Do Your Research
It perhaps goes without saying, but having the right information can make for the difference between a solo trip to remember or a serious nightmare to forget, putting you off something you otherwise love doing, travelling. Use travel agencies to get a good idea of what everything costs and also check-in directly with service providers to see what’s on offer and essentially how everything works.
Act like You Belong
It’s hard for me to fit in, well anywhere with my Glaswegian accent, but when I’m on the Koh Chang Island in Thailand for instance, the locals think I’m an expat whose been living there for a while now. When in Rome and all that…Be careful not to overdo it though, because arrogance attracts just as much attention as looking lost does.
Make Friends with a Local
Befriending a local might appear to defeat the whole purpose of solo travel, but then again I only travelled solo sometimes (a lot) because I couldn’t find anyone crazy enough to drop everything and come with. A local’s perspective on everything is always invaluable though.
Segment the Way You Carry Your Money
Don’t carry your main credit card or put all your cash in your wallet, in your luggage. Between reloadable prepaid cards, traveller’s cheques and loose money, this segments the risk of potentially losing everything in one pop.
Carry Loose Money
Money denominated in small bills or coins will save you a lot potential hassles in getting scammed with counterfeit change or just attracting unwanted attention, which are some misfortunes notoriously attracted by solo travellers.
Book in Advance
Advance bookings (for those explicitly planned parts of your trip) not only spare the solo traveller the pain of running around like a headless chicken, trying to sort out last-minute reservations, but also put you in line for some major discounts, especially if you use reputable booking sites and travel agents.
Devise a Back-Up Plan
Whether it’s camping at a nearby campsite or catching some sleeping-bag-assisted shut-eye at the airport, you will always need a back-up plan as a solo traveller. Things tend to especially go wrong when you’re out and about all by yourself.
Notify Your Embassy
Ambassadors stationed in foreign countries long for some in-person contact from their compatriots, so make friends with the embassy and some seriously sticky situation could be avoided, while some tailored advice specifically suited to the solo traveller could help you make your solo trip that much more enjoyable and safer.
Blog About It
Well it can actually be any form of journal you keep to document your travels, but blogging about it is perhaps the best way to go about it (which I should have probably done myself while I was travelling). Heck you can even check-in on Facebook if you want, but a “live” journal of this sort gives your circle of friends or family what will undoubtedly be an appreciated update on where you are and how you’re doing.
Plan Multiple Escape Routes
Okay, perhaps I’ve been watching too many episodes of “Banged up Abroad,” so as long as you don’t do anything which will get you into trouble, the established dynamics surrounding pretty much every destination’s tourism industry are there to help you as opposed to being out to get you. Still, it helps to have multiple escape routes in place, which will allow you to get home safely should things get out of hand. I don’t intend to scare the solo traveler and put you off what can be a very enlightening adventure, but it just helps to be prepared, you know?
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