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Ten tips for travelling alone

Published October 5th, 2012

While travelling with a mate or a loved one can be a fantastic experience that brings you closer, sometimes it’s better to avoid the bickering, blame and ‘I thought you had the map’ conversations and just go it alone. If you’re waiting on finding that perfect person to travel with, why bother? You can do it alone and you’ll be surprised by just how fantastic solo travel can be. No need to cover all bases or worry about anyone else. Solo travel is a time to be selfish, where you can go where you want, when you want and discover who you really are along the way.

 

Naturally, there are a lot of fears that come with solo travel. Issues of safety, loneliness and general worries of looking like a ‘nigel no friends,’ but the following tips should help combat these worries, leaving you to simply enjoy your holiday

Travelling solo

Don't be afraid to go solo

1. Have your first night booked

Even if you’re a seasoned backpacker who likes to fly by the seat of your pants, as a general rule, it’s a good idea to have your first night at a new destination booked in advance. You can always move on to a different hostel or hotel the next day, but for the most part, it’s a good idea to have a place to crash after your flight.

 

2. Befriend a book

A good book is a great friend when travelling. Keep it as a companion when eating or use it as a conversation starter. We’ve even heard of hostels holding book-swap meets as a great way for solo travellers to not only swap but socialise.

 

3. Eat at the bar

Terrified of eating alone? We all are, and yet we shouldn’t be. Avoid the temptation to smuggle takeaway back to your room and eat out. Choose to sit at the bar or counter, ask the wait staff for their recommendations and enjoy the people watching and local cuisine.

 

4. Be wary of cabs

Solo travellers can often be an easy target for drivers. To avoid getting ripped off, always hail a certified taxi and ask ahead how much it will cost to reach your destination. If the answer is more than your research has estimated, move on to another cab.

 

5. Join a tour

If you’re missing conversation or just some general camaraderie, book a day tour. Tours are a fantastic way to meet fellow travellers as well as see the sights with a guide in the know.

 

6. Embrace your inner photographer

Taking photos during your travels is a fun and productive solo past time. Get creative, look for quirky details and if you can’t decide what sights to see, choose the ones that you can photograph.

 

7. Keep to the crowds

This is more for your safety than anything else. Wandering deserted streets on your own can be dangerous and see you as a target for crime. Keep to the crowds, particularly at night and while you’re at it, avoid looking like a tourist. Only look at maps when in the confines of a shop or restaurant and don’t tell strangers you are travelling by yourself.

 

8. Don’t get drunk

Once again, this is for your safety. By all means have a few, but know your limits.

 

9. Trust your intuition

If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Don’t be too trusting of people and keep your valuables close to you at all times.

 

10. Embrace the freedom

Once you get over the awkwardness of eating alone and solve your own travel woes, travelling by yourself can be an incredibly liberating and empowering experience. Embrace the freedom!

 

Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.