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Travelling Solo

Going on holidays by yourself can be fun and a great way to meet new people, but it can also be a daunting experience. For many, the thought of dining alone, sleeping alone and sightseeing alone all sounds very lonely. There's only one thing for it -- make friends when you get there! There is a good chance that you will find like-minded travellers when you get to your destination.

The upsides of jetting off by yourself are that you decide everything: what time you get up in the morning, what to have for breakfast, where to go for the day, how you'll get there and how much money you'll spend.

However without a partner to split costs with, accommodation tends to be pricier. The good news is that hostels aren’t just for young backpackers and travellers looking for a party. A quick scan of online reviews will allow you to rule out the party hostels if you just want a nice quiet place to crash after a day sightseeing.

For women, many hostels offer female-only dorms or private rooms for the fraction of the cost of a hotel. Even if there are hotels that are less expensive, hostels and guesthouses provide so many more opportunities to meet people due to their common areas.

Another way around the accommodation as a solo traveller is to join a tour -- either for the entire trip or just part of your holiday. Many adventure-style companies (such as Gecko's and Peregrine) offer to bunk you with another single traveller of the same sex so you don't have to pay a supplement, plus you will get to hang with the group when sightseeing and will probably make some friends.

As a sometime solo traveller, I find eating alone the hardest part of being by yourself but not for the reasons you think! Sitting on my own isn’t a problem but the food of a particular destination is such a big appeal that I want to try as much as possible. Being alone means that I only get to try half as much off restaurant menus. My way around this is to have lots of small meals throughout the day, visit street stalls where possible and make friends with the bar staff so they can recommend good places to eat and drink.

Safety and security is often a concern when travelling solo because there is no one watching your back but there are a few basic guidelines to follow, and it shouldn’t be something to lose sleep over:

  • Try not to arrive in a new city or town late at night -- it is so easy to get disoriented in the dark when everything is unfamiliar.
  • Keep your valuables on your person and hidden.
  • Walk with confidence and with your head up, as you are less likely to be targeted as a victim.
  • Check with locals (at the airport or at your hostel) to see if there are areas you should avoid, either in the daytime or at night. They are your best resource for information.

At the end of the day a little common sense and awareness is all you need. My experience of travelling alone is that you're only ever alone if you want to be and I have had some of the best times exploring new and exciting destinations on my own.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Sydney
Friday, September 2, 2011
See more Tips from
Allison Wallace