I wrote this post on March 23, 2014, it is now September 9, 2018 and I have finally booked my first solo trip to Jamaica for eight days. See next post…
I have this great travel bucket list and I thought that I would’ve been married by now and have that forever travel partner. I always thought that I would travel with my best girlfriends and my sister. Well, neither has happened. I am still single and my children are growing into their own adult selves. My friends and and family have their own lives, bills and other excuses as to why they can’t or won’t travel. These are the numerous reasons why I am asking myself should I travel solo. I understand the fact that I am not getting any younger and there is so much of the world I would like to see while I am still able bodied.
I have heard that solo travel can be the ultimate experience. You don’t have worry about your travel partner’s plans only what you would like to do or not do. Also, you can do exactly what you want to do — all the time. Always wanted to try surfing? Do it and have the time of your life. Visit a Bodega. Take a cooking class. Eat street food in Bangladesh.
I know that safety is extremely important. Without a companion to watch your back, you are more vulnerable to criminals and scam artists, as well as simple health worries. But there are tips to stay safe while traveling alone. I am at the point where my desire to travel is so strong that I am willing to travel solo because life is too short to have regrets of what I “should have” or “could have” done.
Of course, I still have the dreams of traveling with my future husband and my girlfriends but until then I am going to leave my footprints on my piece of the world! WHY WAIT!
Here are a few Safety tips for Solo Traveling:
Know how long it takes and how much it costs to get from the airport to your hotel or to the city center. Solo travelers are more likely to be “taken for a ride,” so ask the taxi driver how much it will cost before you leave. If it’s considerably different from what you know to be true, take a different cab.
Find out if hotels at your destination are open late, so you don’t end up sleeping in your car or worse.
Be your own best counsel; if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
Carry good identification, in more than one place.
Keep to open and public places, especially at night.
Exude confidence and walk purposefully.
Avoid appearing like a tourist.
Don’t draw attention to yourself by wearing flashy clothes or jewelry.
Lie a little. Not only can you invent your own persona or history, but you can also make your life easier with little white lies. When asking directions, don’t let on that you are alone: “Can you direct me to the museum? I have to meet a friend.”
Check your maps and transportation schedules before leaving your hotel/train/rental car/tourist office. A solo traveler poring over maps can be a mark for unsavory types.
Leave a copy of your itinerary with a friend or family member at home, and stay in touch regularly via phone or e-mail.
For U.S. citizens traveling internationally, consider signing up for the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which could help the State Department assist you in case of emergency. If you’re from outside the States, see if your home country has a similar program.