Traveling solo is an adventure in itself. You make all the decisions and have the license to do whatever you want! On the flip side, you may find yourself a little vulnerable at times, and need to exercise more caution with regard to safety and money matters, as you have no one else to depend on but yourself. So, let’s get these two essential tips out of the way. Make sure you stay connected with family or besties regularly, via social media, email, SMS or calls. If your hotel doesn’t have wi-fi, make sure it is at least located in an area where there are reliable hotspots like internet cafes. Also, split up your credit cards and cash, and stow them in different spots so even if you lose one set, you can get by with the other. Of course, always carry a little extra cash for emergencies.
#1 : Catch up with connections suggested by friends or family
Ask loved ones or your FB/Twitter friends if they know people living in the city you plan to visit. Don’t be surprised if you get at least half a dozen responses! Request local friends of friends to show you around – the best way is to offer to take them out to lunch/dinner.
#2 : Travel confidently
Try your best not to let locals know you are a solo tourist. Home country flag patches and a camera around your neck are dead giveaways. If you will be consulting a map (instead of Google Maps or a travel app on your smartphone/tablet), don’t do it on a street corner with an obvious ‘I am lost’ look. Walk confidently and purposefully with your head held high. Step into a doorway or a shop when you want to refer to a map.
#3 : Don’t hesitate to lie a little and put your foot down
Avoid indicating to strangers that you are alone, and handle inquisitive locals with one or more white lies. For instance, when asking for directions to the museum or park, mention that you will be meeting a ‘friend’ there. Also learn to say ‘no, thank you’ and the local non-verbal gesture for ‘no’ to discourage undue attention from strangers offering to be your tourist guide or trying to con you into buying indigenous products for a whopping price.
#4 : Enjoy a leisurely meal
If you feel uncomfortable eating alone, you can always order room service. Try not to pack in a hurried meal at a local diner. Restaurants and pubs are some of the best places to observe and soak in the local culture. Say hello to fellow diners and strike up a conversation so that lunch/dinner is not a completely lonely affair. Waiters and waitresses will be more than happy to tell you about interesting nooks and corners of the city. For privacy, opt for a restaurant with booths. Sit at the bar or choose a counter seat. Outdoor dining is also a good (and popular) option among single travelers.
#5 : Do something you have never done before!
Traveling solo is an excellent opportunity to let yourself go, within limits of course. Want to try your hand at bungee-jumping? Feel like dressing up in a costume to participate in the local parade? Want to belt out a song at the local karaoke bar? Make the most of the opportunity to do something new, face your fears, and create beautiful memories!
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