Humans are social creatures. As a result, it’s often difficult for us to get excited about doing something alone. Whether it’s going out to eat or seeing a movie, many of us like to go with someone else. This is especially true when it comes to travel. It’s hard to contemplate the idea of spending that much time alone.
Traveling alone doesn’t have to be traumatic. In fact, once you get a handle on traveling by yourself, you might find that you enjoy it.
One of the best things you can do is plan ahead. This works when you are traveling with someone else, as well as traveling alone. This doesn’t mean that there is no room for spontaneity, but it does mean that you should have a general idea of what to expect. Some things you should know before you head out alone:
- How long it should take to travel from place to place. Know how long it should take to travel from the airport to your hotel. Understand how long it should take to get from your hotel to wherever you are going. That should give you a feel for whether or not you are being scammed or “taken for a ride.”
- The rules of your lodging. Some hostels have curfews, and there are some hotels that have rules about late checkins. Know these rules so you can gauge your arrival and stay on time.
- Have a general idea of your itinerary so that friends and relatives have a rough idea of where you should be, and when you should be there. If you are making a major departure from the itinerary, let your loved ones know.
Understand the major roads, transit schedules, and other travel-related items before you head out. That way, you have a general idea of what to expect, and you can avoid looking too much like a tourist (and a mark).
Safety Tips for Traveling Alone
While it can be an exhilarating experience to travel alone, it’s also important to realize that you could be seen as a more desirable mark when you don’t have a companion to help you out. This means that you need to take extra care for your safety.
First of all, try to avoid standing out. Don’t wear clothing bought at attractions, since it identifies you as a tourist. Avoid wearing flashy clothes, and stay away from jewelry. Be sure to keep a couple different forms of ID in different places. Also don’t keep all of your cash in one place. That way, if one of your stashes is taken, you still have a backup.
Next, consider signing up with your embassy, or a program designed to quickly provide you with assistance while abroad. Registering with the consulate or embassy of your country also alerts the authorities that a citizen is nearby. If you lose your ID, in some cases your registration can provide your country’s representatives with information they need to help you.
Finally, don’t be afraid to tell white lies. When asking for directions, say that you are meeting a friend. This works whether you are trying to find your way to a museum, or whether you are looking for your hotel. Other white lies can involve having someone waiting for you, or that you are expected to call someone shortly. While a determined criminal won’t be deterred, those looking for a quick score might back off.
Talk to People
Don’t forget that one of the advantages of traveling alone is that you can meet people. Being on your own allows you to blend in a little better, and you have the freedom to explore a little more, and do so on your own schedule. Make sure to talk to people and make new friends. Learn about the local area and culture. While you can’t completely let your guard down, you still have the chance to enjoy new company and learn new things.
Do you ever travel solo? What’s your favorite thing about traveling alone?