How to Travel Alone

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

  • Research
  • 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.

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.

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.

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