Tips for Solo Travelers
Traveling alone can seem daunting, but sometimes it is the only choice. Perhaps you want to visit somewhere no one you know wants to see, no one else is free to accompany you, or you just fancy an independent trip.
When you travel alone, you have the freedom to visit the places you want to see without considering anyone else. You can eat what you want, when you want to do so. That freedom comes at a cost – there is no one to share experiences with and feel a bit lonely.
An organized tour may be a way to travel alone and enjoy your experiences with others at the same time. Many travel companies now cater to single people of all ages for vacations of all kinds. A simple internet search on “vacations for singles” will bring up thousands of choices. Be sure to check companies out well and thoroughly.
People often assume that personal safety advice is only applicable to female travelers, but men too should consider a few sensible precautions. All lone travelers male and female should consider personal safety.
The lone traveller should always leave an itinerary at home with a relative, or friend, and arrange to telephone or speak to them at pre-arranged times so that someone knows that the adventurer is safe and well. Also leave flight information, accommodation telephone numbers, and other journey information with someone at home.
Research your vacation destination properly before you travel. Make sure that you know any areas that are unsafe for tourists. Choose hotels in known safe areas. Ask locals, when you arrive, whether there are areas that you should avoid.
Do not leave your common sense at home, always be aware of your surroundings and take the same common sense precautions that you would normally take. In this regard, never drink so much alcohol that you are unaware of your surroundings.
Try not to look like a tourist
Someone with two cameras around the neck, a big wad of money, clutching a map might as well shout out that they are a tourist. It is never a good idea to carry large amounts of money. If you are traveling abroad, try to get currency in smaller, rather than larger, denomination bank notes. Someone paying for a cup of coffee with a one hundred euro note draws unwelcome attention to himself.
Leave expensive jewelry at home. It is an open invitation to criminals. Credit cards are fine in some places but they are not acceptable everywhere. Look at your map in private, rather than in the street where everyone can see.
Be aware that some tourist areas suffer from a plague of pickpockets and other criminals who prey on unwary tourists. Beware of people crowding around or trying to create distractions as this often means that pickpockets or bag snatchers are looking for targets.
When out in the street, walk confidently as though familiar with the area. Norms of behavior differ in cultures so be aware that what may be perfectly acceptable at home may be misinterpreted in another culture.
Thorough research before leaving on a trip will prepare the traveler for cultural differences. Lone male travelers asked what they are doing, are best to answer politely rather than blustering or getting aggressive. Wearing a wedding ring may prevent unwelcome attention even if you are single.
Be Careful How you Dress
Clothing that may be perfectly acceptable at home may give a very different message in another culture or it may offend. Pre-travel research will avoid this difficulty. Tight, brief clothing in some countries is forbidden. In others countries there may well be an “anything goes” policy on beaches, but straying from the beach in beachwear earns the unwary tourist attention from the police and sometimes a conviction. This is the case in some otherwise sophisticated European countries.
Many people enjoy lone travel. It is sometimes pleasant to be a little selfish and do just what you want when you want to do it without having to consider other people.
Proper research before you leave can help you stay safe, enjoy your trip and ensure that, in the future, your memories of your travel adventure will all be happy ones.