A few solo travel tips can help make any adventure safer and more fun. Many women are afraid to travel solo, as they fear it will open them up to unwanted advances from men. They also fear that they will be lonely or bored.
Here are five solo travel tips for women:
Remember why you chose to travel solo. Why did you want to go to London (for example)? Was it because there was so much you wanted to see on your own? Or was it because the lure of the location outweighed not being able to find someone else willing or able to go with you? Remember your desire to see the location and let that outweigh your loneliness.
Take precautions. Even if you were traveling with a friend instead of traveling solo, you would still take precautions. Make sure your door is locked at night. Watch your surroundings. Don’t go off with strange people. Basically, just use your common sense. People are generally friendly, and I’ve often been helped abroad by strangers. However, I wouldn’t get in a car with someone I did not know.
Value your own company. One of my favorite parts of traveling abroad is the time I get to experience learning about myself. I learned that I can handle emergencies without having to turn to someone else for advice. I’ve learned that I like being alone at times. Take some time to find out about yourself while you are on your own. What do YOU like? Most women at heart are caregivers and look out for other people. Learn to look out for yourself.
Learn to eat alone. One of the hardest parts of solo travel is the nightly meal. It’s hard to sit alone while others are dining together. However, this is a great time to discover a culture! People watch while you dine. Make up stories about the people you see.
Don’t feel uncomfortable, either. Most people are admiring you for being able to be alone – it is a hard feat to be that comfortable with yourself.
Another way to enjoy your evening meal is to plan your next day. When you travel solo, it is often harder to navigate. So make sure you plan out your next day’s route ahead of time. Also, you can use this time to write in a journal about your day’s discoveries.
Enjoy the adventure! The best thing about solo travel is that you get to choose what you are going to do. No traipsing through museums you aren’t interested in so that your friend gets to see a certain painting. No going to dinner at restaurants you abhor! You choose. If you want to spend all day exploring a Scottish Castle ruin, go ahead. Enjoy yourself. Also enjoy the fact that you’ve traveled on your own budget!
Solo travel is one of life’s most inspiring adventures. No matter where you do it or how, it seems to bring a renewed passion for and understanding of the world around you. It can be a bit of a daunting undertaking, so here are 20 tips for solo travellers:
Plan in advance
Do some advance planning, that’s one of the best tips for solo travellers. You don’t need a detailed plan but you should know, for the first night at least, where you’re going to stay. Book your hostel before you leave.
Pack light so that you can manage your luggage by yourself with ease. One carry-on, a suitcase or backpack, should suffice whether you’re out for one week or three.
Try to arrive during the day
Plan to arrive during daylight so you’re not trying to find your way through an unfamiliar city in the dark, especially while traveling alone.
Mix with others
Connect with other travellers. The common rooms and lounges of hostels are great places meet short-term friends as well as pick up excellent tips for traveling alone.
Meet the locals
Connect with locals. Many cities have free local tour guides but you can also connect with a local through sites like Meetup.com and 5W – Women Welcoming Women World Wide.
Watch the world around you
Take the time to observe how people interact, and how things work. While sitting at a sidewalk cafe, on a park bench, or just killing time you can learn how to use public transit, whether to pay your bill at your table or at the counter, how to tip or how to hail a cab and much more.
Learn how to talk to strangers. Smile and start a conversation. Be curious and ask open-ended questions and follow-up questions.
Go out and enjoy yourself
Go out in the evenings. Go to pubs and bars and grab a seat at the bar. Go to concerts and the theatre. It’s all possible solo.
Don’t be put off by dining alone
Enjoy dining alone. Go to restaurants with communal tables or counters. Ask a local to order for you to start a conversation.
Sign up for courses
Definitely one of the top 10 tips for solo travellers: If you’re in one place for a while, connect with others by taking language or cooking classes. Whatever interests you. Also, visit the same café, fruit stall…every day and get to know the people.
Get off the beaten track
If you want to meet other travelers, go off the beaten path. Travelers that find each other where there are few tourists are more inclined to talk to each other. Plus, you will likely have something in common.
Go on organised tours
Break up long trips with organized tours. If you’re travelling alone, you’ll enjoy the company and a chance to let someone else take care of all the details.
Always have the essentials
Carry the essentials with you when you head out for the day. Have the name of the place you’re staying on a piece of paper in the local language. Have a copy of your emergency contacts and your documents on you.
Store important items in one place
Always keep your most important items in the same place and have a simple check. For me it’s passport, wallet, camera and phone. Those are the items I check when I feel the need.
Take your own photos
Learn to take your own photo. Your friends will be far more interested in your photos when you return if there are pictures of you amongst them.
Save on phone charges
Consider buying an unlocked cell phone so that you can buy a SIM card for your phone in each country as you travel. This will save you lots of money.
Load Skype onto your phone so that you can connect with friends and family for free when you have access to the Internet.
Take advantage of other useful apps
While learning how to travel alone, you’re find it handy to download useful apps to your phone such as a GPS, a translator, a currency converter and some travel guides.
Avoid dark alleys
Know the value of being seen. A public place is always safer than a private place.
Trust your instinct
Be aware of your surroundings and listen to your gut. If something doesn’t seem right, leave.