18 Tips For Traveling Alone
Most probably, you’ve ever wished to take a trip to view the fall foliage and splurge on a Paris vacation. Maybe, you didn’t find anyone to accompany you. Then, solo travel is your answer. A complicated, yet frequent question about traveling alone is whether it’s safe. And, if it’s actually safe, how can ensure your safety when on the road?
We can imagine what your thoughts are right now. You’re probably dreading how lonely and isolated you’ll be. Most of you are thinking about how dangerous it could be. But, what you don’t realize is that you won’t be the first one to travel solo. In fact, other people have done it, and so can you. It’d be worthwhile to travel alone at least once. With these handy tips below, you’ll perfect the art of traveling solo successfully.
1. Being ‘Safe’ is Relative
First, give yourself a quick reality check. Remember that certain things can happen to virtually anyone and at any time, regardless of one’s location on this planet. Probably, there are some examples of unsafe things which are going on in your own locale right now. But, we’re not trying to sound pessimistic. Compare it to driving a car. Yes, you’ve got control over your performance while on the road. But, you can’t predict dangers which other drivers could cause. That’s virtually impossible. However, that shouldn’t be a reason to avoid traveling enough. It’s simply not enough. So, get out there and go!
2. Start Smart
You ought to select your destination(s) carefully. Some locales tend to attract couples. Others attract solo travelers. For instance, let’s assume you’re interested in visiting Mexico. Then, you’d need to avoid Cancun or Cabo San Lucas. Such locales cater to families, students who’re on spring break, and large groups.
But, we flip the sides, and we’ve got historical colonial towns such as San Miguel de’ Allende. This colonial city features active ex-pat communities and many single visitors. Also, it’s safe. Other cosmopolitan cities like London, New York, Paris, Chicago, and San Francisco are comfortable, stimulating, and lively destinations for solo traveling.
3. Ensure that Your Location is Known
Ascertain that someone knows where you’re at all times. It could be your mother, boyfriend, uncle or sister. But, it ought to be someone that’s close to you. In fact, it’s important that you ensure someone close to you knows where you’re at all times, and not just when traveling. If possible, compile your entire itinerary into one document for your closest friends and family.
Also, see to it that they’ve got the paper at their fingertips. It ought to include your flight destinations. As well, include the airlines’ names and the flight numbers, too. You can then include other vital information. Such include the hostels you’ll be staying in, their addresses, and contact numbers. Yes, it could prove tedious to do all that. But, it’ll make people that are close to you feel at ease. Also, it’ll make you feel somewhat secure and better.
4. Remain in Contact
In addition, it’s crucial that you stay in contact with friends and family whenever you’re on the road. Providing them with your reservations and itineraries isn’t enough yet. Find some means of communication to let your loved ones know that you’ve reached the next stop. Inform them that you’re still safe. There are multiple modes of communication, including SMSs, WhatsApp, Social media, Skype, and more. The particular media you select doesn’t matter much here. Simply put, ensure to stay connected.
5. Generate Copies of Vital Documents
It’d be a wise idea to travel with copies of your driving license and passport. In case you decide to spend a night in hostels, you should then leave the original copies locked up in your room. Carry the photocopies with you as you explore different places. If anything unfortunate happens to you, you’ll have a peace of mind knowing that you’ve got the originals where you left them.
6. Don’t Pack Heavy
Pack light. Packing lots of things will slow you down. Also, it’ll weigh you down. The lesser stuff you carry, the easier it’ll be to move. That will prove handy in case you end up in a situation that you ought to get out of quick.
7. Refrain from Drawing Lots of Attention towards You
Locals will quickly spot tourists from miles away. Visitors, often, have big fancy cameras and huge maps which they lug around. They hold such items close their eyes with seemingly puzzled expressions. In fact, tourists aren’t difficult to spot.
The last thing you’d want is to show up in a foreign place with the largest pieces of costly jewelry. Considering such factors, the simplest way to avoid attracting unwanted attention is leaving such items back home. Also, don’t lose sight of the surroundings, even if you’re a little confused about the direction you’re headed to. Look at that map. But, ensure to look up too. That way, you’ll seem purposeful, instead of vulnerable.
8. Talk to Strangers
But, be curious. You’ve made the decision to travel solo, right? Then, you ought to embrace the responsibility of reaching out. Strive to act extroverted, even if you’re an introvert. You can try striking up conversations with strangers. Also, try talking to anyone who looks friendly. You’ll soon realize that most fellow travelers are happy to converse with you. And, having white hair or being middle-aged might prove to be an added advantage. Mature people are often respected in foreign countries. In fact, they’re offered assistance in multiple, different ways.
9. Watch Out for Pick-Pockets
Take maximum caution against pick-pocketers. It’s a huge problem in several parts of the world, especially in Spain. We’d recommend that you purchase and wear a cross body bag. Then, keep it positioned towards the front of your body. In turn, you’ll be able to feel your belongings at all times. For men, we’d recommend that you don’t place anything in your back-pockets. That poses more harm than gain. In fact, that only makes their job way easier.
10. Observe Sound Judgment
Yes, you’re free to make new friends, if possible. But, ensure that you make use of good judgment. In fact, it’s inevitable that you’ll make new amazing friends when traveling solo. That’s actually the beauty of traveling solo!
Go out there, have fun, and explore along with them. But, it’s essential that you remain mindful that you just met them. Say you’re heading out to a club or bar. Then, don’t drink the same amount you’d drink with friends back at home. Strive to remain aware of all situations at hand. Also, be aware of the surroundings.
11. Select Friendly Accommodations
5-Star hotels or chain restaurants are not always the best choice. Don’t just select a fancy hotel based on the reputation of their band. Don’t choose a hotel based on the doorman’s photo or how beautiful their linens are. You might end up in impersonal hotels which are filled with business people and couples. Also, you’ll be completely isolated from other individual travelers.
Go for hotels which seem friendly and interactive. In fact, there’s a chance that you’ll interact with some people and staff who’ll give you a heads’ up about the local places and safety issues, too. When seeking accommodations, you ought to look out for words like ‘friendly’, ‘lively’, and ‘family-owned’.
12. Sleep Around
If possible, seek room rentals in apartments. It’ll reward you with an automatic connection with the residents. Your landlord might not take you out to the town. But, at least, you’ll scoop several local tips. You can try the online bulletin boards, room-rental sites such as Airbnb, and crash-pad networks such as couch surfing. Of course, hostels are ready-made for solo tourists. However, you might end up spending much more time with other visitors, rather than with locals.
13. Your People
You can make use of Twitter and Facebook to enquire for connections in your destination. Offer to take several local friends out for some drinks or dinner. In fact, you’ll be surprised by how many individuals will take up your offer. Virtually no one would turn down being a tour guide for one or two nights. As well, remember to seek out your particular interests in the destination. That could be a chess association or a fan club for a football team.
14. Signing up for Group Activities
Consider joining a garden tour, a historical tour, or a group bike tour. As well, you can sign up for cooking classes or snorkeling expeditions. Such tours and groups are excellent ways to meet new companions. In particular, you might make new travel companions.
15. Gut Instinct (Intuition)
Traveling alone just needs extra awareness. Always flow with your gut instinct. Chances are that it won’t steer you wrong. In case something feels wrong, refrain from doing it. Say you find yourself in situations which you didn’t expect. Say you aren’t having any fun. In case of such circumstances, only leave. You’ll quickly realize how fine-tuned your instincts are. They’ll contribute significantly towards keeping you safe amidst your adventures.
16. Be Bold Enough to Say No
You shouldn’t feel guilty for saying no to something. In fact, it’s completely okay to turn down assistance with your bags, invitation to dinners, or that Vodka shot from a guy you’ve just met. If appearing rude is the only way to feel safe, don’t be afraid. However, bear in mind that many friendly strangers might be able and willing to offer help.
17. Learn Some Little Languages
It’d make sense to learn several words and phrases before getting to your destination. Make the effort to do that. Know how you ought to introduce yourself. Learn how you can spark off a basic conversation, how you can order that beer, and count from1 to 10. Such small efforts will translate to a considerable difference. People will appreciate the fact that you’re making an effort to interact.
18. Burying Your Head into a Book Isn’t Ideal
Traveling alone can easily daunt you. It might feel like the ideal way to escape the curious stares in restaurants and on public transport is to retreat into a good novel’s pages. But, it’d be the worst idea to do so. Traveling solo grants you an opportunity to take in your environment, to meet other travels and locals alike. Feel content to be all by yourself. But, be confident to introduce yourself to strangers whenever you decide to be sociable.
Pros of Traveling Alone
Among the beautiful things about traveling alone is that you’ll lead life on your own terms. It’s significantly empowering to learn about your own self. You’ll decide what you want. Traveling solo makes you open to other people. As well, you’ll be more approachable to fellow travelers and friendly locals. You’ll find it incredibly easy to meet people. Also, you’ll get invited into their life(s) more readily. In addition, you’ll evade the sophisticated travel companies. Now, you’ll be able to enjoy the freedom to make all decisions.
Besides, when alone, you’ll experience the whole world unfiltered by any other person’s perspective or chatter. You need not worry about feeling isolated and lonely. In fact, starting out solo doesn’t imply staying alone. Many fascinating and intrepid people are traveling by themselves out there. In addition, you can exploit the advantage of your can. traveling status. Be willing to trust a stranger and revise your plans.
Cons of Traveling Alone
There are several downsides to it, of course. You won’t be having any built-in dining companion. Also, you’ll have no one to send ahead as you wait in line. You won’t have anyone to help you assess and figure out bus schedules. There’ll be no one to commiserate with in case things go awry.
Also, traveling solo can prove to be more expensive. For instance, accommodations would cost less when with a partner as they’re shared. Other things would become cheaper, too, when splitting costs. Such include guidebooks, storage lockers, taxis, groceries, and more.
But, when traveling with someone else, it’ll be natural to focus on them. You’ll tend to concentrate on how you get along and whether they meant it when they said they’re hungry. As a result, that will tune down the symphony of sounds, smells, and sights all around you.
Traveling solo enables you to be open and more present to your surroundings. Also, you’re definite to meet more people since you’ll be viewed as more approachable. For that reason, it’s more likely that you’ll experience kindness from complete strangers.
Seven Quick Bonus Tips at a Glance
- Incorporate a financial cushion into the budget. It’ll allow you to take cabs whenever you feel unsafe.
- Avoid sleeping on trains. If possible, avoid taking night trains alone.
- Grab your bag or purse with you to the washrooms. Do so even on trains and buses.
- If you’re driving, ensure to fill up the gas tank.
- Refrain from wearing both headphones in case you’re listening to music.
- Have a selfie stick as a handy camera tool.
- Consider travel insurance.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Traveling solo isn’t necessarily more dangerous than taking a trip with friends. Don’t bog yourself down by worrying about traveling alone to the extent of forgetting to enjoy the great experience. Just take chances! Live a lot, but ensure to enjoy all of the adventures! Soon, you’ll realize that the decision you had made about traveling solo was among the best choices you made. Also, you’ll enjoy your own company while reaching out to others. You’ll be pleased and surprised by how happy and confident you’re traveling alone.
Traveling alone is much easier than you’d think. It’s more intense and rewarding than daily life. You should give it one or two tries. In fact, the pros of solo traveling outweigh the cons by a considerable margin. Traveling solo is intensely personal. You’ll discover more about your self. Also, you’ll discover more about your destination. Traveling alone is fun, vivid, exhilarating, and challenging. So, are you up for this challenge?