Top tips for travelling solo

Travelling solo is a growing trend that offers many advantages and can be a truly rewarding experience. For those who are attracted to the idea but perhaps feel it may be too daunting a prospect, these common sense tips may help you take the plunge.

The solo travelling phenomenon is certainly on the rise, as one tour operator has recently noted. Emma Savage, from Aurora Expeditions, tells us that there has definitely been a shift toward solo bookings, especially among women who simply choose to travel without their partners. “We are seeing a growing number of female passengers who despite having partners at home, choose to travel alone or with friends to experience the destinations that appeal to them,” she said.

“The big trip does not always appeal to their partners, so instead of missing out they go alone. While some may initially feel hesitant, they soon discover that there are often quite a few like-minded solos who are looking for a similar out-of-the-ordinary experience. This quickly dispels any doubts”.

Group tours or going it alone

The fundamental choice for solo travellers is whether to go for an organised group tour or to go it alone. Group tours offer the predictability of having a set itinerary and the likelihood of co-travellers with similar age group and interests. They offer the concept of safety in numbers and relieve you of a lot of the decision-making that may be stressful for some.

On the other hand, there is a lot to be said for carving your own path on a solo journey. Being able to set your own course and do the things that purely interest you and do them at your own pace is a big plus. There is no need to compromise with a partner or group on what you do or where you go. There are, however, a few key tips to follow to ensure safety and maximise enjoyment.

Planning ahead can save you worry
Firstly, choose a destination that is solo-friendly. Do your research on the safety reputation of possible locations and look for recommendations on the web. Is language an issue for you? Is local transport reliable and safe? Are there cultural factors that may make it uncomfortable or intimidating – especially for women? Applying such criteria to your choice will help take the stress out of the trip.

Once your destination is chosen, there are a few common sense factors to help ensure a smooth journey. Make sure you stay as mobile as possible by packing light. Accommodation-wise, it’s best to book hotels ahead for at least the first couple of nights in any new town, so that you are not left searching in the dark for somewhere to stay when you arrive.

For day-to-day comfort and security, dress casually and plan your sightseeing routes ahead of time – you don’t want to stand out as a lost or confused tourist as this may attract unwanted attention from suspicious types! Take advantage of hotel safes, so that you are not carrying around lots of valuables or cash and don’t hesitate to ask the local hotel staff for recommendations of where to go to remain safe as well as for touring pointers. It also makes sense to inform somebody of where you plan to go each day, so that someone will be aware of your whereabouts in case of an emergency.

Time your daily routine so that you are up and about early and directing your energy to the daylight hours. If dining out alone at night worries you then why not make lunch your main meal. If lack of human interaction is a concern, then book yourself on some walking tours where you will invariably meet some like-minded travellers to chat with.

Traveling solo can be a fulfilling experience if it is planned correctly, so don’t be afraid to take the plunge! 

Here are some links that may offer useful advice:
smartraveller.gov.au
wikitravel.org
abc.net.au

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