Travelling Alone can be Daunting and Exciting at the same Time, Don’t Do it Before you read this! Better Safe than Sorry!
You man/woman or mouse…
Okay I know I am big gal, I travel a heck of a lot but travelling alone hasn’t been a common occurrence. I used to do so in my 20s, but that’s a while back, shh don’t ask. 🙂
I absolutely don’t encourage you to go travelling alone with the Ex…they are in the past for a reason, (a whole nother blog post 🙂 ) Yes some people are that scared of solo travel, they would rather walk in murky past waters….
Then you find parents who cannot understand that their children wont be traveling alone on a school trip…these we address in this post!
Now on the other hand our children are travelling a heck of a lot on their own for school trips, planned vacations and other travel! And it’s absolutely essential to plan their solo trips. So if you are in the same boat or are a single, or plan to do some solo travel, or are worried/scared to do so his is for you. You also may need some guidance pre-travel; dive into our proven travel planning tips here before you go further.
Of course we know quite a few people who are so terrified of travelling alone or letting their young adult child do so even on a school trip! This shouldn’t be the case though. Even with the scare and hairy stories we hear of tourists being attacked, of being mistreated, not forgetting paying more for travelling solo in suppliments, the majority of people travel in considerable safety and enjoyment!
Now let’s get real here, do you leave your judgement and natural caution at home when you travel? Many tourists seem to…!
I know almost every parent esp. mothers would get a lot anxious when either your children or you are travelling alone, but there is no need to be if you have planned in advance. Travelling alone is great fun and I’ll tell you why!
From my last solo trip, I know I would have enjoyed lots with hubby and liluns, yet I found that I was freer in myself and had a ton of fun with the girls (heck we walked to a club over a bridge to shake a leg), and did lots of fun stuff I may have avoided with the family. Travelling alone can be a great way to discover this amazing wondrous planet.
It allowed me to be more present, and see my surroundings more clearly. I ate when I wanted, I went where I wanted and stayed up as long as I wanted…As I didn’t have to take my partner’s sensibilities to mind! And I know 100% I experienced the kindness of strangers as a solo female traveler. I learnt more about myself and it was truly exhilarating, a hoot and amazing!
So allow me to soothe your anxiety about traveling solo below:
1. Find Alternatives to Expensive Hotels:
Last solo trip our daughter took, they stayed at a hostel. For a young person, this experience opened her up to build confidence in talking with strangers, locals and learning about the local area. They always took one, so you too should always have a map esp. when you approach a stranger to ask for directions, have one in your hand. Guess what, they will tell/show you a heck of a lot more.
Alternatively, you could ask a local to take a photo of you (selfies aren’t as glam), and then ask about local attractions & eateries they recommend. Remember to check your hostel reviews out before you book as it could be cheaper to book a 2/3-star B&B!
Now for some even the thought of lone travel brings them out in a sweat!
To avoid feeling and being lonely, you should check out Travelmassive aka Tripolette and find a travel buddy in minutes or other Solo travellers with the same itinerary and plans. There’re many travellers connecting and sharing trips esp. in Europe. Join the community or let your young adult join so they don’t have to ever travel alone! Also before you travel find like-minded individuals via Meetups.
These are worldwide and usually welcoming of new members to wide-ranging events including travelling, get-aways, museum walks. We are members of one where we meet at a different local foreign restaurant for a meal once a month and plan walks, hikes and even weekenders. Many single members travel together as a solution to travelling alone. Alternatively, tip #3 is a good bet for you & our favorite! 🙂
2. Learn about the Best Places to Travel Alone!
Do this before you plan your first or next solo trip. Of course most places are okay to travel alone to, but some are better than most, for instance Spain won that accolade for 2014. As one of Europe’s safest countries for solo vacations and singles travel! Europe & Canada average are okay for people travelling alone as opposed to USA.
Do your research and know what you could be facing in advance. Know more about the countries security rating and local destination’s happy people rating, try this. Also find out which 5 destinations to avoid if travelling alone here, fore warned is forearmed! And of course it would be unfair for us not to mention some of the safest places for women to travel alone!
3. Instead of Travelling Alone totally join a Global Community of Travellers
This is our favorite tip. We highly recommend this for singles vacations/solo travel, couples, family travel options etc. Join a community of world travellers. Similar to joining your local Gym so you don’t have to exercise on your own and keep motivated. Same concept with way more fun thrown in the mix. In this way you will always have company when/if you need it, while also having the freedom to go off and do your own thing knowing someone always has your back, your welfare and safety at hand. We have come to love and consider those members we meet on our various trips as family.
In addition, you get your very own Personal Concierge 24/7 and a Travel Host on almost every trip. The host arranges your airport pick up & drop offs, activities, hotel extras, upgrades & comforts.
Those lil extras we have come to be so grateful for and accept as part of our normal travel experiences. Be part of a Global community of world travellers. You can learn more about our community here. And never feel alone or unsafe when on a Dream vacation
4. DINING FOR THE LONE TRAVELLER – PLAN YOUR MEALS
Always ask about deals, solo or not. Don’t get carried away with your meals when travelling alone, neither should you eat junk. But poor meal planning is a common tourist and solo traveller trap that can easily gobble up your food or vacation money. And if you haven’t yet read our post on vacation money read it here!
First it’s great to ask the locals esp. hotel or hostel staff the best value restaurants, self-service cafes, and local fast food eateries & small family run restaurants. Alternatively, check online for websites which sort restaurants by price. We have access to a travel app that helps us with this in addition to earning more travel points for our next trips while eating out.Sweet! 🙂
If you will be out sightseeing during the day, pack plenty of snacks from the Breakfast bar or buy a load so you can save on restaurant meals can be quite expensive.
Sign up for sites like Groupon before your solo travel trip and find out if you can subscribe to local deals in that area/city. Lots of restaurants run promotions for cheap meals we have found. Asking the locals or the hotel staff is a great way to find these places too.
Local cafes and coffee shops are great for people travelling alone. They also may have free Wi-Fi. So you check your social media, while finding a basic variety of foods and snacks to fill up.
Why not find the local super market or deli, or pizza? Stock up on some local snacks, fruits and nuts and find the local park, beach, marina or attraction and have a solo picnic. 🙂 Take some selfies and enjoy the scenery! This pains me to say, as it encourages junk eating, but if all fails head to the nearest MacD’s, Burger King KFC or local Burger joint, no one will ask about your non existent companions!
And my final dining solo tip is; when travelling alone be mindful of people asking you whether your partner or friends are joining you esp. if you’re a woman. You could bag yourself a stalker or unwanted companions. To avoid this embarrassment, you might like to go straight to the bar area and order your drink and a bite. Bar tenders don’t really ask questions. But waiters tend to ask if you are waiting for someone else on a table lol! Take your main meal during the day its healthier and you won’t have to look like a billy no mates of an evening dining alone.
5. BE MINDFUL OF PERSONAL SAFETY WHEN TRAVELLING ALONE
This goes double for women and young people. And while I travelled to a very safe location in Tampa Florida, and met some amazing entrepreneurs, your trip may be different! Yes, most places are fairly okay esp. during the day, but not if you get off the beaten track with no back up or company (safety in numbers in such cases) …Although we highly recommend you do see more of the uncommon beauty, your personal safety comes first always! Learn about some epic underrated attractions in Hawaii Here. But I digress…
When you travel alone it’s absolutely essential to take all necessary precautions. For instance: keep your credit, bank cards safe. Preferably in a hotel safe. Expensive jewelry will only attract unwanted attention! Leave that heirloom at home or in the safe too.
Do your research on the location you are headed to, ask the hotel/hostel staff which areas to avoid for they like to keep the Hotel Brand clean so will want their guests safe. And if in doubt Don’t Go there! Of course not forgetting your Guide book, Street map, a phrase book if not English speaking and like I said earlier, carry cash as opposed to your cards!
When you are out there, Act confident, like you know what you are about. We share a load of resources to help you learn more about specific locations in our Ultimate Travel Planning Guide, do use it as a resource below!
Dress appropriately esp. as a solo female traveller or on a singles travel! You don’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention either for inappropriate dress code or God forbid possible harassment. In the Arab world women should cover up, period! May be a great idea to have a can of mace or perfume with you lol!
If you do lose your way or direction when travelling alone, it’s always advisable to seek directions from a family, children or a woman, not that women can’t be mean, but they are generally more approachable (Advice from TripAdvisor). And you want to stay safe! Better still walk into a restaurant, café or shop to either study your area guide/map better or ask for those directions!
Don’t be going places alone in the dark or walking down unlit or poorly lit streets. Rather stay close to the crowds, and enjoy the night views of your temporary destination. Hang with tour groups in the day and keep close to crowded places, as a lone traveller, its only practical to do! If you think someone is following you, trust your instincts. Don’t worry about etiquette, start shouting loudly and act crazy…All the while heading to the nearest hotel, shop, café, restaurant! Talk to the person behind the counter and ask for a taxi to your accommodation! It’s dark and/or your life, so don’t be shy about this okay!
If you are married, I say keep your wedding ring on always, why take it off anyway? If you ain’t married, wear a fake one (the one time we recommend to fake it till you make it 😉)! It’s your life, when travelling alone some things are better faked to avoid unwanted overzealous admirers.
6. TRANSPORT FOR THE SOLO TRAVELLER
It’s of course essential to get from A to B safely whether you are travelling alone or in a group, and it is essential to be very savvy about it! Public transport can be either an excruciating or fun experience when travelling alone. Now its basic precautions and preparation is 99% the work always, so before you leave home, research the public transport system of your destination. Learn the exact location of the bus, train station or airport from your accommodation, and how much it would cost to get there! Check if there are reviews online about that location and safety of lone travellers/women/young adults etc.
Find out the Service times, you don’t want to be stuck in a place after the last bus/train left! For instance, we found that the last train to & from the station close to the training venue we attended in Florence was at 10:30pm…the one before that was at 9pm. Our training finished about 8:30pm. A mad dash to the station to catch the 2nd last train or wait 1hr+ for the last train, which was late by over 20 mins when we did wait. It would have been a long painful wait and would be definitely scary for a lone traveller, but the event attendees looked out for each other and it was a fun wait instead. Goes back to being part of a community as a lone traveller, without necessarily being in each other’s space!
If your departure time is in the wee hours of the morning or late at night and the station didn’t feel safe to you, ask your hotel, hostel or B&B manager if you can wait in the lounge until it’s time to head for the station. Generally, find all night stores, busy Cafés, and bars with long hours, fairly okay to wait.
Basic personal safety; don’t sit alone in a train coach or on a bus. Find a coach occupied by families with children or women. In some countries you can look into booking a couchette on an overnight train and lock the door. Or share with other women travellers with an attendant. It’s better than taking a long journey in a coach full of strange men!
Travelling Alone, Final thoughts!
Of course Travelling alone can be an anxious endevour esp. if it is your first time. So careful planning with attention to detail is essential to ensure your experience is a wonderful one, and/or your parents/partner don’t die of stress worrying about you. If you are going for a short trip, plan each day out, have an itinerary and share it with a family member or friend back home or at the hotel/accommodation before you leave. That way you & they know exactly where you’ll be and what to do. This in itself will settle your anxiety and make travelling alone a pleasure.
Remember, it’s mostly down to being mindful, having the confidence to go out there solo, making good decisions, and frankly common sense. Do it or let your 17/21 yr old go on a solo trip and they/you with find amazingly life enriching experiences, you’ll create awesome memories in Photos and videos and have a belly full of stories to share for years. Solo travel allows you to re-discover yourself or and for the younger people travelling alone is journey of self-discovery, and enjoying this amazing planet with the energy of youth!
What do you think are the most pressing fears for lone travel? How many of these have you allowed to hold you back? You may need our Travel Matters tips for a lil nudge! Let us know in the comments below!
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