Tips for Traveling Solo

Tips for Traveling Solo

I genuinely enjoy traveling alone.  It allows me complete control over every aspect of my trip, including date flexibility for maximum trip-planning frugality, the experiences I have, and the option to spend exactly the amount I’m making from my weekend of house hacking.  I am better able to maximize spending for my personal happiness, even though there is no one to “cost-share” with.  If I’m not enjoying an activity, it’s OK to just move on.  I can go to bed and wake up when I want to, and I’m the one who sets the pace of the day.  I don’t have to wait around for my companion to get ready or pack up.  It’s a chance to really learn about new cultures since I’m focused on the world around me instead of my companion.  I actually find it easier to blend in with the crowd.  It makes the trip so much more personal, and it’s immensely satisfying to know you don’t have to rely on anyone else to get where you want to go.

Safety

Make sure someone always knows your flights/planned driving time and where you will be staying before you go.  I always share my travel details with my mother.  I message her immediately upon arrival, send photos throughout the trip, and let her know immediately when I get home.

Try to have someone to check in with during your stay.  I like to travel with AirBnB and find private rooms and then communicate to the host my plans for my day so that they can make sure I get home each night.  It’s much more personal than a hotel front desk.  I’m always a good guest since I’ve had some negative experiences.

Be open minded, but keep your guard up.  Don’t tell people you are traveling alone.  Don’t tell people where you are staying.

Always stay in safe areas.

Don’t draw attention to yourself as a tourist.  Check the map beforehand to make sure you know where you are going.  Be confident and travel with a purpose rather than wandering aimlessly.

Don’t walk around in your headphones.

It is absolutely imperative that you pack light and keep track of exactly where everything is.  You can’t be messing around with a bag in the street.  It makes you a target.  It’s especially bad if you need help managing your suitcase.

Do not bring any valuables that you don’t need. I love my money belt for securing my valuables closely to my body.  It is very flat and hides everything important – passport, phone, credit cards and cash.  It can be worn on the front or in the small of your back.

Do not wear jewelry!  Leave it at home.

Avoid any thick crowds since that’s where pick pockets will target.

If someone approaches you and threatens you for your stuff, always calmly hand them your bag.  Your life is worth far more than anything you could possibly be carrying.  Also, people expect valuables to be in the bag or in your pockets, not in the flat hidden granny pack which you better not start reaching for, and they most likely wouldn’t pat your chest down because they want to take your bag and run.  I am thankful that have never had safety problems because I always try to be smart.

Experiences

Always find at least one thing that you want to do at your destination before you leave.  Doing the research helps you get an idea of what is there, and having one specific thing in mind gives you something to be excited about.

Only do things YOU want to do!  You’re traveling alone.  Remember, there is no one else to worry about pleasing, and you can do whatever you want.  Hooray for not having to compromise!  If someone makes a suggestion that you don’t want to follow, simply thank them when they make it, don’t do it, and politely tell them you ran out of time if they actually ask when you get back.

If you meet someone else during an activity, it’s ok to ask them to join in.

Don’t be afraid to just walk around (but with purpose, of course).  You never know what you’ll find.

When you’re looking for food from a restaurant, find a place with a bar.  You don’t have to order alcohol.  I almost never eat at a table alone.  The bartenders have great stories and suggestions about the area.  The other people sitting at the bar might also have some interesting stories.  Even if you don’t want to talk to anyone, the commotion of the bar helps keep you from feeling as alone. Cafes and outdoor patios are great as well.  If it still makes you uncomfortable, feel free to pull out your book as you eat.

Don’t be afraid to ask photographers to take photos of you if you don’t want another selfie.  Look for someone with a fancy camera.

 

More frugal travel…

2 Replies to “Tips for Traveling Solo”

  1. I love the idea of sitting at the bar so you aren’t eating alone. I got a very small taste of solo travel on a work trip to Austin a few years ago, and it was fantastic. I love traveling with my husband and kiddo (and others), but exploring alone is definitely a different and wonderful experience.

    1. Yes, it’s so different when you travel alone. Any time I tell people I’m traveling alone, they look at me like I’m crazy! I’m just like, “hey, this is an amazing experience I don’t want to miss out on, and there’s no real reason not to go since I’m not afraid of being alone.” 🙂

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