|Photo taken during my solo trip to Ireland
Travelling solo is very popular and from my perspective, it should be experienced by everyone! Whether you choose to go solo on a trip by yourself or join a tour group alone, it is a liberating experience and one that you will never forget. However, there are obstacles that most solo travellers will face at one point or another. Here are the obstacles that I found and how I was able to cope with them.
1) Supplement fees– Some Tours or All Inclusive Resorts force singles to pay additional fees as they are losing money on the room with only one person. However, after some research, you will be able to find resorts that offer singles weeks or no single supplement. Some tour operators will pair you up with another person of the same sex at no additional charge. I have found that typically those tours and hotels attract more solo travellers, therefore making the experience more enjoyable for you. Another way, is to stay at hotels/hostels who charge per person, booking.com even has a price filter for only one person staying.
2) Eating Alone – This was my biggest obstacle! During the day, I would go sightseeing and enjoy a cup of coffee while people watching. However, during the evening, I felt self conscious eating alone when everyone around is a couple or a large group of people. In Italy, I found that I was asked to join almost half of the tables around me. In other places, I would take my book out and found a way to enjoy my meals. Also, staying in Hostels, you are likely to meet other solo travellers who would be more than happy to share a meal with you in exchange for travel stories of course. As a last resort, you can always do fast food while this will not make you healthier, it will provide a comfortable environment.
3) Safety– This is the biggest concern for solo female travellers, especially in countries with high crime rates toward women. A good tip is to wear a ring around the wedding ring finger. This will automatically discourage unwanted attention in some places, however, in other places it may not be enough. In those cases, personally, I felt more comfortable joining a tour group and meeting people that way. If you stay in an international hostel, you may meet other travellers with whom you can travel to not the best parts of town together. Also, if I did not feel totally safe in a country, I would take taxi’s instead of walking and tried to be back at my hotel before sunset. Although, this rarely happens, using common sense can go a far way.
4) Loneliness– Although most people think this will be the biggest obstacle, you are never bored when you travel and there is so much to see and do that you hardly have the chance to remember about yourself being alone. If you want to foolproof your loneliness, grab a book, download movies for your iPad and make sure your day is packed with activities and sights to see!
Enjoy traveling! There is nothing like it whether you are alone, married or have a big family!