Being single shouldn’t prevent you from getting out and exploring the world. While going to unfamiliar places without the security of another person may make you feel nervous, travelling alone is an excellent way to broaden your horizons and build your confidence.
Here we provide four tips for travelling alone, including how to dine alone without feeling awkward, the key to staying safe and remaining vigilant and how to beat the dreaded singles supplement.
The joy of travelling alone
If you are single, or simply fancy some time away by yourself, then travelling alone can be a hugely rewarding experience.
As master of your own destiny, you can go where you like and see what you want, although it’s important that you always put your safety first.
Arriving at your destination alone
Have a plan in place for onward travel after arriving at the airport.
If you want to take a taxi to your accommodation, then research the going rate online first as unscrupulous taxi drivers may spot that you’re a tourist and try to charge you excessively.
Ask the driver for a price as soon as you get in the cab and if it seems more than you had expected then leave.
Notifying your hotel about your check-in time
Tell your hotel what time you expect to arrive and if it is going to be late then chose one that allows 24-hour check-in.
This helps guarantee that you will get into your room, even in the event of a delay.
Staying safe when travelling alone
Don’t appear like a tourist
Think carefully about your security and don’t accidentally broadcast your status as a solo tourist to opportunist criminals or scam artists.
Tourist traps are often rife with criminals preying on people unfamiliar with the area, too focused on looking at maps or the spectacular architecture to protect their belongings.
As a solo traveller, you have the advantage of being able to blend into the crowd and appear like a local, so swat up on your guidebooks and maps in the comfort of your hotel before hitting the streets.
If you get lost, then say that you are meeting a friend at your destination when asking for directions.
Trust your instincts
Keep your head held high, look confident and most importantly, trust your instincts.
If something doesn’t feel right, then often it isn’t.
Take a break
Remaining vigilant and being constantly aware of your surroundings is draining.
Don’t try to squeeze too much into each day and if you need a night off then take it. Head back to the hotel, have a long hot bath and treat yourself to room service.
After a rest and a good night’s sleep, you will feel alert and ready for another day of sightseeing and mingling with new people.
Eating solo when travelling alone
Lots of people don’t like eating alone in bars and restaurants but really there’s nothing to fear.
If you feel uncomfortable then take along a good book or ask to sit at the bar, where you may feel less conspicuous and can make a conversation more easily if you wish to.
Order a drink, look out the view, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the experience.
Avoiding the single supplement
A key drawback of travelling alone is the single supplement charged by many hotels and cruise operators.
They try to justify the charge, claiming that the costs of running a room (or cabin), such as cleaning, servicing and changing the linen are the same whether a single person or a couple is staying.
Look for last minute deals
Don’t be penalised for travelling solo and look for last minute deals, which frequently forgo the supplement in a bid to fill the rooms.
Sharpen your negotiation skills
Similarly, don’t be afraid to negotiate, particularly if you are travelling in the low season, when a room occupied by a single is surely more profitable than an unoccupied room.
Consider a hostel
If you don’t mind sharing a room then consider a hostel, which charges by the bed as opposed to the room.
In many cases, hostels also offer smaller or gender-specific rooms.
Group holidays for singles
Many group holiday companies specifically cater for singles, providing the opportunity to meet similar people who share the same outlook and are looking for the same type of experience as you.