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Solo Travel ~ Pros & Cons and Staying Safe

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I have been fortunate in life that I have been able to experience solo travel, couple travel, and travel with friends. Most of my travel is solo. Not everyone is cut out for solo travel or feels comfortable taking any sort of trip all alone. My husband is a home-body, doesn’t really like to travel. My children are adults with jobs, their own family responsibilities and often can’t take the time to travel with me.  Traveling on your own can be fun, challenging and memorable. Traveling alone forces you to be independent.

Some items can fit both the pro and con list depending on how you feel about things! For me, the pros far exceed the cons since I would have missed out on lots of my travel experiences if I stayed home rather then go solo. There are many pros and cons to solo travel and here is my short list:

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PROS ~ When you travel alone, you are independent and in control. When you travel solo, you can be selfish, you can change your mind ~ everyone deserves to be selfish now and then.

  • Only responsible for yourself ~ nothing is better than arriving at the airport, getting through TSA and boarding a flight all alone!
  • Travel at your own pace – never a need to compromise
  • Get up when you want ~ go to bed when you want
  • Eat when and where you want
  • See exactly what you want to see
  • Splurge on the things you want to splurge on and only when you want to. It’s much easier to stay within your budget when you travel alone.

When you travel alone, you don’t have to stick to or fit in anyone else’s schedule. You aren’t asked to do things you don’t want to do. Independence! It lets you make your own plans and stick to them ~ or not!

It’s much easier to meet new people and make some new friends when you travel alone. When you travel with others you tend to stick with those others and not branch out of your comfort zone of people.

Traveling alone makes you more likely to experience new things since there is no family member or friend around to question your choice or remind you that the experience may be out of your normal comfort zone.

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CONS

When you first start to travel alone, it can be hard to get used to. There are times you’ll wish you had someone to share a certain experience with so make your camera your best friend! When I get home from a trip I often spend hours showing my husband pictures and telling him about certain experiences.

  • If you face a challenge while traveling, it’s a lot easier when you have a travel companion.
  • It gets lonely sometimes ~ usually when it’s time to eat, but once you get used to dining alone, you just might find you prefer it!
  • Can be more expensive since you aren’t sharing the cost of a room with a companion
  • No one to help you figure things out – you are on your own.
  • Safety – Solo travel is not necessarily unsafe, but it’s definitely less safe than traveling with others. We tend to be a bit more vulnerable when we are alone.

safety-ABC

Solo Travel Safety

When you travel alone always travel with a plan. Use common sense when planning a trip and choosing a destination. A solo traveler can be seen as an easy target so avoid going to areas that are known for problems, and be sure to have a plan for keeping your valuables safe. Research, research, research – know what part of the city your accommodation will be in and know where to go if you have a problem.

Always make sure your family at home has a detailed copy of your itinerary, flight and ticket information and leave valuables at home.

Make sure you have adequate health insurance and that your health insurance will cover medical emergencies away from home. If not, purchase travel insurance that will.

Choose a hotel where security is good and public transportation or taxis are readily available. Once in your room, check to make sure all of the doors and windows have working locks. Always use your peephole before opening your door. I always request that my room not be at the far back of a hotel, and if possible not have outside access and depending on the size of the hotel, as close to the main building or lobby as possible.

Before leaving your hotel, ask the concierge for directions to where you plan to visit that day, for any areas you should avoid and for the easiest means to get there. This will help you avoid unsafe areas. If you do get lost, always ask for directions from a family or a woman with children.

Use photos!

  • Take photos of the condition of your rental car inside and out when you first pick it up. Report pre-existing damages before leaving the lot and a time-stamped photo will provide proof of anything that was there before you took possession of car.
  • Take a clear photo of the car rental agreement
  • Take photos of any prescription medications you may have with you in case they get lost.
  • Take photos of your important travel documents
  • Take a photo of the main credit card you will be using – both front and back. If the card is lost or stolen you will have immediate access to the toll free number and account number to report the loss.
  • If checking luggage, always have one contingency set of clothing in your carry-on – just in case.
  • Have a pre-arranged time that you check-in with someone at home so they know to be expecting your call. When traveling within the U.S., I usually call my husband each morning around 7.
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