Whether you’re travelling solo because of business, you’re hoping to meet someone, or simply because you enjoy it, being by yourself can sometimes be a daunting prospect when you’re abroad. Making sure you've packed not only the ultimate travel essentials, but the right level of travel insurance is an essential first step to travelling solo. But our guide on tips to travelling on your own should give you the extra confidence you need to embrace the solo life on vacation.
What kind of person are you?
The type of holiday you go for should depend on the type of person you are. If you’re an extrovert, you may be better off somewhere you know the language so you can strike up a conversation. But if you’re an introvert on holiday alone, not being fluent in a foreign language can be liberating, allowing you to relax and people-watch, without the pressure to start chatting.
Choosing the right accommodation
Take plenty of time in deciding where to stay and consider the area in which you’ll be staying when you’re travelling alone. There are the obvious safety concerns of being in an isolated location, but staying in a busy area may help with any feelings of boredom or loneliness.
Also, if you want to stay in touch with friends and family back home by FaceTime or Skype, or if you want some familiar TV shows or films to watch, go for accommodation that offers free wi-fi.
Making new friends on your solo travel
Unless you really need an entire holiday of me-time, it’s likely that you’ll want to make a few new friends. But in a busy city this can be difficult, so try and find local events and activities that offer an opportunity for natural conversation. Guided walks or tours are usually good for chatting in a relaxed environment. And if you’re going to a foreign country, knowing the local language is an obvious help, so take a bit of time before you go to at least learn the basics of the dialect.
If you’re travelling alone, you may not want to spend your nights in packed bars and nightclubs, so take the opportunity to get up early and visit the popular attractions before everyone else. Not only will you avoid the crowds but there may be off-peak rates available.
Evenings can be tricky for people going on holiday alone, but with a bit of research you can have as good a time as anyone. Look on websites or the local press for plays, concerts, sports matches and other events you can enjoy on your own, and take the opportunity to chat to people at the interval or half-time. The shared experience will give you immediate common ground.
When travelling alone, personal safety becomes more of an issue, but follow a few simple guidelines and your holiday should pass without incident. In general, follow the same rules as you would do anywhere else: stick to public, well-lit areas, know where you are going and how to get there, and walk with purpose. When meeting new people, it’s best not to tell them you’re alone and you should keep your accommodation address to yourself. Finally, watch how much you are drinking and never leave your drink unattended.
Stay in touch with home
You may be comfortable travelling alone, but your friends and family back home may be nervous for you, so help them relax by sending them regular emails and posting updates and pictures on social media. As well as reassuring them that you’re safe and having a good time, it will curiously bring them closer and help you feel less alone.
It can be tempting to remain inconspicuous by eating at fast food joints throughout your holiday, but this would mean missing out on one of the main pleasures of travelling. So choose small, friendly restaurants or cafés that attract other single people or groups, and take the chance to try dishes that you may not normally go for. Eating by yourself is also a great time to catch up on emails or your favourite book.
A unique opportunity
Travelling solo is a fantastic way to try out new experiences you may not consider if you were with someone else. Whether it’s fear of failure or the opinion of others, we often shy away from doing things that may seem out of character. But remember that this is your time and you don’t have to explain your decisions to anyone, so take advantage and try those things you’ve always wanted to do.