Whether you haven’t met that special someone, are traveling on business, or simply need some “alone time,” traveling alone can be entirely different than going with a friend. Instead of staying home because you fear traveling by yourself just won’t be fun, these ten tips for solo travel can give you the confidence boost you might be looking for.
1. Avoid Lodging With a Single Supplement
Some cruise lines and hotels might require two people to share the property. If you want it all to yourself, you will have to pay a single supplement so they travel provider can still make their anticipated revenue as if you brought a travel companion.
These fees will be disclosed before you book. If not, be sure to ask before confirming the reservation.
2. Stay Somewhere With Multiple Positive Ratings
Traveling solo might make you feel more vulnerable in an unfamiliar place. Before booking a place to stay, do a little research and only stay at a hotel or Airbnb property with multiple positive reviews. These reviews will give you a good idea of what to expect from the host, neighborhood, and if any other tenants might be sharing the property with you.
3. Stay Somewhere With Free Wi-Fi
Depending on what time of year you travel, it might get dark early which means you do not want to be outside exploring as long as you might on a summer evening. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time at your hotel, make sure to stay somewhere with free wi-fi. You can use this time for Skype or Facetime your family and friends back home to recount your adventures for the day.
And, you might also use your wi-fi to stream movies, respond to emails, and surf the web. If you stay somewhere that charges a fee to access the wi-fi hotspot, you might be able to avoid that fee by staying at a hotel where you have elevated membership status and can enjoy in-room wi-fi as a complimentary perk. Or, the American Express Platinum Card will give you access to more than 1,000,000 Boingo wi-fi hotspot locations around the globe. A quick search on the Boingo website can help you determine where you can get wi-fi access when you need it most.
4. Meet Other Travelers
Another way to break up the monotony of solo travel is to meet other travelers. Your conversation doesn’t have to end when you land and deboard the plane. In fact, two great resources that can help you connect with fellow travelers and even locals are Couchsurfing (similar to Airbnb) lets you stay with local homeowners where you might also be able to meet other travelers.
Regardless of where you stay when you travel, you can also use Meetup to find local events and activities that are happening in town. You might be able to hang out at a certain cafe or even attend a local festival that isn’t mentioned in any of the guidebooks. There are many opportunities in each city so be sure to check this out before you arrive.
5. Relax While You Eat
Meals can also be a good time to unwind and be yourself. Yes, you can strike up a conversation with the waiter or bartender, but, your meal can also be a good time to sit and reflect. Maybe you will use the time to plan the rest of your day, catch up on emails if the joint has free wifi, or read a book.
If you don’t want to look out of place, you might consider visiting a cafe where the casual environment brings in many a single person and groups that are seeking a respite as well. If you want more privacy, choose a restaurant booth. Either setting can give you the anonymity you might be looking for, and, the food and atmosphere can be more enjoyable than a fast food joint.
6. Start Your Day Early
If the idea of pub crawling and going to nightclubs alone doesn’t sound appealing, be an early bird instead. There are plenty of opportunities to sightsee alone and be completely safe if you visit a large, bustling city. Getting up early also makes it easier to avoid the crowds at popular attractions once families and those night owls leave their hotel for the day.
7. Do Something You Normally Wouldn’t Do With Others
When traveling solo, you might be hesitant to try new things in case they don’t go as expected and you don’t have someone by your side. Instead, this can be a time to try something others in your normal travel party will not do. For example, you can spend all day touring an art museum when they would rather hang out on the beach, or vice versa. Maybe there’s something you can do alone that you can’t do if you bring the kids along.
This trip can also be an excellent opportunity to cross an item off your bucket list.
8. Take Plenty of Pictures
With smartphones and near-universal free wi-fi hotspots, it’s easier than ever to take pictures of every you visit. By instantly sharing your pics on social media, it’s almost as if your friends and loved ones are with your trip as they can relish nearly every moment in real-time. While you can break out a selfie-stick, it’s not necessary. We are always envious of seeing new places that we can’t currently visit.
9. Leave A Copy of Your Travel Itinerary With Friends and Family
Do your friends and family a favor and send them a copy of your itinerary that includes your flight times, hotel reservations, and maybe even a rough idea of your sightseeing schedule. If you will be traveling abroad, also take a few minutes to register your trip (before you go) with the State Department to the local embassy or consulate can contact you if necessary.
10. Make a List of Your Emergency Contact Information
This final tip is a good idea for every traveler. Make a list of your emergency contact information that is readily accessible. The list can include your own personal contact information, the name of an emergency contact back home, and any other pertinent phone numbers you might need. For example, you might include the toll-free number for your credit card company in case your card is stolen or you have to activate the travel protection benefits if your plans are interrupted.
You should also take a picture of your stove. It can be easy to forget to turn off your stove, coffee maker, or iron before you head to the airport as you are making sure you didn’t forget to pack anything. Once you arrive at the airport, look at the picture of your stove dials to ensure everything is turned off. If not, call a friend or landlord to turn it off for you and that’ll be one less worry on your mind while you are away.
Summary on Traveling Alone
You might dread your next solo trip. Don’t. It could really be one of the most enjoyable experiences you ever have. Sure, it’s fun to make memories with your friends and family, but, solo travelers have plenty of fun too. You just need to have a positive attitude. And, it doesn’t hurt that technology has made the world a lot smaller than ever before.