Im planning on travelling around argentina, chile, peru and bolivia next year, march-june time, solo. Im working at the moment so that i earn enough money to be able to travel. Ive just finished school and im on my gap year, and i was wondering what your thoughts are on an 18 year old travelling solo in south america? ive never been outside europe before on my own and i need some advice, and to convince my parents its a good idea. thanks for your help.
Go for it, I recomend if you're not an experienced backpacker, start in Argentina as the culture shock will be lighter (less poor people, better food, safer, European type feel to it). As far as Solo goes, I went solo with no experience backpacking, no problems, you'll meet more locals and there are plenty of other travelers to hook up with. Target Hostals that are known backpacker joints and you'll meet like minded people fast. I had a huge shock landing in Lima (9 million people) and poor as hell and polluted to the max that made me uneasy my first few days in SA. As far as your parents are concerned, promise to keep in touch via email and I'm sure they will understand why you need to go.
Just come back from travelling in SA solo for 5months, and it has been the best thing i've done in my life. You will love it, and you wont be "solo" unless you want to!! there are so many people your age travelling is surreal! (i wish i have done it when i was 18!!) Parents wont like it, neither did mine! but they will understand at some point (unless they are like my grandma that has been crying non stop apparently since i left!!! poor thing!!) but as gunther suggested keep in touch regularly and send them nice pictures so they can see how happy you are!! It will be great, trust me!
I wanna go back!!!!
x x Miriam x x :D