Tip 0181 Quality down time
Please remember, as much as we all love our children, we all need some much needed quality “Us” time too.
It’s all too easy to feel guilty that you would like some “Me time” but there is nothing wrong with this.
If your children are still completely dependent, then consider taking travel alone or with your respective partners. It is not a case of palming off the kids so you can go and enjoy yourselves. Far from it, most probably your children would love more time with Grand Ma and Grand Pa, or stay with friends, or even when old enough obviously, stay home and have wild parties. This all gives them a sense of independence and maturity.
Think also about taking grandparents along with you or even travelling with friends where you can each take it in turns to have fun with the children or be alone for some much needed peace and quiet.
Tip 0182 Schooling and school holidays
Remember that school terms Worldwide, vary so much and are completely different depending on country, and hemisphere.
You may be taking your child out of school during off season, for some much needed quiet family time, only to find that where ever you are travelling to, have school peak season and are inundated with holiday makers from the local areas.
All children need their education!
The school curriculum has been set out by your state government with all good intentions to provide the best and most up to date methods for your child to acquire an all round decent level of education. No matter how much we disagree with this our children must come first.
Having said this, we also believe that travelling is an integral part of education and should be harnessed jointly alongside the state education system.
Please be aware that your child “will” struggle if taken out of school for long periods of time without continuity of the existing curriculums.
The main issue here is of course cost. To travel during peak time i.e. during school holiday season, can be cost prohibitive for some and needs to be addressed.
There are many who “Home School” their children whilst travelling and we welcome comments on our forum on the do’s and don’ts within differing countries and the rules and regulations relating to this.
For those wishing to remove their children from school during term time, you will need to bare in mind also that many schools now are penalising parents and guardians for removing their children during school terms.
Full consultation of each individual school should be taken and a full understanding of what each schools policy is around travel within school terms are. If it is possible to obtain school term work that might be missed during your impending travel, we highly recommend this course of action as this not only keeps your child up to date in their school work but also gives them something extra to do to fill in those boredom moments.
We cannot of course give tips and advice on the personal reasons for needing urgent or immediate travel, where schools may be a little more sympathetic for giving permission of a sudden or intended leave of absence.
Tip 0183 Be aware of your limitations
If you are travelling solo, this is very important. Remember, you don’t have the support that you might have back home.
People tend to exert themselves far more than when in company, so when on their own it is easy to forget this and get a little carried away in the moment. Becoming weary and exhausted when travelling alone can make you very vunerable.
In no way are we prejudice but everyone has limitations! You physically cannot run a five second 100 meters, nor can you lift two tonne on your own unassisted.
Basically try not to over stretch yourselves for obvious reasons. If you have never hiked before and are subject to fatigue, either get in training pre travel or think about getting around another way.
Many times you will be told, “you can easily do this or that!” Remember travel and tourism is big business and you will be told anything to get your dollar in their pockets.
Try not to get bullied into doing something you really feel uncomfortable with doing.
You may be of an age where things just take a little longer now and this is really okay. Try not to pack in too many excursions, that leaves yourself dreading the next one, after all travel is meant to be enjoyable and fun.
Tip 0184 Male or Female
Male or female single travelling is easily doable for everyone. There are of course a few issues to think about. Our top tip here is to please remember that you all are out of your comfort zone of home life.
Be aware of differing customs and etiquette. What is completely socially acceptable in your country of origin, may be offensive or rude in another part of the world. For example, going topless in St Tropez is fine but in Saudi Arabia will have you behind bars in no time. Now we know this is obvious but there are loads of things that offend and can get you in a whole heap of trouble should you not have done your research.
Being the alpha male or female come to that, or being physically fit and strong doesn’t help when you’re on your own and no one has your back. This is important to remember wherever you are.
Tip 0185 Choose wisely
Try not to pick travel that is outside your comfort zone. Unless you are an adrenaline junkie, choose a fun, compact and interesting travel adventure that will both stimulate and leave you either in awe or wonderment, so you have a travelling experience to remember for the rest of your life.
It is not hard in choosing which travel you want from your bucket list, as usually it is all the things you want to do but prioritising could be a prudent move. You may want to get all of your physical trips out of the way whilst you are still fit enough to do so, or your most expensive travel done during your working years.
Think about crossing off a few bucket list travels that are close together at the same time, rather than spending unnecessary travelling and funds back and forth.
Whatever your choice remember to (Tip 0081 leave a trace) where ever you go, let someone other than yourself know what, where and when you are doing things.
Tip 0186 Disabilities
For those with any disabilities, our top tip is to phone ahead. Let people know when you are arriving and ask if they are either aware of your disability or can they accommodate you on arrival.
Don’t be afraid to ask any questions. It is better to know what is in store for you before you arrive and this also gives you a great indication of how you will be received.
Often you get better treatment than others without disabilities. I remember when I broke my leg the second time round and ended up getting front row seats for a Barry White concert. I almost thought about keeping my old cast and using it again next time. (Not really).
Tip 0187 Sounding board
When travelling alone, you generally have no friendly sounding board around to know if you are doing the right thing or even going the right way. Your intuition is really high on the list here but also careful planning is the key here. Our top tip here is to take your time and try not to be rushed into any rash decisions.
Most decision making does not need to be rushed whilst travelling especially if you are travelling for longer periods of time. If flustered, try to take yourself away from the situation, even for a brief moment and reassess.
If you are really unsure and have time, try to contact someone you know or even go to the consulate or embassy for advice and assistance. Tell your friends of your concerns as you travel. This will not only help to get an impartial view but will also help with leaving a trace.
Tip 0188 Freedom to change your mind
Travelling as a single person has so many advantages. You are as free as a bird and pretty much can do what, when and where as you please.
Our top tip here is, try not to be too inflexible. Again, in your pre-travel planning, try to look at the “what if’s!” The weather could change, you could get a chest infection which slows you down or stops you going for that dive you always wanted to do. Try and think about various ways of travelling around and possible changes whilst enroute. You might meet up with someone and want to go off with them for a few days or hear about somewhere else to go that you may have missed in your research.
When you have no experience of a destination, you tend to plan your travel based on your knowledge from a far. In travel things are often very different and you find out so much more. Sticking to your original plan could stop you from seeing and experiencing something quite special.
Tip 0189 Give off an impression of not being alone
This is very important and comes with confidence and experience but our top tip here is to “lie” a little!
This we class as a very little white lie and a very big difference to your safety.
There are various ways you can do this. On arrival at an airport say, you can tell the taxi driver to take you to your accommodation where you are meeting your partner, friends or whoever.
When waiting or walking around and if approached, you can say you are waiting to meet someone or going to meet someone.
When dining alone, you can use your phone and pretend to chat and say I will meet you in 10 minutes or I will see you soon.
Tip 0190 Change your route back
You may not be aware with all the amazing sights, sounds and goings on around you that you could be watched!
Please do not become complacent whilst travelling. Our top tip here is when staying for a longer period in one place, try to mix it up a little and don’t be predictable.
Change your routes and times. People do tend to slip into a routine, as they feel more comfortable doing so.
Changing your route also widens your experience and you might find a little gem just around the corner.
Do not have your accommodation room key on show with hotel info and room number.
Tip 0191 Take me to my friends
This is a top tip and responsible request. Try to get into the habit of forward thinking.
Asking your ride to take you to a location where you will be meeting someone or a group of people, is more likely to give off a vibe that you are with friends and that you know the area. You are less likely to be taken for a ride or even worse taken somewhere you really don’t want to be at.
Try to acquire a local map of the area and study it a little. Know your compass headings and taking note of a few roads and street names along the way, will give you a great indication of if you are going the right way.
Tip 0192 Share a room /taxi
This is a great money saving tip and care should also be taken here. When travelling around, part of the fun is meeting new friends. What better way of saving funds than to share a taxi to your destinations or to and from the airports or train stations. This should of course be with someone you have had more than a few seconds of conversation.
Usually when travelling for long periods of time we are looking for the best deals and as you strike up friendships along the way you will often hear or find that some will be going your way some of the time. This may not be your thing or be for everyone but is very useful in many ways.
Tip 0193 Keep an eye on your bag
Again an obvious tip here but you will be surprised at the amount of people that leave their bags alone/unattended or are just not aware of their bags next to them. Having been in the security industry, it has become a habit of mine to people watch. Every time I travel, I am amazed at what people do.
Apart from causing a major problem at airports, stations and shopping malls, an unattended bag means you have no idea what has happened to your bag whilst you have left it unattended.
Theft is so easy within public common areas. Do not leave your bags on or by a seat to go to the toilet, shop or even to fill up your water bottle from a communal water fountain. Take them with you, or ask a friend to keep an eye on them for you.
Even in clear sight, your bags can be snatched very easily and gone forever. For this reason alone our top tip is to always retain your passport, money and credit cards in a personal lightweight strapped bag that you fix to your person.
Tip 0194 Getting others to go on excursions
This is great advice and we highly recommend it. The more social you are the more affordable travel is and especially when it comes to excursions.
Trying to book an excursion for one is not only very difficult but very costly. Not many companies are happy to have just one person along on an excursion and often charge a premium for the privilege. If you can afford it and want one on one service then go right ahead.
Try to engage in conversation at your accommodation or whilst travelling and find out what others are doing and what their timetables are, to see if you or they can slot in for a day or two.
Generally it is more fun to go with others. It’s a bit like eating alone, dinner parties are far better and much more fun. Also you get another chance to meet and swap ideas enroute.
Tip 0195 Eating alone.
Now here’s one that many have problems with. Did you know there is a phobia for people struggling to eat alone? It’s called Deipnophobia. This is a fear of dining or dinner conversations. Some people also find it very difficult to eat out alone as they feel everyone is watching them and that everyone thinks they are sad, lonely and have no friends.
This is something that is totally unfounded but the fact still remains, many feel weird eating out alone.
If you feel a little uneasy at the dining table here are a few tips you can try. Engage with the waiter, staff or management. At time of booking let them know your dining alone. Ask if they can place you with a lovely view. Take a book/magazine with you to read. A mobile phone or tablet to work on a project, write your diary or just browse the net.
Each time you dine out alone, take less things to do and gradually wean off having to feel like you need to do anything other than enjoy the meal and view.
There is also of course a concern on eating alone and this would be the issue of relaying that you may be travelling alone. Again we mention this earlier but a good rapport with the staff is a useful tool and conversations within earshot that you are going on to meet someone or friends is a great tip.
Tip 0196 Double alarm
Top tip here is always double up on your alarms! You are alone and travelling without backup.
Many single travellers forget this simple tip and find themselves in a whole heap of trouble.
Think about setting two alarms, and preferably from two separate devices.
Never trust the good old alarm clock that the hotel room is offering, it may appear to work but often is not the case. Also in many countries power outages or power surges will affect these clocks and you will be left stomping your feet, if not paying for the window you just throw the clock out of.
A great tip here is, to get reception to give you a wakeup call. Now some establishments charge for this service, so our top tip here is, don’t answer the phone! You won’t get billed for the call.
Tip 0197 Check your mirror
This could be embarrassing and or a problem.
Without the eyes of a partner or friend, you’d be surprised at the amount of single travellers out there going around oblivious to their appearance. Having been caught out myself, people are so scared of letting others know of their misfortunes.
Get into a habit of checking yourselves out before leaving your accommodation and please if you see anyone that has obviously forgotten the mirror check, tip them off, they will definitely be grateful even if a little embarassed.
Tip 0198 Planning is easier alone
Planning is so much easier when you only have yourself to consider.
Our top tip here is to allow a little extra time in your schedule/itinerary for the unforeseen. Most definitely you will meet a lot of new friends along the way and may need to take little diversions as you deem fit.
Being alone has its advantages but remember, there may come a time where a little conversation without interpretation is well needed or overdue. You could be deeply immersed in culture but a friendly understood voice is very welcome after several months of broken and stuttered word.
Tip 0199 Join an online social network travel group
Also look at joining online social networking travel groups, where individuals plan to meet up whilst travelling. These can be a lot of fun and add excitement to your travels.
Many are just looking to meet up for a couple of days to meet a friendly familiar face.
Joining such online groups is also a great way to pick up knowledge of places you haven’t been to yet or are thinking about going to in the future.
You will pick up more ideas and before you know it, your bucket list has just got a whole lot bigger.
Tip 0200 Dont be afraid to ask
As a single traveller you will automatically be less intimidating or threatening to the locals than as a group, couple or family. The likelihood of acceptance is a lot stronger and more opportunities will arise on your travels than you might have expect.
Dont be afraid to ask questions or talk to the locals. You will be amazed at what will come your way.
Try and communicate with the local children, mothers and people on the streets, be observant and take interest in what the locals do. If they are sitting down playing in the street, ask if you may join in . Try and work out how to play their games. Join in when asked and just be yourself but be careful not to impose yourself.