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Travel Tips from Solo Travellers

by Violeta-Loredana Pascal

Travelling is amazing—and addictive. The yearning to learn about foreign places, countries, people and cultures leads millions of people to travel every year. Some become perpetual travellers, in love with our world and what it has to offer.

But being on the road is not always easy, especially when travelling solo. That doesn’t mean it is impossible or even all that hard, it just means paying a little more attention, taking a little extra care, with a little extra planning.

I admit, I usually travel with someone else (I’ve travelled with my mother, I travel with my husband or with my whole family—we even had a vacation with our dog, another interesting experience). But I’ve found myself in the position of solo traveller several times, and it is always a little bit different than travelling as a couple or with a friend.

But because I am not that experienced as a solo traveller, I asked some perpetual solo travellers to share their most important travel tips.

Barbara Weibel – Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel

“Each time you check into a hotel in a country where you don’t speak the language, pick up a few copies of the hotel’s business card printed in the local language. After a day of sightseeing, you can hand a business card to a taxi driver and be assured that you will be able to find your way back to your hotel or hostel.”

The Guy – Flights and Frustration and Travel Blogger Interviews

“My travel tip is for overnight transatlantic flights. I always try to have my evening meal before getting on the plane for flights from the U.S. to the U.K. This will give me at least two more hours after take-off to try to get some sleep on the plane and avoid jet lag. Cabin crew often start serving dinner an hour into the flight, and then you have to wait for them to clear everything away.”

Penny Sadler – Adventures of a Carry-On

“If you love to take photographs when you’re travelling—and who doesn’t—pay attention to your surroundings. If you don’t know the area, do some research beforehand. If it’s a high tourist area, pay attention to who’s around you. Whether you’re using a tablet or a digital SLR, you can’t focus on taking memorable images and looking around to see who might be sneaking up on you at the same time. So get the lay of the land before you start snapping!”

Adam Groffman – Travels of Adam

“One thing I always recommend when travelling is to take unusual tours. Sure, I love to wander and get lost on my own, but every now and then (and especially on short holidays), it’s really useful to take a good tour. One of the London tours I took recently was probably one of the best! It was a food and walking tour through an area of London I otherwise wouldn’t have explored. When you’re looking for unusual city tours, I usually use TripAdvisor or search local blogs (the Londonist.com, for example) for suggestions.”

Rachel Stuckey – The Nomadic Editor

“A first aid kit is essential when travelling alone—and not just one of those pre-packaged first aid kits, but a personalized ‘health and wellness kit’ just for you. When you are on your own, you won’t have a partner, friend or family member to go in search of medications and comfort, so having the kinds of things you usually require on hand is a must. For example, I always travel with a decent supply of my preferred over-the-counter meds for colds, allergies, back pain, digestive problems—not because such things are unavailable in other countries, but because if something’s ailing me, the last thing I want to do is go on a scavenger hunt for relief. On long journeys, I also have one or two courses of antibiotics for bad tummy troubles—more often than not, I don’t need them, but when I do, they are a major relief.”

Simon Falvo – Wild About Travel

As a solo female traveler, you have to be a little more cautious but this doesn’t mean not being open. You can travel alone without feeling lonely, and with an open mind you’ll meet a lot of interesting people during your trips. Just be aware of the context, make a quick assessment to understand if it’s a safe environment, and keep an open mind without lowering your guard too much.

What is your best travel tip for solo travel?