What image comes to mind at the term “solo traveler”? A student backpacking through Europe? A divorced parent on a singles cruise? A widowed traveler embarking on a bucket-list journey? All the above answers are correct and then some! There are many “faces” to the solo traveler and many reasons for heading out on a solo trip. According to the 2015 Visa Global Travel Intentions study, which surveyed over 13,000 travelers from 25 different countries, 24 percent of travelers ventured out alone on their most recent leisure trip. Traveling solo has its challenges and joys, just as any other type of travel does, but going solo also has its unique considerations.
Benefits of Traveling Solo:
Traveling solo can be a freeing, joyful experience in which you plan your own days, take the path you desire, and leave a smaller carbon footprint along the way. Solo travelers of all ages and types often feel a great sense of self-accomplishment as they manage new cultures and experiences on their own.
You call the shots:
When you go solo, there will be no more negotiating the itinerary and compro-mising on what you want to see and do. Plus, you will save time by avoiding those ”where to go” discussions during travel days. It can feel very liberating to do absolutely everything you want to do in a new destination, without being dragged along to anything you don’t.
You Can Connect With Nature Better:
Solo travelers heading into the great outdoors have a huge advantage over oth-er travelers: they can walk quietly and stop often to view wildlife, which will not run from them as quickly. Take the opportunity to get some great shots with your new camera or to simply enjoy your environment.
You Can Connect With Local Culture Better:
Just as solo travelers are less likely to scare off wildlife, they’re more likely to make new friends. Solos blend into the culture of a city better than larger groups or families do and are often mistaken for locals (at least until it’s time to speak the language). As a solo traveler, you can look forward to chatting up lo-cals on public transportation, at sporting events, and while touring buildings or parks.
Challenges of solo travel:
People who are hesitant to travel alone are often worried about travel safety or feeling disconnected, but there are additional challenges of solo travel you may not encounter until it’s time to book a solo trip.
Money Matters For Solo Travelers:
Many tour operations and hotels or resorts charge a rate based on double oc-cupancy and require a single supplement fee for those traveling alone. Although this sometimes cannot be avoided, there are ways to combat this attack on your travel budget.
- Look for tour companies that are solo friendly. These companies will either waive the single supplement fee or discount it. Some will even help travelers pair up with other solo travelers, should they want to room with someone new to save money.
- To avoid a double occupancy fee at hotels, turn to the sharing economy. Rent-ing a room in a house via Airbnb, for instance, is designed specifically for solo travelers. Such rooms allow you to get an extremely low room rate and to meet locals.
- Get to know other solo travelers ahead of time by joining travel message boards before your trip. Sites such as BootsNall.com and the Connecting Solo Travel Network can help you make friends headed to the same destination.
- Travel in the off-season and negotiate occupancy fees directly with hotel staff.
Safety Concerns for Solo Travelers:
First, don’t worry! Solo travel can be perfectly safe! “Safety in numbers” is not always true; after all, solo travelers can blend into their surroundings better and do not draw the attention of would-be scam artists and thieves as often.
That said, solo travelers, and particularly woman solo travelers, can feel vulner-able. Combat this feeling with preparation. Before leaving your accommoda-tions, always have a plan: know your directions and transit routes without needing to bury your nose in a map or glance often at your phone, and walk with purpose to your destination. Enlist the help of local experts, such as hotel front-desk attendants and concierges, to learn about any unsafe neighborhoods to avoid or local tips (such as places to steer clear of at night).
Don’t be afraid to meet and make friends with locals, but remember that you just met: use the same precautions you would at home and don’t leave belong-ings or your money unattended with new friends.
Practical Problems For Solo Travelers:
Sometimes, the reason for delaying solo travel is simply that you don’t want to eat restaurant meals alone, or you fear you’ll become bored or lonely. Start with short solo trips before tackling that round-the-world vacation and opt for a va-riety of different dining venues, from room service to counter service at bars to fine dining. Don’t deny yourself a nice meal just because you don’t like eating alone: use the time to people watch (ask for a seat outdoors), head to a sports bar and bond over a game, or bring reading materials with you. A solo meal can be a great opportunity to savor new cuisines.
Whether you’re traveling solo by choice or necessity, go forth and conquer with confidence, knowing that while you’re trekking by yourself, you’re not alone – many solo travelers are forging their own paths alongside you!
Source: Fix.com Blog