If you have been putting off your travel dreams because you don’t want to take a trip alone, maybe now is the time to rearrange your thinking. Solo vacationing offers a way to travel at your own pace while eating when you want to, sleeping when you want to, and seeing the sights that interest you the most. Of course, you’ll need to understand the risks and logistics of solo travel, too.
Personal, present, and exhilarating
These are a few of the words European travel expert Rick Steves uses to describe the art of traveling alone. Noting cons of solo travel such as having no built-in dining companion and nobody to help figure out a train schedule, solo travel also offers a range of beautiful benefits you simply don’t get when traveling with a partner.
On-your-own travel is also intensely personal, explains Steves. Whilst moving around the globe as a single traveler, you may meet more people and experience more kindness from strangers. You may be more open to your surroundings and to unexpected adventure when you take a solo excursion. Once you realize that you do have what it takes to be your very own travel guide, the whole wide world opens up in wonderful ways, explains Rick Steves’ Europe.
Reducing the risks of solo travel
As a singleton traveler, you’ll need to watch your own back. Fortunately, safety is not always found in great numbers. When traveling alone, it’s easier to blend in with a crowd and not stand out as a tourist. Practice a few security tricks, and your solo travel adventure is bound to be better. Before you take a cab ride, ask your driver for an estimated fare to reduce your chance of being driven far out of your way. Don’t wear flashy jewelry, and don’t walk around with a guidebook in your hand. Check into a hotel that provides 24-hour front desk service, especially if you plan a late arrival, advises Smarter Travel magazine.
Trust your gut instincts in every situation. Walk purposefully, and don’t get lost reading maps when you ought to be paying attention to your surroundings. And do remember that a little white lie is perfectly acceptable when traveling alone. If you need to ask for directions, ask while explaining that a friend is expecting you.
Dining as a single traveler
Oddly, one of the features of solo travel that people say they fear the most is dining alone. Solve this quandary by bringing along a real book and chatting with the wait staff. Stay at a property such as Marriott Washington Suites with a choice of in-house eateries, lounges, and a range of nearby restaurants. Shop in a local deli and relish dinner alone, or drop by the most popular lunch spot in town and ask to share a table.
Do you feel enthused about traveling alone now? Be sure to leave a copy of your travel itinerary with a friend, and send plenty of postcards home.