Going solo can be fun. If you travel by yourself, you’ll get to know yourself better and be able to follow your own schedule. If you've been holding back, these tips will make it easier for you to head out by yourself. You'll learn how to handle three of the most common concerns.
Coping with Loneliness and Boredom
You might think you'd get lonely if you traveled solo. But learning to enjoy your own company is actually something that's worth appreciating. On the other hand, it's almost always easy to make friends when you want them.
Keep a lookout for new experiences as you travel. They give an edge and help fight boredom.
Take a tour.
A day tour is a great way to meet new people. It's easier when both of you are into the same things and away from your normal routine.
You can usually find shared tables at restaurants, or you could ask your hotel to recommend them. If you want to be more discrete, eat at the bar instead of a table.
Stay at a bed and breakfast.
B&B’s are a great choice for travelers who want to experience the local culture. But if you're looking for more of a social atmosphere, hostels may be your thing. Either way, you're bound to make friends in these types of accommodations.
Frequent local businesses.
Keep visiting the same fruit stall and that owner will remember you. Exchange some small talk and if they give you any advice about exploring the city, take it.
Talk with new people.
Greet your fellow travelers or locals who seem friendly and helpful. Trains and coffee shops are two good places to start.
Do volunteer work.
Why not do a little volunteer work with a non-profit? For example, you could travel to exciting places to build homes for people who need them through Habitat for Humanity.
Pursue solitary activities.
Spend some time consuming culture at a museum or lying on the beach with a good book, and just be by yourself for a change. Enjoy the peace and relaxation you get from being alone.
Protecting Your Safety
Safety is a top flight concern for any traveler. Some basic precautions will reduce your risks.
Looking like a tourist may leave you vulnerable. Walk with confidence and step inside a hotel to check your map.
Pay attention to what’s going on in your surroundings. Ask your hotel where it’s safe to walk. If you’re in an area that feels unsafe, take a cab over there instead of walking!
Protect your money.
You may want to consider wearing a shoulder bag instead of using a handbag. It's good to wear it across your body or under your coat. You can also use a money belt or clip when traveling alone to make yourself less vulnerable to theft. Solo travelers are often the perfect target for pickpockets.
Assess your fluency.
You should also consider your language skills. Think about what would happen in the event of a medical emergency.
Gather your documents.
Keep copies of your ID and health insurance with you and with family/loved ones at home.
Check in at home.
Speaking of home, give your full itinerary to at least one person. Call or text them every few days to let them know you’re okay. There have been way too many instances of travelers disappearing on a trip and nobody realizes it for quite some time.
Leave your valuables at home. Traveling with minimal baggage increases your comfort and your ability to move quickly.
Sticking to Your Budget
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to come across what's known as ”single supplements” on cruises and tours that charge solo travelers extra in order to make up for the lack of a second customer. Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy a vacation affordably as a single person.
Save up in advance.
Put money aside gradually into a savings account. Small amounts add up over time.
Be flexible about timing.
To find great deals, you might need to buy tickets at the last minute or more than a few months ahead of time. It's also worth traveling off-season when there might be some advantageous discounts.
Look for special bargains.
Check discount travel sites and look for deals. Some venues may even be willing to waive the single supplement.
If you're looking to go on a solo vacation and want to travel with someone, look for companies who offer that service. Start emailing them and ask them to match you up with someone heading your same way.
Spend a whole week at a pumpkin festival or browse the Louvre at your own pace. Don't be intimidated by traveling solo - it can produce memories you'll cherish for life.