Our world is rich in architecture, cuisine, fashion, cultures, and landscapes whose origins date back millions of years. All of these deserve to be visited, appreciated, and savoured (as long as this is done sustainably, of course). Though solo travel is hardly a recent invention, more people are travelling alone. Statistics from Condor Ferries show that women travellers are far more likely to travel on their own with 84 per cent of solo travellers being female worldwide.
Below are some tips for a great vacation that will leave life-long memories.
Choose your destination carefully. Certain destinations are more amenable to solo travelers while others tend to attract couples and families. Cosmopolitan cities like Paris, Copenhagen, Tokyo, and Toronto are always a good bet!
Research it well. Onlinetourist boards, like those on TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet Guides, and Traveltalkonline, are all wonderful resources to do your homework beforehand and discover more about the places you want to visit. Online forums make it easy to ask questions and, more importantly, discover places that are friendly and safe for solo travellers.
Be adventurous. After all, that’s the whole point of taking the vacation by yourself! Go snorkeling, take museum tours, try wine-tasting events, and have karaoke outings. Just say yes whenever it’s possible and safe and go everywhere you can.
Take pictures. Enjoy your time alone to capture that perfect shot of an amazing sunrise or those perfect colours at a butterfly farm. These cherished souvenirs will last you a lifetime.
Make friends. Just because you are travelling alone does not mean you have to be lonely! There are many ways to meet people during your trip, including posting ads for travel-buddies and joining meetups, group activities, and expat community events.
Make use of the sharing economy. Airbnb and Couchsurfing are excellent options to meet new people locally who might turn out to be excellent friends and guides to show you around. Hostels are of course a mainstay, but you might end up meeting more travellers than locals.
Don’t be afraid to eat out. Just because you are alone, that doesn’t mean you are relegated to eating hamburgers every night. You can eat out in fancy establishments too. The secret is to bring reading material with you, like a book or newspaper, or even bring a journal to jot notes in. Befriend the wait-staff, and if you are really embarrassed to dine alone, eat during non-peak hours.
Explore expat haunts. If you get lonely, consider exploring the expat hubs in the host country like pubs, clubs, community centres, religious meetings, bookstores, cafes, and expat groups like InterNations.
Use social media to meet locals. Use social media to find friends of friends who live in the place you want to visit. Social media is a great way to connect yourself to people in your desired destination before and during your trip.
Be aware of safety! You are arguably more vulnerable when you’re travelling alone, so exercise caution. Don’t participate in activities that you wouldn’t normally do at home. Protect yourself and your valuables, most notably your ID, money, and passport.
Elixuer Staff Writer