For many people, travelling solo offers incredible freedom and the opportunity to enjoy experiences and sights without impacting on the preferences, prejudices and desires of a travel companion.
However, with solo travel comes a need for travellers (particularly women) to be even more conscious of their own safety and wellbeing.
With some planning and preparation, as well as common sense, it is entirely possible to enjoy your travels, save money while travelling and overcome difficulties that may arise.
What do you gain from travelling alone?
Those who recommend solo travel say that when travelling independently, you are able to completely self-indulge. This does not necessarily mean luxury all the way, but it does mean that you are at liberty to rest and relax when you want to and be active and involved when you choose to be.
By travelling solo, you are bound to enjoy the successes you experience and worry less about mistakes and things that didn’t work as you had hoped. In fact, you are more likely to learn and grow from the triumphs and challenges that occur.
The most obvious advantage of travelling solo is that you are able to do what you want, when you want. You have the chance to try things that you have always wanted to do, bypass the things you have no interest in and abandon concern that your travel companions will not enjoy the things that you do.
Your safety should be your paramount concern when travelling solo. Without any companions, you are at a heightened risk of crime and of course, you have complete responsibility for your health and wellbeing.
When travelling solo, it is important not to attract more attention to yourself than you absolutely need to. It is useful (and actually quite easy) to look as though you are part of a group.
Way to keep safe
- Find out the cost and length of time to travel by taxi from the airport to the centre of the city. If you suspect that charges are being inflated, travel in a different taxi.
- Avoid being without accommodation by discovering whether accommodation at your destination is open late.
- Trust your instincts. If you sense that something isn’t right, don’t do it and don’t be afraid to firmly say no.
- Ensure that you always carry clear identification. Identification should be kept in a number of places – not just in one place.
- Particularly at night, do not stray from public places and those that are open. It can be perilous to walk around deserted and isolated locations.
- As a solo traveller, you should always convey confidence and walk with purpose. It is important not to look like a tourist, as far as possible. It is advisable not to wear clothing that immediately identifies you as a visitor and use of guidebooks and maps should not be obvious in public.
- Limit the attention that you draw to yourself by wearing subtle clothing and jewellery.
- To ensure that loved ones know your whereabouts at all times, copies of your itinerary should be left with family members and friends and you should keep in contact with them regularly through phone calls, emails and other communication.
Good news about solo travel…
As well as the flexibility and freedom afforded by solo travel, travelling on your own often means that you save money as some tour operators reduce prices to sell their final few places on tours. Other travel operators offer specialised services and options for solo travellers.
Cost savings can also be made by choosing budget accommodation options, many of which are affordable, safe, comfortable, clean and of good quality.