Don't let the lack of a traveling companion stop you from seeing the world. Sometimes it's more fun to explore on your own.
You will need
- Room reservation
- Home contact
- Copies of your passport and credit card
- Appropriate clothes
- Tour or class
- Local newspaper
- Bar seating and outdoor cafes
- Index cards
- Cell phone with international service (optional)
- Local phrases (optional)
Step 1 Plan ahead Research your travel destination. Though spontaneity is one of the joys of solo travel, knowing a bit about where you’re going is key when you don’t have someone along to help figure out things like transportation. Pick a place that’s not too remote or couples-oriented.
Less developed countries tend to be good places to meet other solo travelers.
Step 2 Get a room Consider your hotel options. Less lavish accommodations are more likely to attract other single travelers who, like you, don’t have someone to split the cost of a room. On the other hand, you may feel safer in a higher-end hotel. Whatever you decide, make sure to reserve a room for your first night in town, when you’re apt to be jet-lagged and disoriented.
Step 3 Travel light Pack only as much as you can easily carry by yourself — preferably in one carry-on bag to minimize the risk of lost luggage. Leave expensive jewelry at home.
Step 4 Stay in touch Leave your itinerary — or at least a general idea of where you’ll be — with a few loved ones. Take a copy of your passport with you, and leave them a copy as well as your credit cards numbers. E-mail yourself numbers to call if your cards are lost or stolen. If you’re traveling abroad, make sure your cell phone has international service.
Step 5 Blend in Blend in with your surroundings. If you’re in a foreign country, memorize a few key phrases and dress according to local fashion. Consider buying a few items that will help you look like a native.
Step 6 Take a tour Take a walking tour, a cooking class, or some other activity; they’re great ways to meet other travelers. Consult a newspaper about local events, or ask your hotel to help you make arrangements.
Step 7 Eat out Don’t be shy about going to restaurants by yourself and chatting with other diners and waitstaff; a great way to do that is by eating at the bar. Having breakfast at your hotel and snacking at outdoor cafes are also conducive to making friends while munching.
Though it’s tempting to hide behind a book or scribble in a journal, you’re more approachable if you forgo those things.
Step 8 Stay safe Stay safe. Write notes and directions on index cards before you leave your hotel; if you must take out a map, do it discreetly. Avoid isolated areas and don’t tell strangers you’re traveling alone. Above all, trust your instincts. If something feels wrong, get out of the situation.
According to a survey, 29 percent of leisure travelers took a solo trip in 2006.