Ten rules for travelling alone

Travelling alone can bring wonderful rewards, but there are some things to know before heading off to ensure you stay safe and get the most out of your solo adventure.

1. Exude confidence
Looking nervous, unsure or having your nose stuck in a massive map will single you out as being on your own and not sure of your surroundings. Know where you’re going before you set out and walk purposefully. If you’re unsure or get lost, grab a seat at a local café and get your bearings.

2. Stay alert
Drinking too much or getting caught up in the excitement of the moment can dull your sensibilities. Keep hold of your belongings at all times, be aware of your surroundings and don’t leave your drinks unattended.

3. Do it by daylight
While it’s nice to see a city by night, doing most of your sightseeing in the daytime is safer. If you get up early and stay out all day, you’ll be tired by evening anyway. Or while you’re out and about during the day, scope out places to eat and drink at night that aren’t too far from your accommodation and are easily accessible. 

4. Forget flirting
Even for the most ardent solo traveller there are times when being alone can lose its appeal. Chatting to locals and finding out more about your destination is fine, but avoid flirting with lothario-type characters. Consider a simple gold band on your wedding finger to ward off unwanted attention.

5. Listen to yourself
If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore your gut instinct. Remember that the risk is seldom worth the reward and get yourself back to your accommodation to gather your thoughts. However, don’t let it put you off the rest of your trip.

6. Sidestep the supplement
Solo supplements usually vary in response to demand. High season generally translates into high supplements. So look beyond the summer months to save money. You can also sign up to the mailing lists of travel and cruising companies to find out quickly when they have offers waiving solo supplements, as they do from time to time.

7. Research, research, research
If your heart is set on a destination that is somewhat out of the way, read up about it extensively before you book. Go onto travel sites and read the feedback from other holidaymakers who have visited to try and assess beforehand whether you are likely to be safe or what precautions to take. Also, if you research the sites you wish to visit, you will then be forearmed with knowledge, less likely to ask locals too many questions and consequently, less likely to stand out as a stranger in town.

8. Know your consulates
There is nothing worse than getting into a pickle when you are overseas and alone. You will feel more in control if you have the contact details of all the Australian consulates in the countries you are travelling to and through. It is also a good idea to register your trip.

9. Blend in
As far as you can, try to look like one of the locals. Only take with you what you need and leave the rest of your ‘touristy’ giveaways locked up in your hotel.

10. Check in
Always let someone back home know where you are. There are apps and online tools you can share with loved ones or friends back home to help them track where you are, where you’re travelling to next, and where you’re staying at each stage of your trip.

What has served you well when you have travelled alone? What warnings would you like to share about solo travel?

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Written by Olga Galacho


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