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Solo travel Do's and Donts - Personal safety when traveling alone!

Going it Solo – Travelling Alone, Dos and Don’ts!

Travelling Alone can be Daunting and Exciting at the same Time, Don’t Do it Esp. not with the Ex…Before you read this! Better Safe than Sorry! 

TRAVELLING ALONE OR SOLO TRAVEL CAN BE SCARY BUT SUCH FUN! The Dos & Donts #Traveltips #specialtytravel

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.

 Travelling alone can be a great way to discover this amazing wondrous planet. #solotravel Click To Tweet

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!

 

 HERE ARE SOME PRACTICAL PROVEN TIPS ON #TRAVELLINGALONE

So allow me to soothe your anxiety about traveling solo below:

I experienced the kindness of strangers as a solo female traveler. #traveltuesday Click To Tweet

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!

Instead of travelling alone, consider joining networks like Couchserfing or Servas a hospitality-exchange network.

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

The ultimate Global Travel Community, DreamTrips #WorldVentures

 

 

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!

Pkjulesworld Dream Travel Bucket List! #DreamTravel #DreamTrips

 

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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See, Do, and Be more!

Julie Syl & Pauli Kalungi

Pkjuleswprd - A Travel Blog by Julie Syl and Paul Kalungi

 

Email: admin[at]pkjulesworld[dot]com

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106 Comments

  1. I went to AUS and NZ alone and it was the best thing I could have done for myself! It was refreshing and I let go of all the BS that was going on and just ENJOYED EVERYTHING I could! Plus, I didn’t have an international phone plan so I left my friends & family in the states! 😉

    • Ha ha haaa GiGi,

      You did the rigt thing, and dont stop gal. When you get that ring on it…do find YOu time and go refresh remember who you are before the boy 🙂

      PKJW~

  2. Traveling alone has been my thing. I drove over 2,000 miles in October last year and it is on my list of favorite travels. This post hits home and I appreciate you for sharing this with the world. Gratitude 🙂

  3. Good tips. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Edwin Lao

    I really love what you did here. Its really a very interesting to read. Travelling alone is very scary at first but once you get used to it you will know what to do. Though to be honest for me I have never traveled so far alone though maybe one day I will. Thank you for this wonderful tip its quite funny actually and very wonderful experience to read your journey.

  5. I am seriously considering travelling alone after my youngest goes off to college. Safety, though, was my very first concern. Well, after money, that is.

    • Wow Ms Halo,

      How far off is that? You allowing to live your life according to your children’s timeline? Hope you reconsider that option! Thanks for stopping by!

      PKJW~

  6. I’ve thought of traveling alone. I want to see if I could do it. I might be with my kids though, visiting family, so not really alone, but I’m used to my husband driving us whenever we travel.

    I love your detailed post on the matter.
    Personal safety is definitely a must.

    • Hi Colette,

      Its always great to have company, but every so often go off on your own, start with local spa, hotel or resort then test further afield even if once a year. You will love it!

      PKJW~

  7. I’ve always wanted to go on a trip by myself but I never got the courage :/ maybe one day…:)

    http://www.forblueskies.com

  8. If I didn’t get pregnant and got married, I should’ve made some solo travel in the past. I believe that travelling in solo helps you know yourself better.

    • Hi Mhaan,

      What makes you think getting married and having a family stops ou from taking time out for you? even going away to a local spa for you time for a couple of days is “solo travel”
      Its not just about flying away somewhere, its about being you away from the daily grind to find you again…kinda thing! 🙂 Do it!

      PKJW~

  9. Solo trips really help me self-reflect and realign my thoughts. Hopefully I can make time for another trip in the future! These are some great tips.

  10. My sister has traveled alone before. She went to South Korea a couple of times and each time I was nervous about it! But she had a blast and loved it!

    • Hi Marielle,

      Awww we are glad your sis had a blast, truly most people do travel safely and have a blast. Nothing to worry about! If they follow the steps above!

      PKJW~

  11. Thank you for the great tips! One of these days I will get to courage to travel alone. 😉

  12. To be honest, I don’t know if I’d ever actually travel alone. But these are great tips if I ever want to be brave and go! hehe 🙂

    • Hey Jolleen,

      Somehow Most people dont see themselves travel alone, yet they comfortably get on a bus,train, or drive themselves daily to work or wherever they go And dont consider that Traveling alone, because “Its habit.” Or essential travel as they like to think about it…going further to less known destinations for longer than 7 hrs a day is also travelling alone lol! Just more hours or days…s yes you do do it and should get your brave on and venture further out 🙂
      PKJW~

  13. I’ve been toying with doing more of this, so I appreciate the advice. I didn’t know about Spain. I’ll remember that!`

  14. great post Julie and full of great value… I’ve traveled alone before and I love it when needed just to be with myself regroup and enjoy some quiet quality time with myself…but mostly love traveling with one other person.. you provide so much info thanks for sharing

    • Hey LuAnn,

      Its great to have your very own inbuilt company by travelling with someone, Yet as you well know its great to travel solo every so often to simply let your inner self reemerge and live…breath 🙂 awesome!

      PKJW~

  15. I never travel alone so far.. But I’ll take this into consideration the next planning, if I were to travel alone.. TQ for your tips!

  16. Michelle Blackwood

    I traveled Europe alone when I was young, but its amazing how I’m more hesitant now that I’m older!

    • Its all in your mindset and what you have allowed to grow or fester in there Michelle.
      The world hasn’t changed that much in fact travel is so much more fun and adventurous so reboot your mind, “Pack your bags” And travel 🙂

      PKJW~

  17. Hi Julie
    My daughter is currently traveling alone, currently in New Zealand, next year in Australia.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  18. I traveled alone for YEARS (like, 6). I loved it. The freedom to roll with my own schedule, change plans on a whim and never compromise is…. kind of selfish, but also kind of awesome. It opened me up to meeting new people instead of just keeping to my group/friend – and broadened my outlook.

    I highly recommend it.

    • Kylee,
      Trust us its NOT Selfish at all, its all about self discovery and learning what works for you, meeting new people and also learning how to give and receive. So Solo Travel is a must for anybody who wants to live a richer life, when they do travel with others!
      Glad you did it woot… 🙂

      PKJW~

  19. My step brother just went to Thailand alone. He is much braver than I. I don’t think I could do a trip solely alone.

  20. What a fun post! yep definitely I have a couple places to visit in my bucket list!

  21. Great tips on travelling alone Julie, thanks for sharing

  22. Great tips for travelling alone. Something to definitely think about. You covered it all! 🙂

  23. Lexie Lane

    Never been traveled alone. Such a great tips and ideas. Thanks for that!

  24. awesome tips you shared here, thanks

  25. This is indeed a must talk topic, normally i go on trips with my family, but ive been planning a trip for my self to europe, ill be sure to keep this tips in mind!

  26. I went on a trip with my ex once, oh it was terrible! I like traveling but my anxiety makes it hard for me to go alone. It’s embarrassing but I’m working on it. These are great tips!

  27. I love to travel alone, I think that it is liberating and allows you to explore the world purely through your own eyes without having someone else butting in!

  28. I’m gonna be travelling alone soon. I hope that I will be able to do all of these soon. I’m really scared to be on my own.

  29. Thanks for the tips. I am starting to travel more by myself so this helps.

  30. These are such great tips! I travel alone about half of the time. The rest of the time, I have three kiddos in tow 😉

  31. Robin Masshole Mommy

    I could never travel alone. My sister does it all the time, but I like to have someone with me 🙂

  32. It was refreshing to read a blog post on this topic. As a world traveler I enjoyed your insight and valuable input. Thanks for sharing Julie and Pauli.

  33. I used to travel along and then I found traveling with family and it’s way too fun

  34. Hey great post on traveling alone. There are a lot of singles who have to travel a lot on their own. This post can definitely help them out. Lots of great tips! Thank Julie!

  35. Idaintyit

    I have never travelled alone and can’t imagine I ever would but my sister has and she did all of these. Some great tips, definitely bare in mind the safety aspect, a good global community is a must

  36. Great advice on Traveling Solo…. Tho I never thought of a school trip as traveling alone. Going on a Structured School trip with 50 class mates and 7 Adult Guides Definitely didnt feel anything like being alone traveling to me. And Im confused about traveling with an EX, Thats definitely Traveling with an Ex, Not traveling alone.
    none the less, Stayoing aware of our environments and Being smart while we travel is great advice. I Would LOVE to Travel Spain Solo For sure!

    • Hey Tara,

      Indeed a school trip is not travelling alone to a child, but tell that to a parent worrying about it for weeks on ne Devore and during the trip. Doesn’t matter if the child is over 15 yrs of age. So this applies to them too.

      As for exes lol lots of people do the am going to work or travelling for whatever alone while popping off with the ex lol…

      Thanks for your time Hun.

      PKJW

  37. I have always wanted to travel alone at least once. I think it would be an eye-opening experience; not just to see and learn about a new place, but to learn something new about myself as well.

  38. I Love Traveling alone and these are such great tips on how to do this in a very good and safe way !!~~ thank you for sharing ~~!!

  39. This is great advice. Anything information about being safer and saving money is welcome. Thank you.

  40. awesome travel tips julie

  41. I am just realizing that most of my travelling has been done alone….LOL…don’t ask. I quite enjoy my own company and when I am ready to go, if there is none to go with me then off I go on my adventure. I have never had any serious mishaps because I am extra careful since I am travelling alone

  42. Aziel Morte

    These are great tips I tried to travel alone in the other place I get scared but at the same time I love to travel alone I have time for everything

  43. These are great tips. Traveling alone is really important to learn about yourself! Great post!!

  44. These are great tips! But I’m such a people person, I don’t think I’d enjoy travelling alone very much. I’m also a total worry wart that watches too much TV. I think I’d spend the entire time scared and in the hotel room.

  45. suchi

    i have never travelled alone! Very thoughtfully jotted down tips though! i will definitely share this with my friends who do travel alone! thanks for sharing

  46. Traveling alone changed my life. It was the first time I really got to do what I wanted to do and just explore in a way I couldn’t do with someone else. I was scared traveling to NYC from Texas but I made sure I was safe.

  47. Superb tips for all travellers.I liked the idea o wearing a wedding ring or faking it.Whatever it takes.Great post

  48. Elizabeth O.

    Traveling alone for the first time can be a tad scary but once you’ve tried, you’ll realize it also the most fun thing ever. I love traveling alone from time to time, it helps me relax and enjoy myself. When you travel alone, you also learn more about yourself and you get to meet cool people along the way! Just be careful as well!!!

  49. I have travelled a fair bit of Europe, North America and the Caribbean alone and it was a most wonderful experience. Had misadventures along the way but those make the stories more interesting – at least now. Great tips Julie!

    • I used to travel alone as a Young girl and now I am rediscovering the same as a full grown woman who knows what I want and an entrepreneur 🙂

      We’re heading to the Caribbean and cant wait!

      Julesy

  50. These are great tips. Hostels are really becoming more popular these days. I just stayed in a hostel in New York and loved it. Everyone was kind, people spoke different languages, it was cool!

    • There are some amazing Hostels and some horrible ones, same as Hotels and Resorts. And when Travelling alone a hostel could be a good choice. esp. if recommended by other solo travellers 🙂

      PKJW~

  51. Totally agree with how freeing travelling alone is but I can only say that of the actual journey. Staying alone and exploring a city is not something I’ve ever done. I’m definitely a big wimp. I wish I had done it more though for the cliche of “finding myself”

    • Travelling alone can be so freeing of confirm our stereotypes of our selves. I used to be a wimp Amy
      Then I got out of my own way and my life has been a bag of fun since 🙂

      PKJW~

  52. Excellent tips! I would be way too scared to travel alone. I get scared walking home alone at night and I feel like my neighbourhood is fairly safe. But I totally agree that you should do a lot of research when it comes to your safety.

  53. Great tips- traveling alone is important- you learn so much about yourself!

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