Traveling solo is growing in popularity. With one in five travelers having embarked on a solo international trip for his or her most recent vacation (according to the 2015 Visa Global Travel Intentions survey), companies have begun marketing packages and opportunities catered to the solo traveler.
Traveling along is alluring for a number of reasons, including not having to consider the tastes, preferences, and schedules of anyone other than yourself, it certainly presents some unique challenges. These challenges can be heightened for women traveling on their own.
US News and World Report gathered a list of tips and recommendations from veteran solo travelers to help you make the most of your next solo trip abroad.
Map out your plans ahead of time.
Many travelers report having felt anxious or nervous when they inevitably got lost or separated from their group in another country. To avoid this nervous feeling, literally “map” out your trip, or at least the big excursions you have planned.
Frequent solo traveler Dr. Arjun Sharma stresses that you keep your directions, to and from destinations, easily accessible. Sharma’s best suggestion is to use Google’s Offline Maps, which allows you to use your phone or tablet to search for destinations and download directions in any area with a Wi-Fi connection. The download feature means you’ll have your directions even if you leave the Wi-Fi zone.
Take extra safety precautions.
While there are several ways to maximize safety and security during a trip abroad, there are three key steps that you should always complete before embarking on an international trip. First and most important, be aware of the most dangerous areas of any cities you will be visiting, and check for any US State Department advisories for those areas. Next, always print out copies of your passport and ID. Finally, make sure to alert your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans so that your accounts don’t get suspended.
As a more general rule, always be aware of your surroundings, especially at stand-alone ATMs, as they are easy targets for criminals.
Carry hotel business cards.
Pick up a business card from your hotel properly displaying the name, address, and contact information. This can be helpful if you are facing language barriers, and need directions or to take a taxi. In case of an emergency, the card will also serve as a point of contact should you get hurt or lose your belongings.
Be familiar with local cultural etiquette.
Before leaving for another country, do some research on the culture and learn a few key phrases. It is also important to read up on basic cultural cues, dress trends, and what to expect in restaurants and other public spaces.
Don’t let your baggage weigh you down.
Packing in only a carry-on bag allows you to be flexible, change plans, or make new, spontaneous plans. This is especially important when traveling on your own, because you have the freedom to do anything you choose.
Look for places and opportunities that cater to singles.
Whether it’s a resort, tour, or all-day excursion, look for businesses and packages that are exclusively for those traveling solo. This will make you feel welcome as a solo traveler, meet new people, and make the most of your solo trip.
Get a local perspective.
A solo trip abroad is the perfect opportunity to meet new people and gain a new perspective. A simple way to do this is striking up conversation with those around you in restaurants and on transportation. Hostels are another great place to meet other solo travelers, many of whom would be happy to tag along to some of your planned destinations.
As always, remain vigilant and avoid talking or traveling with anyone you suspect may not be safe. For more information, [Click Here].
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