For all sorts of reasons, you might be faced with the choice of traveling alone, or not traveling at all. Your partner, friends or family may not be able to take the same time off work, or maybe they’re just not as keen on the destination as you are. That shouldn’t mean you’re stuck at home.
What is Solo Travel?
Solo travel means the tourist going somewhere else alone and during their trip, they choose and decide everything such as services, activities, places based on their individual needs. Solo travellers give the choice and decision by themself.
A Solo traveller is a person who embarks on a journey, either long or short, in which they are both physically and emotionally away from the people and the culture that they are familiar with.
Categories of Being a Solo Traveller:
- Guided Solo Traveller– Someone who explores via organized tour, but doesn’t know anyone in the group prior to arriving. This includes travellers who hire a private 1-on-1 tour guide.
- Extrovert Solo Traveller– Someone who may explore with one or even multiple local people who are not guides. Enjoys interacting with local people and may even focus their entire travel on that interaction.
- Introvert Solo Traveller– Someone who explores with no one. Enjoys time alone in peace and quiet – and doesn’t make interacting with local people a goal.
Why Try Solo Travelling?
First, you can have complete freedom and control to do whatever you want, whenever you want.
Want to sleep in until noon, then order room service and binge-watch “Real Housewives” to relax? No problem. Want to be up at 6 a.m. to watch the sunrise during a peaceful run to a scenic lookout? You can do that, too. Love museums? Spend all day in one. Hate museums? Skip them completely.
Long story short: You don’t have to do anything you don’t want just because someone you’re traveling with wants to do it.
Also, you’ll likely meet new people when traveling alone since you may be more open to conversations with strangers instead of only talking with the people in your travel group. I’ve also found that being the lone foreigner at a bar or cafe quickly leads to conversation.
Additionally, you may be surprised at your own capabilities after planning and navigating your first solo trip. You’ll naturally become a better decision-maker as you decide what to do each day, rather than relying on a travel companion to make choices for you.
Tips for Solo Travelling
- Share Your Travel Plans with Trusted Family or Friends.
Send your travel itinerary, hotel reservation information and details of any planned activities to a family member or friend back home. Also, before any solo excursions, let the hotel staff know where you’re headed and when you expect to return. To stay connected with friends, family or work, even if sparingly during your solo travels, check with your smartphone provider to determine what capabilities you’ll need at your travel destination. Checking in by email or through social media works too, when you have Wi-Fi access.
- Secure Your Valuables
Bring only what you need when you venture out, like your phone, a credit card, some cash, an ID and a copy of your passport. Keep these concealed in a secure bag you can see at all times. Don’t put bags with these items down or out of your line of sight.
In case of an emergency, you should also have a photocopy of your passport in case the original gets lost or stolen. Keep the copy in a safe and separate place from where you are storing your actual passport. Consider leaving a copy with a friend or family member back home, too. It’s also important to stay alert and keep your belongings close when riding trains, buses or other forms of transportation.
- Avoid Reckless Behaviours and Use Common Sense
Many of the following tips apply wherever you venture out solo even in your hometown.
- Don’t drink too much and keep your drinks in your line of sight. Avoid going anywhere alone with a stranger.
- Pay attention to those around you when you are walking, hiking or driving.
- If you feel uncomfortable, walk into a public place like a restaurant or catch up with a large group of people.
- If someone asks if you are traveling alone, say you are on your way to meet a spouse, relative or friend.
- Get Travel Insurance
Protect yourself, and the investment you’ve made in your trip, from unforeseen events. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance can help reimburse you for covered losses like those caused by weather, natural disasters, some illnesses and other issues. Other travel insurance policies can help protect you from unexpected medical and evacuation expenses, as well as losses caused by baggage delays, theft and more.
- Make an Emergency Plan
Ideally, you’ll never face a medical issue, accident or robbery while traveling. However, it’s smart to know where to turn if an unfortunate event occurs. Research nearby hospitals, police stations and other emergency facilities before you travel. If you’re traveling internationally, learn emergency phrases in the local language so you can ask for help if you need it.
Visit your doctor or a travel clinic before you leave to ensure you have the right inoculations. When packing, bring a supply of any prescription drugs you may need, face masks, hand sanitizer and items to protect yourself from mosquitoes and other potentially disease-carrying pests.
- Do Your Safety Research and Choose Wisely
Learn about your destination’s safest neighbourhoods and if there are any areas you should avoid. Learn the safest routes to take and best forms of public transportation. Understanding more about the area you’re visiting can help you choose lodgings with good safety ratings.
When possible, reserve a room above the ground floor but not too far from the lobby and hotel amenities. Once you’ve checked in, keep your door locked with the security chain fastened when in the room, and don’t answer the door if you are not expecting hotel staff or visitors.