers
Solo travel is a taboo topic for many people who have not yet experienced it. I’ve heard it all when it comes to solo travel myths, many of which end up scaring people out of amazing opportunities.
You wouldn’t believe the misconceptions that are out there, with everything ranging from inaccurate safety concerns to outdated beliefs on independence. I want to banish these myths for good, so let’s get into our solo travel myth busters for veterinary travelers.
Let’s get the most common myth out of the way first. The misconceptions involving solo travel safety have likely prevented so many people from traveling on their own, especially women. I’ve lost count of how many times someone’s immediate reaction to my solo adventures was that I’d be in danger, warning me that I’d meet a terrifying fate.
I know we can never guarantee our safety in any situation, but it’s important to remember that these things can happen ANYWHERE. The fact that you are solo in another country does not increase your risk of danger, but it actually makes you more cognizant of your surroundings. I can promise you that I follow more safety precautions when traveling solo than I do back home in the states.
At the end of the day, traveling solo is not automatically dangerous. Bad people exist in each part of the world, and following standard safety precautions can prevent so many of these negative interactions. I feel well protected when I research my destination thoroughly, have a map of the city downloaded for offline viewing, and when practicing the standard common sense I use back home. Remember, most of these myths are perpetuated by people who have never gotten out there themselves!
Pro tip: I suggest asking any safety questions in FB groups if you would like to learn more about your future destination. This is extremely helpful if you have specific questions regarding experiences of POC, LGBTQIA +, etc. My favorite FB group for this is Girls Love Travel.
It’s Too Expensive
Trust me, if solo travel was expensive, I would not be doing it. I make about as much as the average vet tech, and I have still enjoyed an array of solo travel adventures. You may not be splitting the bills with another traveler, but you can still enjoy a budget friendly experience.
Not only are there plenty of budget friendly tips to avoid breaking the bank, but being a vet med traveler opens the door for free accommodation as well. Your veterinary skills are your ticket to free accommodation around the world, ranging from modest studios to beautiful shared homes. There are hundreds (if not more) clinics and rescues that offer free accommodation in exchange for work, eliminating a huge expense when it comes to travel.
If free accommodation is not an option for your trip, there are still plenty of ways to save money. You can choose a location that fits your budget, travel during low seasons, purchase a local sim to save money on international service fees, eat at local restaurants, and take advantage of free attractions around the city.
Pro tip: If free accommodation is not offered, you can still save money by staying 30 days at a local Airbnb. If you select at least 30 days for your accommodation of choice, you automatically get a sizable discount. I have stayed in beautiful apartments through Airbnb for $350 a month with this trick.
You Will Get Lonely
Solo travel is anything but lonely. I have met more people on my solo adventures than when I travel with a friend, as I am more inclined to put myself out there and chat with those around me. You can meet potential friends at the clinic you are volunteering at, at a local café, using public transportation, and even on platforms such as Bumble BFF. There are a million ways to make friends while traveling, so don’t ever think you will be battling loneliness!
Pro tip: If you would like to make as many new friends as possible, try staying at a hostel. Hostels are always filled with like minded travelers that are excited to meet others.
You Won’t Have Any Help
This is a fear of many aspiring solo veterinary travelers. You may picture yourself thrown to the wolves in a foreign clinic, or even wandering the streets of an unfamiliar city alone. Before you get consumed in these thoughts, let me just tell you now that it will not be the case.
When you sign up to volunteer with or work with an organization abroad, you are already walking into a situation in which people want you to succeed. You will be working with other veterinary professionals that are happy to have your assistance, and these people can easily become your friends. Even if you don’t connect on a friendship level, the people you work with will want to make sure that you have a good experience. This includes training you adequately, offering you assistance when you need it, and filling you in on the best things to do around town. If you ever need help in any way, I guarantee that you will have the support you need.
Pro tip: Be sure to always get the contact info of someone you are working with. This could be a vet at the rescue you are working with, a trip organizer, or even a staff member at your hostel. This will come in handy if you ever find yourself needing immediate assistance.
You Can’t Explore The City Alone
Some of my favorite memories are those spent exploring a new city with my camera in tow. While it’s always nice to discover new places with a friend at your side, solo travel allows you to explore at your own pace. You want to stop at this mural and take it all in? Do it! You want to go for a walk in the beautiful park you just stumbled upon? Go for it! Nothing is holding you back when you are on your own, and fear shouldn’t either.
As far as safety goes, there are precautions you can take to make sure you have a pleasant experience. I suggest asking a local if there are any areas you should avoid, exploring the city in the day time, downloading a map of the area to view offline in case you get lost, and traveling without any flashy valuables.
Pro tip: If sitting at the park or eating at a cute diner is tough for you to do alone, make sure to always bring a book! This makes sitting alone feel a bit less “awkward” if you are not used to the experience yet.
You Have To Be Brave
I can’t tell you how many times people have said “You are so brave!” in response to my solo travels. These people have no idea that I am an anxious person that craves stability, rarely participating in anything outside of my comfort zone. I can assure you that I am not any more brave than the average person, but that I simply have chosen to ignore any solo travel myths.
You don’t have to be utterly brave or courageous to travel the world as a solo person. Sure, taking that initial step to book your trip may take some courage, but that’s about as intense as it gets! Solo travel isn’t scary, nor is it a challenging feat that only a few people can achieve. Anyone can travel the world on their own, and you will be surprised just how easy it is once you get going.
Pro tip: Researching your destination is the best way to prepare for anything that comes your way. This includes the local currency conversion, standard transportation options, average prices of food, attractions you want to see, and everything in between. If you have questions or certain areas that make you feel uneasy, research is the answer! Again, you can always turn to FB travel groups for guidance.
Solo Travel Is Not As Intimidating As You Think
Solo travel really isn’t as scary as many people have led us to believe. So many of these myths are perpetuated by those who haven’t explored the world themselves, so why would we take their word on it? Get out there and explore!