There are many deterrents for traveling solo, especially for women. Much of them are actually centered on safety issues, solitude and the higher cost. These concerns can be addressed with repeated travels that let one builds guts and abilities. With social skills, meeting people can prove to be an exhilarating experience as there are an abundance of single men and women joining tours.
The novelty of the experience that makes one apprehensive soon wears off; it is the first that will linger in your memories. It would be one time when you’ll realize that all the preparations and trepidations are all worth it as you take in your new environment with total freedom and indulgence. Yet, know that there will be perils looming throughout the holiday wherever you may go; some place though may just be more risky.
“There is safety in number.” Who would want to attack a beehive or a mound of ants? Without anyone to “watch your back,” your apprehension is justified. You can of course blend in the crowd or develop friendships with other single travelers. Being empowered by some practical tips would be handy. If you want these, check out “Single Travel: Tips for Going Solo” that is posted in Independent Traveler – Travel Tips Section.
- … Solo travelers are more likely to be “taken for a ride,” so ask the taxi driver how much it will cost before you leave…
- Find out if hotels at your destination are open late, so you don’t end up sleeping in your car or worse.
- Be your own best counsel; if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
- Carry good identification, in more than one place.
- Keep to open and public places, especially at night.
- Exude confidence and walk purposefully.
- Avoid appearing like a tourist…
- Don’t draw attention to yourself by wearing flashy clothes or jewelry.
- Lie a little. … make your life easier with little white lies. When asking directions, don’t let on that you are alone…
- Check your maps and transportation schedules before leaving your hotel/train/rental car/tourist office. A solo traveler poring over maps can be a mark for unsavory types.
- Leave a copy of your itinerary with a friend or family member at home, and stay in touch regularly via phone or e-mail.\
- For U.S. citizens … consider signing up for the free Smart Traveler … If you’re from outside the States, see if your home country has a similar program.
It is alright to want to meet new people and friends; you wouldn’t want to be in isolation throughout your holiday (unless it is your intention to be left in peace because you are seeking solitude). Yet it is important not to place your 100 percent trust on anyone you just met. No scammer will show you he/she is one.
Expect your cost to be a bit higher because of the so called “single supplement.” This is the extra amount you pay the hotel or the cruise ship for not getting a second occupant in your room or cabin. If you want to avoid this, book in a tour for singles. These tours have travel operators or agents doing room matching that will let you save the single supplement while they earn from a second guest. With the growing popularity of solo travels and tours, it will not be too hard to find something for you.
If you want to save further and provided you can leave at a short notice, you can make a last-minute booking. Most tour operators lower the single supplement at the last minute to sell out their last slots available. An alternative is to stay in cheaper hostels in your destinations, but that would not be very safe. If this is a practical solution for you, do research. Choose the ones in the busy streets serviced by public transports even past midnight.
If you are decided on tasting the freedom that solo travel offers, there are more tips you can get from travel sites and other resources that cater to singles. Safety is enhanced with more tips, and yes, experience.