Travelling can be an adventure, even more when you are travelling alone. Here are a few tips to consider before you go solo on your next journey.
Know your strengths
You might feel like you are going crazy if you can’t communicate, so head for where you speak the language. If you are an introvert, go somewhere with very few tourists. If you’re more of a shy person and prefer to observe a culture, forget the language barrier and go for passive entertainment. Vibrant cities are perfect for this, especially ones with good café cultures.
Look for room rentals in an apartment, which gives an immediate connection with residents. Even if your landlord doesn’t take you out on the town, you’ll at least gather a few local tips in the stay. As a solo traveller, you have a lot of options to choose from. Hostels are of course tailor-made for solo travellers, but you might wind up spending more time with other tourists than with locals.
Play the oddball card
In much of the world, solo travellers – and single people in general – are seen as strange, even a bit unlucky. Don’t feel bad – just roll with it, and show off your free-agent status by offering to take a family’s photo at a big sight, for instance, or sitting near a forthcoming gang at a bar.
Just say no
Learn how to say “no, thank you” in the local language, as well as “absolutely not” – plus the local nonverbal gesture for no, which is often more useful than both. Also have local help numbers, such as the tourist police, programmed in your phone. You’ll probably never need them, but just knowing you have them can give you the confidence to deal with awkward situations.
Pack a book
A good book, a magazine or even just postcards to write or your travel journal to jot in – are all rightful activities at a bar or restaurant if you get to feeling a little bored/lonely/exposed, so carry one of them with you at all times.
Making photography a task, even if it’s just little peculiar details you notice about a place, gives a little structure to your day. And you will notice more odd details, because you’ll have the time and attention to look around. Your friends at home will appreciate your perspective and the story that comes with it.