These points apply equally to men or women who travel alone
I have traveled solo for much of my life over the last 50 years. With just a bit of planning, some common sense, and adjusting your attitude, it is possible to have a wonderful time while traveling by yourself. In fact, solo travel can be more fulfilling than traveling with a partner, friend or group!
- Traveling alone can be fun and liberating. After all, there is nobody else to consult about what you want to do or see. You control exactly what you will get out of your travel, so take advantage of it!
- Group travel or pre-arranged vacations. OK, so you are taking advantage of pre-arranged travel with a group, but you are travelling as a single. Getting to know the rest of your group as quickly as possible can pay off as the trip unfolds. An ideal time for this is the morning following your arrival at the tour’s point of departure. At breakfast, you should recognize members of your group who were on the flight the day before. Push away any shyness you might normally have and introduce yourself. Ask if you can join them for breakfast. Not only is this a good way to meet people and make your trip more interesting, it increases your security immensely, especially if it leads to you sharing activities or tours with others.
- No group? Here’s an idea if you are in a non-English speaking country: take a home town paper, and read it at breakfast. Don’t be surprised when people come up to you to practice their English, or introduce themselves because they are the same nationality as you. This also works in a similar way when you take an English language book with you to read at a meal.
- Talk with people. Again, try to overcome any shyness you might normally have, and strike up a conversation with fellow travellers. Only do this in safe locations! Examples of safe locations: hotel pools & decks, restaurants or sports facilities of your hotel or neighbouring hotels; group tours; cruise ship public rooms. Potential unsafe locations: nightclubs; public beaches and parks; bars not in your hotel; non-secure areas of airports; and public transportation.
- Do you realize that couples and groups traveling together often isolate themselves from meeting the locals and other travellers by always sitting together in restaurants and other venues, and always talking amongst themselves as they move through sites? Traveling alone means you are free to meet and interact with other travellers and locals (but on your terms).
- The above points are all positive, but that said, DO NOT: get into a taxi alone (unless you have pre-arranged it yourself, or by your tour or hotel); walk down a dimly-lit street at night alone; idly stand around on a street; or load yourself down with parcels or camera gear. Read the good travel advice from the Government of Canada Bon Voyage, But…
Still need some inspiration to travel alone? Browse these websites, which all highlight solo travel:
- Solo Frontier – helping fledgling travellers engage with their world.
- Solo Travel, Just Go! – Adventures With Sarah, a guidebook researcher
- Magical Places by Ellen McDonough – an excellent resource for both male and female solo travellers
- Smart solo travel tips is written for the woman traveling solo, but most of the good ideas also apply to men who are traveling solo.
- The Shooting Star – Just a girl who travels…alone, for the last four years.
- 6 things you learn when travelling alone (French) – there are benefits to traveling alone.
- Tips for Traveling Solo – by the master experienced traveler himself, Rick Steves! Rick gives some good reasons to travel solo, and offers some common sense advice, although I doubt he often actually travels solo!
- Solo Traveler is written by two women who are solo travellers themselves, and offer some good advice, and explore alternatives you might not have considered. They highlight some no-single-supplement travel options worth looking at.
- Her Own Way offers useful information for both men and women who are traveling alone from Canada’s Consular Affairs.
- Traveling alone isn’t lonely — it’s an adventure – Chicago Tribune Travel, by Josh Noel – with advice from three experienced solo travellers
- 6 things traveling women have to deal with that traveling men don’t – just for women, some special challenges!