Top Tips for Safe and Satisfying Solo Travel
by Daniel | Last Updated November 23rd, 2019
Many people from around the globe shy away from single traveling. They might not feel safe traveling on their own, or they feel uncertain about being alone on such a long journey.
However, hardcore solo travelers know all too well just how safe and satisfying traveling independently can actually be. It all depends on how you educate yourself, where you choose to go, and, of course, how you adjust your mindset.
If you're thinking about solo travel, here are some top tips for starting an independent journey.
Look for deals online
Believe it or not, there are numerous websites and travel companies out there that specialize in vacation packages for the solo traveler. These resources can save you a substantial sum for your trip.
Not sure where to look? Some amazing resources include:
Exodus Travels: This small company has offered customized guided trips to solo travelers for over 45 years, and has won numerous awards in over 100 different countries.
Intrepid Travel: Similar to Exodus Travels, Intrepid Travel offers vacation packages to over 100 countries since the 1980s. Around half of all travelers are solo travelers.
G Adventures: G Adventures offers you the chance to capitalize on great specials and discounts, but it is also known for its sustainability factor. The company works hand in hand with small hotels and operators that are all locally owned. Therefore, they help to make sure that any money you spend goes directly to the community that you’re visiting.
Internations Expat Community: This is a top-rated network and guide especially for expats. It spans over 420 cities worldwide.
Steer clear of single supplements
Always read the fine print before going ahead and securing your trip. This is imperative because some hotels, vacation websites, and cruise lines will charge a costly single supplement if you are traveling alone. This single supplement ensures that the travel provider is still able to reach their maximum revenue regardless of whether or not you bring a travel companion along with you.
The great news is that none of the solo travel resources above charge a single supplement when you book your vacations through them.
If in doubt regarding a single supplement, be sure to speak with the travel provider before confirming your reservation.
Choose your destination wisely
Safety while journeying alone can be a concern. However, it is all about where you are venturing off to. The sad reality is that women need to be especially careful about where their vacation takes them, as there are numerous countries out there where femicide is a massive problem and it simply isn’t safe for women to walk the streets alone.
Having said that, there are also countless destinations out there that should prove to be perfectly harmless and danger-free. According to a new report released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the world’s top ten safest cities are as follows:
9. Hong Kong
Even if you are lucky enough to visit any of the aforementioned countries where safety is not usually an issue, it is still important to be safety-savvy. No matter where you are, crime is always a possibility, so it is essential that you know how to protect yourself.
Considering that most opportunistic criminals tend to target tourists, do everything that you can to conceal the fact that you are not native to the area.
It is also advisable to familiarize yourself with the contact details for various local authorities and to memorize the address of the nearest police station, just in case you need assistance in the event of an emergency.
It can be extremely helpful to look online and read reviews before booking your stay at a hotel or hostel. Traveladvisor.com is a wonderful place to start, but you can also visit a prospective hotel’s social media pages for more insight. Reading all about other travelers’ positive experiences can make you feel less vulnerable and more confident in your decision in terms of where to stay.
Finally, it is always wise to leave your friends and relatives with a copy of your travel itinerary before you depart for the airport. This copy should include important information such as your flight times and numbers, where you’ll be staying, and when.
If you are venturing to a new location where winter is in full force, there is a good chance that it is going to get dark early. Unless you feel safe enough to head out at night on your own, you are probably going to find yourself spending more time in your hotel room than you originally planned to.
Free WiFi can make those long nights bearable, giving you the opportunity to use your laptop to catch up on your favorite series, browse Facebook, and Skype with friends and family back at home. It can really make all the difference to your overall experience.
Learn the local lingo
Traveling to a destination where a different language is spoken? While you certainly won’t have the time to learn the language in its entirety, you should definitely try to prepare for the trip by learning a few important phrases. Some handy ones include:
‘Where is the restroom?’
‘What time is it?’
‘Where can I find…?’
‘My name is…’,
‘Please, can I have…’.
After all, you don’t want to rely on Google Translate the whole time you are there!
Unless the sole reason why you decided to travel on your lonesome was to be completely alone at all times, there is nothing stopping you from being friendly and making new acquaintances throughout your trip. Chat to the locals, meet up with other travelers, and just enjoy the social aspect of your vacation. You may find that a short, interesting conversation with a stranger breaks the monotony of solo travel.
If you’re eager to be even more social, keep a lookout for local events and activities that are taking place close to where you’re staying. You could also head down to the local café, sip on a hot beverage, and simply people-watch. This is one of the most exciting pastimes for any solo jet-setter!
Eat alone with confidence
So many people who jet-set on their own will find themselves shying away in their hotel rooms during mealtimes. Don’t make room service your go-to solution. Muster up the confidence to visit a local restaurant or eatery and eat alone with gusto. It is the perfect chance to reflect on your day and enjoy the tranquil solitude without feeling isolated.
If you’re still feeling a bit vulnerable, choose a restaurant that offers private booths in which to sit. That way, you can eat and think in peace without anyone paying you too much attention.
Make the most of it
Family vacations are usually based around compromise. Solo adventures, on the other hand, can be anything and everything that you want them to be! Now is the time to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. If you challenge yourself to tick off every aspect of your bucket list, boredom or loneliness won’t play any part in your holiday.
Be an early bird
If you find yourself steering clear of the local nightlife due to safety concerns or simply not feeling confident enough to strut your stuff solo, be an early bird instead. That way, you can make the most of your days without feeling like you are missing out when the sun eventually sets.
Grab a hearty, nutritious breakfast and head for the most popular attractions. The most notable benefit of getting started earlier in the morning means that you are likely to miss the worst of the crowds.
You are certain to return home with plenty of stories to tell and memories to share. This is why it is important to take copious amounts of pictures as proof of your adventures. Save them for when you arrive back at home or share them on social media in real-time.
If you opt to do the latter, it may almost feel as though your friends and family are right there with you. You’ll be surprised by how many people will be waiting for your next upload with bated breath!
Believe you can do it
Many people go on solo getaways because they want to ‘find themselves’, and they most certainly do. There is no doubt that traveling alone can be challenging, but it is also infinitely rewarding. You will likely return from your trip with a heightened level of confidence and belief in your abilities, along with a revitalized mind and a fresh sense of direction.
There is nothing worse than having to pinch your pennies while you’re away by yourself. The secret to independent travel is to ensure that you have saved up enough in order to pay off your trip in full before you board your flight.
You should also strive to leave with enough spending money in your pocket to allow yourself to live a little bit more lavishly than usual. That way, you won’t have any financial worries marring the joys of your adventure and you can really enjoy every moment to the maximum.
Know what to expect from public transport
Knowing how you are going to get around once you reach your chosen destination is imperative, especially if it is not considered safe to do so on foot at all hours of the day and night.
If you plan to use the subway or the bus, you might even be able to purchase an extended ticket before you depart from home. That's one less thing to stress about. As soon as you land, you will be able to hop on and be whisked instantly away to your hotel. No-fuss, no waiting.
You will never have a more perfect opportunity to try new things than when you are exploring a new location all on your own. You have nothing holding you back from going for it, whether it be bungee jumping or learning how to swim. Challenge yourself and engage in as many new and exciting activities as you can. You will leave feeling accomplished and wholly satisfied with your excursion. Money well spent!
Even if you meet a few people in a bar or a club who you really warm up to and who instantly feel like friends, it is essential to avoid overindulging in alcohol. When traveling on your own, you need to keep your wits about you at all times. By getting too drunk, you instantly make yourself vulnerable and anything could happen as a result.
Your new ‘friends' could abandon you or they could prove that they were never your friends in the first place by taking advantage of your intoxicated state.
Don’t take the risk. Always, always drink responsibly and never leave your drink unattended.
Stay in touch
For maximum safety, you may want to consider updating a friend or family member regarding your whereabouts throughout your holiday. Consider creating and sharing a Google sheet that contains all of this important information and update it regularly every day. Even if you are taking a short walk to the store down the road, it is worthwhile updating the sheet. In the unlikely instance that something untoward does happen to you, your loved one will have a solid lead to work from.
Gear up and go!
Now that you know how to travel safely, gear up for an adventure of a lifetime! Whether you are single and going on an adventure, or simply taking a break from your family routine back at home, traveling solo promises endless benefits and countless memories. Relish every moment! Once you travel alone once, it will be something that you want to do again.
To learn more about singles travel, and for even more helpful tips, be sure to browse our blog!