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Traveling Solo

Taking a vacation is a great way to truly relax and unwind. Many people choose to go with family, friends, on business, or alone. The new trend in traveling today is taking a vacation solo. This gives someone the opportunity to really do what they want to do when on vacation, without having to worry about being dragged somewhere with someone else. Don’t get me wrong, traveling with companions is great, but there’s nothing like the freedom to do what you want, when you want, and how you want. You may decide just to hop over to the nearest town for a night away, or you may travel across the country or to other countries. Whatever you decide, you will feel good knowing that adventure and thrill await you.

Sometimes traveling solo can present some challenges, so to combat those here are a few tips to make sure there are no flaws in your getaway.

Buy a Guidebook Geared Toward the Single Traveler

Many books will list accomodations, hang-outs, and restaurants that will be full of other independent travelers. Most single travelers meet many people along the way, and these venues are great places to build lasting friendships, and maybe hook up traveling schedules for a time. A guidebook will also give you a sense of security, because, let’s face it, traveling solo can be a little scary at times.

Local Independent Travelers’ Meeting Places

Many guidebooks, like the Lonely Planet series, will list places where travelers can meet, swap ideas, and gain encouaragement from each other. In many cities, you may find yourself drawn towards a bookstore, cafe, or a youth hostel with bulletin boards full of local events. These meeting places will give you the opportunity to engage in activities that you normally would not do by yourself. You’ll find out about inexpensive tours, travel companions, free or almost free lectures you can visit, or various social gatherings you can join. For example, in Singapore, you can join a group called the “Hash House Harriers”, which is a running group that meets together in the morning to jog. Imagine the many local friends and social invitations that you could gain by being part of a group like this.

Start Smart

Part of solo traveling is the freedom to be unstructured and impulsive. However, it is a good idea to have some sort of plan for when you first arrive so that you are not looking for a hotel room right after you have arrived when you are already fatigued. Make sure to book the first night’s accomodations in advance, just to get your bearings, and the rest of the trip you can be impulsive. This is especially true when visiting a foreign country. You already probably don’t know most of the language, and most likely don’t know your way around the city, so having a place to go to rest immediately will help you to get your bearings.

Power Plays and Unwanted Attention

Solo travelers are a little more susceptible to unwanted advances from strangers, so to thwart these make sure you are aware of your surroundings. Acting like you are confident and knowledgeable will give off the vibe that you are familiar with your surroundings and that you are not the typical tourist. If you do find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, quickly excuse yourself and get help from other people if needed. The way you dress can also be a contributing factor to unwanted advances. Do not dress too flashy, and always take your cues from the way that other locals dress. The point is to not stand out. When you blend in, it will be harder to single you out for pestering.

Do Talk to Trusting Strangers

Although this kind of contradicts the previous paragraph, it is a good idea to make friends with various people while away. Just be sure that they are trustworthy people before consenting to alone time with them. If you have friends along the way, you will feel much more confident and safe with your unfamiliar surroundings. Great travel stories usually come from spontaneous invitations to join a group, person, or family for a dinner or activity. Imagine what great experiences you will be able to tell your friends and family when you return. Even if you don’t speak their language, both parties will find a way to communicate and have a good time.

Wine & Dine Yourself

Choosing to travel solo is an opportunity to truly pamper yourself. There is no one to get in the way of an hour or two at the spa, an all day shopping trip, eating at wonderful restaurants, etc. You may be wary of eating alone at a fancy restaurant, but this is a skill that you will quickly develop. A good idea is to choose a bustling cafe or bistro where many people are talking, laughing and having a good time. This way you won’t be singled out as a solo traveler. Other things you can do to more greatly enjoy your experience are to sit at the counter and watch your food being prepared (this could be quite educational), catch up on reading and writing while sitting at a corner table at the towns bistro, enjoy people-watching and try to catch a little bit of their conversations, and finally use your smile to reach out to other diners to make friends. Your unique conversations with them will quite possibly be the highlight of your evening or afternoon.

Avoid Romantic Destinations

Undoubtedly, the last place that a single traveler wants to be, is a honeymoon destination. You have chosen to travel solo, to be adventurous and independent, so you don’t want to be surrounded by dozens of love birds distracting  you from your goal. Also, it will be much more enjoyable if you find yourself visiting a strange land, or uncommon destination, instead of just picking the local lover’s hot spots.

Solo travel can be an exciting thrill ride that is just waiting for you to jump on. Be adventurous and book that trip that you’ve been waiting to take, no need to wait for others to join you. You are bound to have much more fun having the freedom to be impulsive without someone else holding you down. Even if all you are after is a little rest and relaxation, the trip will be well worth it. This is an opportunity to pamper yourself and rejuvenate your body and spirit.