The essential guide to travelling alone

Travelling alone can be a life-changing experience. Not only do you get to enjoy all the usual perks of travelling, but, with no travel companions, you also have the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Put simply, there are heaps of awesome advantages to travelling alone.

That’s why we’ve put together this essential guide to travelling alone. Covering safety tips for solo travellers, four great places to travel alone, and five essential tips for travelling alone, our guide features everything you need to have an unforgettable solo adventure!

How to stay safe when travelling alone

travelling alone

Although travelling alone can be an incredible experience, it also means you have to be slightly more vigilant about your safety. When you’re in a foreign country without any travel companions to watch your back, it’s important to be aware of your safety. This doesn’t mean being paranoid and ruining your relaxing holiday, but rather, using common sense.  

Consequently, it’s important to focus on simple things, like knowing where the nearest exits or escape routes are in any situation, and sharing your itinerary with a friend or family member back home so they always know your whereabouts.

Further, it’s a good idea to avoid showing off flashy goods such as jewellery, smartphones, or cash when in public, as this could make you a target for thieves. Similarly, avoid dressing like a tourist. Try to pay attention to what the locals wear and do your best to blend in, as dressing in obviously ‘touristy’ attire can make you a target for pickpockets and thieves. On this point, it’s also a good idea to research estimated travel costs before getting in a taxi, as tourists can often be overcharged.

Additionally, it can pay to not let on that you’re alone when talking to strangers. Phrases like “I’m on my way to meet my friend at the museum, could you please give me directions?” can be your best friend when travelling alone.

You should also keep physical copies of important documents on your person, such as flight itineraries, maps, accommodation bookings, and emergency contact numbers, so you have a plan B in case your cell phone gets lost or stolen.

These days, there are also a number of useful travel gadgets, including personal alarms, smart suitcases, language translators, and wireless travel routers, which can make your solo travels both easier and safer. For more information, check out the best travel gadgets you should take on holiday.

Of course, while you can do your best to stay safe and minimise risk when travelling alone, accidents can still happen. Therefore, travel insurance is a consideration for your safety and peace of mind when travelling alone.

Above all else, use common sense and know your limits with alcohol when travelling alone – if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!

Four great places to travel alone

travelling alone

Now that you know the basic safety principles to be aware of during your solo adventure, it’s time to think about your all-important destination. Here are four great places to travel alone:

#1 Reykjavik, Iceland

travelling alone

Reykjavik might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of travelling the globe, but it’s certainly one of the best. Reykjavik is the perfect base from which to explore Iceland, with a number of scenic day trip destinations nearby.

Why it’s great for travelling alone
Reykjavik is among the world’s safest places to travel alone, with Iceland being named the world’s safest country according to the Global Peace Index [1].

What to do?
Your number one priority should be visiting picturesque, can’t-miss attractions such as Blue Lagoon and the Northern Lights. From there, there’s a wealth of natural beauty to explore in Reykjavik, ranging from caverns and caves, to glaciers and national parks!

#2. San José, Costa Rica

travelling alone

Iceland might be the world’s safest travel destination, but Costa Rica is the world’s happiest country. From the moment you set foot in this beautiful country, it will be easy to see why Costa Rica is ranked number one by the Happy Planet Index [2]. Trust us, their happiness is infectious!

Why it’s great for travelling alone
Costa Rica is all about adventure, so if you’re an adrenaline-junkie, then this might be the perfect solo travel destination.

What to do?
As we mentioned, Costa Rica is an adventure-lover’s dream. Whether you’re ziplining through sublime rainforests, hiking through the Arenal Volcano National Park, whitewater rafting, or even taking a break to admire superlative waterfalls, a trip to Costa Rica isn’t something that you will soon forget.

#3. Chiang Mai, Thailand

travelling alone

Chiang Mai, aptly known as the ‘rose of the north’, is overflowing with rich and diverse cultural heritage, complemented by plenty of stunning scenery, which makes it one of the best places to travel alone.

Why it’s great for travelling alone
Chaing Mai has slightly less hustle and bustle than Thailand’s capital, Bangkok,  without sacrificing any of Thailand’s natural splendour and beauty.

What to do?
Chiang Mai is home to over 300 Buddhist temples, including the must-see Wiang Kum Kam, an underground city which can be explored via a horse-led carriage ride. The tour is sure to be an eye-opener, filled with significant cultural artefacts.

#4. Rome, Italy

travelling alone

A destination that surely features on every traveller’s bucket list, Rome simply has to be seen to be believed. Just make sure you stay long enough to experience everything this amazing city has to offer!

Why it’s great for travelling alone
A solo trip to Rome should require no further justification, but if you’re not quite convinced, then just picture the food, fashion, and scenery, not to mention all of the history and culture to explore.

What to do?
With so many incredible options, the question should be what not to do. Whether you’re visiting the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica, admiring some of the world’s best artwork, picturing yourself as a gladiator at the Coliseum, or enjoying an incredible wine tour, Rome has something to offer every solo traveller.

Five essential tips for travelling alone

Europe travel guide: Health and safety

Travelling alone isn’t always as easy as it seems. Here are five essential tips to keep in mind when travelling alone:

#1. Make the most of it!

travelling alone

One of the biggest advantages of travelling alone is that you’re beholden to nobody’s schedule but your own. Basically, this means you can do whatever you want, and try things you wouldn’t usually do. For example, if you’re an adventurous foodie who always has to conform to your friends’ more bland palates, this is your chance to branch out and sample some exotic local cuisine. Alternatively, if you’re an adventure lover, you’re free to finally taking that surfing lesson you’ve always dreamed of without worrying about your travel buddies sitting on the beach bored out of their minds. Whatever you have on your travel agenda, travelling alone is all about you, so don’t be afraid to treat yourself and try new things!

#2. Stick to your budget

travelling alone

Budgeting becomes doubly important when you’re travelling alone. Often, when you’re travelling with a partner, you can rely on them to keep your spending in check (and vice versa). However, with no one to hold you accountable, it can be easier to fall victim to impulse purchases when travelling alone. While you deserve to treat yourself and splurge a little during your solo travels, it’s equally important to stay disciplined in your spending and not break your budget. The last thing you want is to run out of money in a foreign country.

#3. Learn the local language

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If you’re travelling to a non-English speaking country, learning the local language is a must, especially as a solo traveller. Even learning just a few key words and phrases can significantly enhance your solo travelling experience. Not only is this a common courtesy, but it will also help you to fully embrace a new culture, interact with the locals, and broaden your horizons. Plus, knowing the local language can come in handy if you find yourself in a dangerous situation and need to ask for help.

#4. Make new friends!

travelling alone

Just because you’re travelling alone, doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. In fact, travelling solo can also be the perfect opportunity to make new friends. Whether you meet fellow travellers and bond over your shared experiences, or meet up with some locals and discover all the hidden hotspots your destination has to offer, meeting new friends will certainly make your solo adventures extra memorable. Who knows, you might even meet your new BFF!

#5. Avoid the single supplement

travelling alone

Travelling alone is cheaper than travelling with someone else, right? Not necessarily. When travelling alone, it’s important to avoid the dreaded ‘single supplement’. Basically, a ‘single supplement’ is a charge by hotels or cruise lines to recoup their losses when only one person stays in a room, rather than two. Single supplements can range from 10% to 100% of the room’s double occupancy rate, meaning single travellers could sometimes pay twice as much as someone travelling with a partner. Given this, it’s crucial to be aware of the single supplement when booking your accommodation. Whenever possible, try to book with hotels and cruise lines where these charges are not included.

[1] http://visionofhumanity.org/indexes/global-peace-index/

[2] http://happyplanetindex.org/

This post was brought to you by Budget Direct Travel Insurance

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