The single traveller
There are many of you that love to travel as a single traveller or are single anyway and feel that travelling on your own is so free and easy. Whatever your circumstance, there is no doubt that travelling on your own is and can be a blast.
Of course there is much to consider and you really do have to realise that travelling alone has many advantages as well as disadvantages.
As a race of people we all have many differences, be it large or small, strong or weak, young or old, fit or infirm and also not wanting to appear sexist, there are certain things you do have to think about before you embark on your next great travel adventure, dependant on your sexual orientation.
Please bear in mind that travelling as a single unit needs careful planning and research.
As much as we all like to think that the world we live in has now evolved into a progressive and un-prejudiced society, the fact still remains that there are certain areas, cultures and domains that are more challenging for varying types of traveller and we would be remiss to ignore this fact.
Tip 0183 Be aware of your limitations
There is no point in planning a travel adventure if there is no conceivable way or practical hope of completing your travel.
Suffering from vertigo and trying to climb Mount Everest, unless hoping to overcome your limitation may be construed as a less than good idea.
Don’t assume that your travel will have or should have access for everyone. Not every country and area in the world caters for everyone. Just because where you live is sensitive to individual groups or minorities, it doesn’t mean it’s the same world over.
Now we are not saying that you should restrict yourselves at all but be aware of your own set of circumstances and tailor your travel to suit. If unsure, always research the areas you are travelling to and check on the facilities there.
Tip 0184 Single male or female
There are many worries going around about travelling as a single male or female and we try to address both here below.
You might be forgiven in thinking that the travelling male, may give the impression of being big, strong and can look after himself. Or that the female is now the strong, independent, emancipated individual that deserves respect and can handle anything. All is totally wrong.
The simple fact is that when anyone travels be it male, female, couples, families or groups, you are all out of your comfort zone and local habitat and great care should be taken by all.
Now we are not scaremongering here at all, it is just common sense and being a little streetwise/savvy. Think about where you are travelling to, their customs, cultures and in particular research the danger areas like dark alleyways, urban or downtown areas, local wild life, like crocodiles in the north of Australia.
Tip 0185 Choose wisely
Try to think what will be the least stressful for you whilst travelling, unless you are an adrenaline junky.
Plan not only for your impending travel but try to think about your lifes travel and ideas. This might just save you unwanted repeat travel.
Most important tip here for all is to Tip 0081 Leave a trace.
Tip 0186 Disabilities
In this we mean also the old, infirm, worried or even just plain unfit.
We do not need to remind you to check on the facilities for your individual needs but please do be aware that in some countries, certain disabilities are classed as not only unimportant but are frowned upon and ignored.
Tip 0187 Sounding board
When travelling alone your decision making is paramount to the success of your travel adventure. As always common sense tends to prevail but if you don’t have that second person as a sounding board, always take a moment to think it through.
Tip 0188 Freedom to change your mind
On a more positive note, being free and single gives you so much freedom to do and go wherever you want. The sky’s the limit.
Try not to be too inflexible in your travels, this will enhance your experience somewhat. Yes it is a good idea to try and stay on track to your original plan but sometimes things change. Remember your pre travel plans are probably from no experience of your destinations, whilst travelling you may learn more about your surrounding location and decide to alter your plans a little or a lot.
Tip 0189 Give off impression of not being alone.
There will be times that to give the impression of impending meet ups is a good idea. This has many benefits for you as a single traveller. You may need a polite excuse to not go somewhere if you feel uncomfortable in your present situation. Also you’re less likely to be taken advantage of or have unwanted advances if they think you are not alone.
Tip 0190 Change your route back
When staying in one location for more than a couple of days, it is a good idea to mix it up a little and try not to set off or return to your accommodation the same way and at the same time.
You may also see something you could have missed from being repetitive.
Tip 0191 Take me to my friends
If you need to take a ride/lift somewhere, always think about your wellbeing and safety, not to mention being ripped off. You really don’t want to be dropped off the other side of town or going, let we say not the quickest route. Ask the driver to take you to the location you require, to meet up with your, friend, boyfriend, husband, wife or mates.
This is not to say you need to be a recluse or a total introvert. Use your discretion and common sense. If someone you meet on a long haul flight happens to mention they are going to the same hotel as you, then why not share a taxi with them.
Tip 0192 Share a room/taxi
I have often struck up a rapport with people and ended up sharing a taxi and or accommodation with them for a night or so.
Most travellers are all in the same boat and are eager to make new friends and find out what others are doing, have experienced or where they have been.
Tip 0193 Keep an eye on your bag
Remember to keep an eye on your bags/luggage at all times. This means from the moment you leave your home to when you get back. There are obvious reasons here not only for security but for peace of mind. Also be aware of what is in each bag you travel with.
Tip 0194 Getting others to go on excursions
Now you probably already know that going on excursions alone is a costly business. This is another reason and benefit of being social. If you can join another group or persuade fellow travellers to come with you, you will save a packet.
Tip 0195 Eating alone
Now many people like their own solitude and eating out alone is great for some. A lovely coffee and croissant whilst watching the world go by, .......nothing better!
There are however things to think about here.
There are many who have a phobia about eating alone and find it very difficult and uncomfortable in doing so. You may also be unaware of giving off an impression of being on your own.
Tip 0196 Double alarm
There is nothing worse than missing your date, ride or even worse plane or connecting flight.
With watches and mobile phones, there should be no reason to miss your timings but please double up on your alarm just in case.
Tip 0197 Check your mirror
Ever gone out to lunch with your shirt on inside out or hair sticking out west?
Please check yourselves out in the mirror before you leave to go out. Again you have no back up.
Most can see the funny side but there are some that get in a bit of a tizz.
Story 17 Father Christmas in the Pyrenees
On a skiing trip to Andorra in the Pyrenees, I arranged to meet up with some friends for a few days of much needed skiing. As this was an impromptu trip, I couldn’t book the hotel my friends were at and booked in close by.
The morning of ski day, I had a shave and shower and then went down for a hearty breakfast for the long day ahead.
Whilst sitting at my table, I noticed a few people gazing quiet rudely I thought and over the next half hour of buffet brekkie practically everyone was looking at me. Trying to check my nose and teeth in my spoon, I eventually gave up and went back up to my room to get my ski boots.
Looking in the mirror I finally realised what the spectacle was all about. Having shaved prior and drying my chin on the lovely new towels in my room, I saw that I had “Father Christmased” myself. By this I mean, all the new white fluff off of the new towel had all but near covered my whole chin.
I really wish I had a photo to show you but, it did look spectacular and I decided to sport my new beard up onto the piste, just for a bit of fun.
Moral of this story is twofold. Check yourselves in the mirror before you leave your room. People are too embarrassed or afraid to pull others up on their looks, although I rather think in my case, it was more of a laugh than anything else.
Tip 0198 Planning is easier alone
The great thing about single travelling is that the planning is so much easier. You have no one else to please but yourself.
Do bear in mind and allow some spare time on your travels as the chances are you will need to alter your plans should you meet up with like minded travellers along the way.
Tip 0199 Join an online social network travel group
Another great way to travel single but retain some companionship is to join a travel group. There are many online social network groups and many single travellers looking to hook up on the go.
Many single travellers would be outgoing people in the first place but you’d be surprised the amount of you that are socially introvert.
Tip 0200 Don't be afraid to ask
Funnily enough being single has many advantages and socially less intimidating or threatening to locals. You will probably find that you would be offered a lot more than couples, families or groups of travellers.
Get out there and chat to the locals and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You will be amazed at what will come your way just by being chatty.
Tip 0201 Use your intuition.
Above all use your own intuition and go with the flow.
Tip 0202 Keep an eye on your stuff
This is similar to tip 0193 Keep an eye on your bag.
We relate this tip to items in general. You can never be too careful. Be mindful of leaving possessions around whilst you explore a little. Sadly there are people everywhere that are after an easy lift.
Story 18 River Tubing in Laos
A great buzz is to go River Tubing in Vang Vieng in Laos. Not a cultural experience but fun none the less. This is where you hire a rubber tube and get taken up river to meander down, supposedly to take in the sites but this is more of a party river pub crawl. You can stop at the many makeshift bars along the way and basically get plastered.
Lots of fun and games to be had and you are meant to be back around dusk to take your tube back and get your deposit returned. Too easy I hear you all say.
Trouble here is the deposit is negligible and everyone wants to stay at the last bar some way still to go before the town.
The local youngsters have great pleasure in grabbing your tube whilst you are busily topping up your glasses, so as to get your deposit for themselves.
Now this is all fun and no one really cares as the gentle swim back to town is lovely whilst you float down the river star gazing and if you are lucky like me, a distant thunderstorm with amazing lightning as a treat all the way home to town is all part of the fun.
The moral of the story here is though, it is easy to get carried away in the moment but more is happening around you than you think. Keep an eye on your stuff, or it might just not be there when you go to pick it up.
Tip 0203 Double Bags
As a single traveller you will not have the luxury of mixing your clothes with your partners luggage, in case of one bag going missing.
Here our great tip is to try and keep a set of clothes in your carry on luggage, just in case your checked baggage goes missing for a day or two. It is also good to have a fresh set of clothes at hand especially on long haul flights.