Image Source: Pixabay
Many of us travel alone. Whether it’s for work, out of necessity or for pleasure, we fly, drive, take the train or the bus from city to city, country to country, with no traveling companion, colleague or Significant Other.
The journey, the arrival, the transit, the check-in, the temporary shift of home base to hotel room, all precede the moment when you step out onto the street, take in the noise and the bustle of a big city, or the otherness of an exotic holiday destination, and realize you are… alone.
According to a recent survey conducted by Visa, one in five people who traveled for leisure did so solo. And this increasing trend is not limited to single men looking for surf and suds. Ever more women are journeying alone.
For some, the feeling is liberating. For others, it can be a daunting experience.
Explore like a local
Destination guides are ten-a-penny, those endless lists of must-sees, sights and museums. Many city visits are squeezed into a single day, maybe even an afternoon.
Getting the best out of your limited free time is the priority of a service such as ToursByLocals, a reliable alternative to interminable scrolling of your smartphone in search of a simple itinerary. It pairs you up with a local guide, who can take you on a specific excursion or themed walk through town.
More and more tour companies are providing organized trips for single travelers, led by the long-established, UK-based Solos Holidays, now with its American arm, Solos Vacations. Some, such as One Traveller, specialize in tours for the over-50s. Others, such as Just You, provide breaks to more exotic, adventurous destinations.
Image source: Pixabay
Carouse like a local
Depending on the destination, bars can be hazardous for single travelers, particularly for women entering alone.
Freedom of movement is liberating, unwanted attention a drag.
For backpackers staying in hostels, it’s almost impossible not to fall in with a crowd of people, with shared sleeping arrangements and communal drinking tours organized.
For those whose backpacking days are behind them, dating at Badoo is a way to meet with locals and enjoy some time with interesting people who’ll have lots to tell you about the culture of the city you’re visiting. Such solutions can offer the user anything from a chat, a rendezvous or a devil-may-care night out in an unfamiliar city. The advantage here is that you maintain your individuality while becoming acquainted with your counterpart – and, at the same time, the destination in question.
Eat like a local
Dining is usually the first hurdle to overcome, from choosing the right restaurant to being shown to the only table for one, set at the back of the room.
If you’re staying with Airbnb, hosts invariably provide tips as the most suitable, and safest, places to patronize.
A resource such as Solo Traveler not only runs blogs about yomping in Newfoundland but also a roundup of best dining destinations for single visitors, covering restaurants, food tours and cooking classes.
An ever-increasing number of websites match incoming strangers with those in the know. With Locals puts particular focus on food, arranging for the visitor to experience a typical meal at someone’s home, perhaps around a table of other random foreigners.
If traveling alone can still feel daunting, do your homework and use some of these services to make your life better. Soon, you’ll realize what a liberating feeling is to not depend on friends and family’s timetables to travel!