Let us put "JOY" in your travel!
Single and happy? Friends too busy to accompany you? Family drives you crazy? Those are the usual reasons for why people travel solo, and it’s actually not a bad thing. There’s a certain freedom in being able to explore new places and try new experiences without having to worry about someone in the group not being up for it.
Consequently, being out of the shelter of a group can expose a traveler to a number of perils. But proper preparation and good old common sense are all that’s needed to escape these dangers.
Safety. This is the primary concern of solo travelers. Especially because you’re in a foreign territory, and this is exacerbated if you do not speak the natives’ language, traveling alone is an open invitation for scammers and criminals. The tip to staying safe is to blend in with the crowd and this shouldn’t be too difficult since you’re all alone; you’re not travelling with your friend who keeps his map open everywhere you go, one of the tell-tale signs of being a foreigner.
Accommodations. Aside from reading online reviews about your hotel to see what the general consensus is about it, you should also ask if it’s open till late at night or if there are curfews imposed so that you can avoid the unfortunate of situation of having nowhere to sleep.
Dressing. The way you dress can betray you. Try to avoid wearing t-shirts which you purchased in your own resort or at the local landmark and don’t be too conspicuous when you’re consulting your guide book. Both are a deadly combination. Also, minimize wearing jewelry and do not wear garments that are too flashy. You’re a tourist trying to blend in, not a ramp model on the runway. Lastly, always have at least one valid ID with you wherever you go.
Dining. While experienced solo travelers may have this down to a science, dining alone for the first time can be a very awkward and even daunting experience for some. But eating alone can be fashionably stylish as well. Just think about being in a sidewalk café and reading a book while you eat your éclairs. If this isn’t your cup of tea, choosing a seat at the bar or at the counter is also a safe choice.
Communication. Keep your friends and family posted throughout your entire trip. A daily email doesn’t just help you narrate your latest escapade but also serves as a cue to your folks back home that you’re fine. Wireless internet has become a standard feature of most hotels although not all might offer complimentary use.
Writer and editor Deborah Phillips conducts writing workshops and contributes to ArticleMyriad.com