Traveling solo has its pros and cons and it’s up to you to decide whether it will work for you. Solo travel is intensely personal. You can discover more about yourself at the same time as you’re discovering your travel destination. Traveling on your own is fun, challenging, vivid, and exhilarating. I have read that people who have never traveled alone often describing their first solo trip as an almost religious experience.
To be completely independent and to do exactly what you want to do ALL THE TIME, see exactly what you want to see - can be a blissful self-indulgence.
Here are a few tips I’ve used myself and also what I have found in my research. www.safetraveller.gov.au gives you some excellent advice that you can use before and while you travel:
- Use reputable taxis or organize hotel transfers before you leave.
- Know how long it takes and how much it costs when using taxis. Ask the driver for the cost before you leave. There are plenty of online calculators you can use. If it is different from what you know to be true, take a different taxi.
- Avoid travelling on a train alone in a carriage.
- Check your maps and transportation schedules before leaving your hotel/train/rental car/tourist office so that you 5. know where you are and where you are going at all times.
- Ask for a room above the ground floor, near the elevator, and away from emergency exits and stairwells. When a large hotel isn't available, try a bed and breakfast rather than a motel. Be organized and don't wait until you arrive to find a place to stay.
- Check your hotel arrival details so if you arrive late at night, you are able to access your accommodation easily.
- Take a hotel postcard from the counter with the hotel's name, address, and phone number. Keep it with you. Pack a couple of rubber doorstops and slip them underneath the outside door and any adjoining doors after you secure the room. This will prevent anyone from opening these doors from the other side. (But be aware – this tip could be a problem if you need to be rescued during a fire or natural disaster or if you panic, you might have trouble opening the door yourself).
- Leave the Do Not Disturb sign on the door when you're gone. This won’t necessarily stop a burglar, but some may move on to the next room rather than take the chance. Leave the television or radio on when you're gone to give the illusion that the room is occupied.
- When you arrive in your room, secure the windows and adjoining and balcony doors; check the room thoroughly before locking yourself in. Don't hesitate to ask security to accompany to your room at any time. Chat with the concierge/hotel staff about areas to avoid. They can also help you choose the safest and quickest routes for your excursions.
- Have a good book, a magazine or your travel journal with you at all times – if you are in a restaurant or bar and feel a little lonely or exposed you can have something to read or write in. Most waiters will take the time to chat with you if you tell them you are alone and want their recommendations about what to eat or what to see.
- Use Facebook and Twitter to ask for connections where you’re travelling. Offer to teach English as a swap for language practice and local knowledge. You’ll be surprised how many people take you up on it.
- Learn some language – it will amaze you the different types of people you can connect to by speaking some language – no one will think you are a tourist….
There are several ways to get around the single supplement. You can avoid it altogether by booking with a tour operator that offers share accommodation but it means you will have to share a room with a stranger. If you're concerned, contact the tour operator and voice your concerns - see what kind of procedures they use to match roommates and again if it feels wrong – don’t do it…
If you're flexible and ready to go at a moment's notice, you could save money by booking at the last minute. Tour operators who are eager to sell out their last few places may be willing to reduce their usual single supplement. Have fun, negotiate and grab a bargain.
What are your most memorable solo travel stories? Have we missed any tips? Feel free to join in the conversation on our Facebook page or leave your comments below.
VLLC National Business Manager.