Overcome the Fears, Forget the Stigmas and Have an Adventure
You may have to dig deep to find the courage to go it alone the first time, but you are probably a good candidate if you are considering it.
Traveling alone raises eyebrows and inevitable questions. Isn’t traveling safer in a group? Aren’t experiences better when shared with someone? Wouldn’t it be lonely? What about meals alone in a restaurant, awkward or what? Wouldn’t you look desperate, friendless, and pitiful?
The stigma attached to traveling alone has disappeared mainly among Westerners; in fact, it’s regarded as extraordinary compared to being led around as one of a herd of tourists. However, locals in more conservative cultures see a lone traveler, especially a woman, as odd.
If you can overcome the stigmas, the advantages are there. Flexibility is endless; In an instance, plans are changed to do that tempting excursion on a tip-off from a fellow traveler. Rest when tired, or go for it to squeeze in that extra activity. Linger where there is a good company, or hit the road when something does not measure up.
A’ must go to destination’ can be the catalyst for the first lone travel experience. If there are no potential travel companions on the horizon, you could be following your passion as a solo act or not at all.
Sounds too hard or too scary? Consider the choices, another compromise holiday or stepping out alone and giving a dream destination a go.
Similarly, financial planners assess a client’s risk appetite to choose a suitable investment plan; the solo traveler decides how far to move out of their comfort zone.
- Traveling alone increases communication skills, even if they are only hand signals, and not always polite.
- A lone traveler is more approachable, from curiosity or pity, and strangers are more likely to start a conversation with a solo traveler than with a couple or group.
- You meet lots of people. Often traveling alone is less about being alone and more about a constant change of companions who share the road for a time.
- It can be more expensive as room rates and many excursions are priced on a twin share basis.
- Being tied to your luggage even when going to the bathroom or buying a magazine because of lack of a companion to stand guard.
- Connect with backpacker trails; not only are excursions and accommodation cheaper, but they also attract independent travelers like yourself.
- Take advantage of booking on the spot or negotiating a better price as a latecomer. A little luck and fast-talking can get great deals.
- Stay clever: Bus and train stations are seeking grounds for thieves.
- Use common sense – arrive at destinations during daylight and avoid sparsely populated back streets. If your instincts scream danger, grab a respectable-looking cab.
- Consider the best time of the year to travel. Hikers and climbers need to be present at the height of the season. Otherwise, it isn’t easy to tag onto a group.
- Respect local customs and adopt an acceptable dress code, e.g., don’t wear shorts or spaghetti straps in conservative cultures.
- Allow concerns to become paranoia. Relax and enjoy the journey.
- Be an easy victim. Thieves are opportunists looking for easy pickings.
- Have all your cash and credit cards in one wallet or money belt. Separate them so you will have access to funds if a wallet is lost or stolen.
While traveling alone is not for everyone, for many, it is the only way to go.