Traveling solo has its benefits. Want to change your itinerary? No problem. Want to stay out all night? Go ahead. Want to wander sans clothing through your hotel room? There’s nobody to object. You can do whatever you want within your own budget and not have to worry about convincing your companions to buy in.
But when planning air travel in developing countries, there can sometimes be a problem with traveling alone. Just having a ticket in hand isn’t always enough to guarantee your flight. If there aren’t enough people to make the trip worth it to the in-country airline, you may be cooling your heels until the next opportunity comes up. And when the next opportunity is a day or more away, it can put a snag in your travel plans.
Sure, you can opt to take the train, bus, ferry, or another form of transportation instead. (Ted recently discussed the benefit of slower modes of travel.) For some destinations, however, there may be no other option. So what do you do?
The first choice is to just let it go. Don’t freak out about a change in plans—treat it as an opportunity to do something new in your current location. After all, part of the reason for getting out on the road is to get away from those little daily annoyances like schedules, right?
The second choice is to gather some temporary travel buddies. Don’t worry, everyone can go her separate way when you get where you’re going. But the benefit is that with more people, that flight is less likely to get canceled. How many people do you need? That depends on the plane’s capacity, but my experience is that it takes three passengers to get the small propeller planes (that carry six to 20 people) up in the air and on your desired route.
In Honduras, a handful of my flights to less-popular destinations have been canceled because I was the only one going there. Now, I try to coordinate my travels with people I’ve met, so that together, we can be a bigger ticket-buying force.
How do you adapt to solo travel challenges? Share your best tips in the comments section.