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Whilst travelling with friends or organised groups is fairly common, by choice or by necessity many people travel alone. Travelling alone is a unique experience and can be a very rewarding way of travelling.
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Whilst traveling with friends or organized groups is fairly common, by choice or by necessity many people travel alone. Traveling alone is a unique experience and can be a very rewarding way of traveling, despite a few drawbacks.  
  
 
== Understand ==
 
== Understand ==
  
Travelling alone is not uncommon and most solo travellers are able to meet other travellers at hostels, bars, organised tours or any place where travellers tend to hang out.
+
Traveling alone is not uncommon and most solo travelers are able to meet other travelers at hostels, bars, organised tours or any place where travelers tend to hang out or congregate.
  
Advantages to travelling alone:
+
A growing trend is '''women traveling alone''', and there are some great websites supporting this endeavour.  In particular there are hundreds of tours and retreats that are just for women.
 +
===Advantages to traveling alone===
  
* You automatically get points for having balls, especially if you're a girl.  
+
* Your time and budget are your own! It's all up to you how much time to spend someplace, what your daily modes of travel will be, etc.
  
* Your time and budget are your own! No staying in budget flophouses with cash-strapped friends when you love five-star hotels. No staying in five-star hotels with rich friends when you want to save all your money for beer!
+
* It's easier to make friends with the locals. Many great opportunities to interact with the locals on a personal level can be found and enjoyed without a friend or other companion. 
  
* It's easier to make friends with the locals. A person by herself is often less intimidating to approach. You didn't come all this way just to talk to the same people you see all the time back home, did you? Make new friends!
+
* More space to make your trip entirely your own. Solo travel can be a great opportunity for reflection and moving at an individual pace. Traveling by yourself, you only have to please yourself.
  
* More space to make your trip entirely your own. Drink it all in. Reflect. Write in your journal. Solo travel can be great opportunity to (theatrical sigh) "find yourself".
+
* You will be far more flexible than non-solo travelers, and may find it easier to cope with unexpected setbacks and complications. There's nobody to blame you for your own gaffes, after all!
  
Disadvantages to travelling alone:
+
===Disadvantages to traveling alone===
  
*You'll get lonely. For sure. But if you plan for it, you can deal with it.  
+
* There's nobody to watch your back. And there's no one to watch the luggage while you go buy train tickets. You have to carry all your gear yourself, which can be both inconvenient and stressful.
  
* There's nobody to watch your back. And there's no one to watch the luggage while you go buy train tickets. You have to carry all your gear yourself.  
+
* It's more expensive, as there is no one to share costs with. Rooms are usually about the same price for one or for two. You'll need to budget a little bit more.
  
* It's more expensive, as there is no one to share costs with. Rooms are usually about the same price for one than for two. You'll need to budget a little bit more.
+
* You don't have any social obligations.
 +
 
 +
* You may experience moments of loneliness.
  
 
== Get in ==
 
== Get in ==
  
Some destinations lend themselves better to solo travel than others. Being the only loner on a romantic tropical beach, watching happy couples frolic and feeding each other BBQ prawns can lead to thoughts of suicide. Cities, with their bustle of activity, are much easier to be alone in.
+
Some destinations lend themselves better to solo travel than others. You may find places where accommodations for a single traveler are less restrictive or expensive. There may also be places that cater to individual travelers.
  
 
== Get around ==
 
== Get around ==
  
Pack as light as possible. When travelling with friends, one person can watch the gear while another waits in line for train tickets, buys drinks or goes to the toilet. By yourself, you'll probably have to bring your things everywhere you go.
+
Pack as light as possible. When traveling with friends the burdens can be shared; one person can watch the gear while another waits in line for train tickets, buys drinks or goes to the toilet. By yourself, you'll probably have to bring your things everywhere you go and prepare for tasks on your own.
  
 
Take intercity trains instead of buses, you can move around freely and mingle with other passengers. On most long distance trains the locals bring along a picnic, take some extra food to share with new friends.
 
Take intercity trains instead of buses, you can move around freely and mingle with other passengers. On most long distance trains the locals bring along a picnic, take some extra food to share with new friends.
  
Try not to look at maps in busy streets of foreign cities (which will mark you as an easy target for pickpockets) - do the map reading in a cafe, and unwind for a while, the refreshment will help you get your bearings.
+
Try not to look at maps in busy streets of foreign cities (which will mark you as an easy target for pickpockets) - do the map reading in a cafe, and unwind for a while, the refreshment will help you get your bearings.  In many cities using a mobile device will blend better than standing on a street corner with a map.
  
 
== Eat ==
 
== Eat ==
  
Try to find places with a more casual atmosphere in European cities, such as cafeterias in department stores, a pub, or an outdoor patio during warmer weather and avoid places with candlelit tables like the plague (even if they do let you in)!  Buy a locally produced speciality and have it in a park. Although MacDonalds will sometimes be tempting for its familiarity, resist the temptation and find a casual everyday local hangout.
+
Try to find places with a casual atmosphere in European cities, such as cafeterias in department stores, a pub, or an outdoor patio during warmer weather.
 +
 
 +
You can also try to connect with other travellers by using a free service called eatwithequals.net. It gives you the possibility to meet with interesting people, share good stories and expand your network with other global travellers. The goal of eatwithequals.net is to allow small groups of about 4 people to meet over a dinner, enjoy a good meal and leave the table well fed both in body and mind.
  
 
== Sleep ==
 
== Sleep ==
  
* Hotel rooms are typically priced at "double occupancy", and don't expect them to cut the price in half (or even a little) just because there's only one of you.  Hostels are much more accommodating of single travellers, but at the cost of your privacy, charging by the bed in shared rooms.
+
* In places where accommodation is expensive, you can try to team up with other single travelers to share a room and split costs. A good place to meet people for sharing is on the bus/train/plane in to a new place. Be cautious about who you trust, obviously, but it can be a great way to save money.
 
+
* In places where accommodation is expensive, you can try to team up with other single travellers to share a room. A good place to meet people for sharing is on the bus/train/plane in to a new place. Take advantage of the ride to chat up the people around you. Be cautious about who you trust, obviously, but it can be a great way to save money.  
+
  
 
== Cope ==
 
== Cope ==
  
* The more traveller-y the accommodation, the easier it will be to make new friends. If you're feeling lonely, head to a hostel, not a five-star hotel. Hostels are normally filled with solo travelers, many of them looking to make a friend or two to enjoy a beer with.  
+
* The more travel-friendly the accommodation, the easier it will be to make new friends. If you're feeling lonely, head to a hostel, not a five-star hotel. Hostels are normally filled with solo travelers, many of them looking to make a friend or two to enjoy a beer with.  
* Tours can be a great way to meet other travelers
+
* Tours can be a great way to meet other travelers. Especially walking tours.
 
* Travel forums can also be a good way to meet other travelers who are in the same destination as you.  
 
* Travel forums can also be a good way to meet other travelers who are in the same destination as you.  
* A good book is almost like a friend. Have a good book on hand to pass the time when waiting for the train, eating alone, or a quiet night in your guesthouse. It's surprising how much a good book can stave off the blues.
+
* Buy someone a beer! Start up a conversation! Even if you're not outgoing at home, now is the time to start. Ask someone that looks like they've been there a while about cool things to see. Politely offer help to someone just arriving, if you know the hotspots (but don't be overbearing) Better yet -- talk to the locals. In some countries, guesthouses are staffed by young people who like making new friends. Ask a local to teach you a few phrases in her language. Ask a local how to make a toast in the local language. Don't be afraid: at worst, you'll never see these people again, at best -- you'll make a new friend.
* Buy someone a beer! Start up a conversation! Even if you're not outgoing at home, now is the time to start. Ask someone that looks like they've been there a while about cool things to see. Politely offer help to someone just arriving, if you know the hotspots (but don't be overbearing. Nobody likes a "been there, done that" travelling know-it-all.) Better yet -- talk to the locals. In some countries, guesthouses are staffed by young people who like making new friends. Ask a local to teach you a few phrases in her language. Ask a local how to make a toast in the local language. Don't be afraid: at worst, you'll never see these people again, at best -- you'll make a new friend.  
+
* Ask people to take your picture or offer to take theirs. It is a great way to initiate a conversation.
* Appearance matters. Because you meet a lot of people in a short amount of time when travelling, it helps to put your best foot forward. You don't have to look like a supermodel, but being neat, clean, and smelling good always helps. In some parts of the developing world, people are baffled by the slovenly appearance of some travellers. If you had enough money for a plane ticket to another country, costing more than a local will make in a year, surely you have enough money to launder your clothes, or buy a shirt without holes in it! People will judge you by your appearance.
+
* Try something like couch surfing to see if you can find some local to host you. You can get a much richer cultural experience that way.
 +
* Appearance and courtesy matters. Because you meet a lot of people in a short amount of time when traveling, it helps to put "your best foot forward".
 
* Smoking may be out of fashion back at home, but in a lot of the world, offering up cigarettes is not a bad way to strike up a conversation.
 
* Smoking may be out of fashion back at home, but in a lot of the world, offering up cigarettes is not a bad way to strike up a conversation.
  
Line 63: Line 67:
 
* If at all possible, arrive at a new place in the daytime. This will give you time to scope out accommodations and get your bearings in the relative safety of daylight. Some places are fine in the day, but dangerous at night. Some places are dangerous in the day, but imagine how much worse they are at night!  
 
* If at all possible, arrive at a new place in the daytime. This will give you time to scope out accommodations and get your bearings in the relative safety of daylight. Some places are fine in the day, but dangerous at night. Some places are dangerous in the day, but imagine how much worse they are at night!  
  
* Keep a spare stash of cash and other important things, in a different place than you normally keep your money, as you have no one to spot you if you lose your wallet or have your things stolen.  
+
* Keep a spare stash of cash and other important things, in a different place than you normally keep your money, as you have no one to spot you if you lose your wallet or have your things stolen. See also [[pickpockets]].
  
 
* Pay attention to your instincts. If your gut tells you not to get into that cab, take another one. If you have a bad feeling about a neighborhood, a hotel, a person, stay away. Your intuition often picks up on tiny signs of danger before you consciously identify them.  
 
* Pay attention to your instincts. If your gut tells you not to get into that cab, take another one. If you have a bad feeling about a neighborhood, a hotel, a person, stay away. Your intuition often picks up on tiny signs of danger before you consciously identify them.  
  
* Be careful about drugs and alcohol. You don't have anyone to watch your back, or drag you home if you get too drunk to walk. It's a lot harder to make good decisions about who to trust, where to go, what to do, if you don't have your wits about you.  
+
* Be careful about drugs and alcohol. You don't have anyone to watch your back/assist you, or drag you home if you get too drunk to walk. It's a lot harder to make good decisions about who to trust, where to go, what to do, if you don't have your wits about you.  
  
 
* If you're in a semi-dodgy place for more than a short time, try to develop relationships with locals you trust. If you find a good taxi driver (who isn't driving drunk), ask him if he's available to drive you on other days. If you find a good guesthouse/hotel where the staff seems reliable, stick with it. Find a favorite bar, make friends with the barman -- someone who will stick you in a cab when you're too drunk, and who won't set you up to be mugged in a back alley.  
 
* If you're in a semi-dodgy place for more than a short time, try to develop relationships with locals you trust. If you find a good taxi driver (who isn't driving drunk), ask him if he's available to drive you on other days. If you find a good guesthouse/hotel where the staff seems reliable, stick with it. Find a favorite bar, make friends with the barman -- someone who will stick you in a cab when you're too drunk, and who won't set you up to be mugged in a back alley.  
  
 
{{outline}}
 
{{outline}}
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[[fi:Yksin matkustaminen]]

Revision as of 23:00, 16 December 2012

    This article is a travel topic

Whilst traveling with friends or organized groups is fairly common, by choice or by necessity many people travel alone. Traveling alone is a unique experience and can be a very rewarding way of traveling, despite a few drawbacks.

Contents

Understand

Traveling alone is not uncommon and most solo travelers are able to meet other travelers at hostels, bars, organised tours or any place where travelers tend to hang out or congregate.

A growing trend is women traveling alone, and there are some great websites supporting this endeavour. In particular there are hundreds of tours and retreats that are just for women.

Advantages to traveling alone

  • Your time and budget are your own! It's all up to you how much time to spend someplace, what your daily modes of travel will be, etc.
  • It's easier to make friends with the locals. Many great opportunities to interact with the locals on a personal level can be found and enjoyed without a friend or other companion.
  • More space to make your trip entirely your own. Solo travel can be a great opportunity for reflection and moving at an individual pace. Traveling by yourself, you only have to please yourself.
  • You will be far more flexible than non-solo travelers, and may find it easier to cope with unexpected setbacks and complications. There's nobody to blame you for your own gaffes, after all!

Disadvantages to traveling alone

  • There's nobody to watch your back. And there's no one to watch the luggage while you go buy train tickets. You have to carry all your gear yourself, which can be both inconvenient and stressful.
  • It's more expensive, as there is no one to share costs with. Rooms are usually about the same price for one or for two. You'll need to budget a little bit more.
  • You don't have any social obligations.
  • You may experience moments of loneliness.

Get in

Some destinations lend themselves better to solo travel than others. You may find places where accommodations for a single traveler are less restrictive or expensive. There may also be places that cater to individual travelers.

Get around

Pack as light as possible. When traveling with friends the burdens can be shared; one person can watch the gear while another waits in line for train tickets, buys drinks or goes to the toilet. By yourself, you'll probably have to bring your things everywhere you go and prepare for tasks on your own.

Take intercity trains instead of buses, you can move around freely and mingle with other passengers. On most long distance trains the locals bring along a picnic, take some extra food to share with new friends.

Try not to look at maps in busy streets of foreign cities (which will mark you as an easy target for pickpockets) - do the map reading in a cafe, and unwind for a while, the refreshment will help you get your bearings. In many cities using a mobile device will blend better than standing on a street corner with a map.

Eat

Try to find places with a casual atmosphere in European cities, such as cafeterias in department stores, a pub, or an outdoor patio during warmer weather.

You can also try to connect with other travellers by using a free service called eatwithequals.net. It gives you the possibility to meet with interesting people, share good stories and expand your network with other global travellers. The goal of eatwithequals.net is to allow small groups of about 4 people to meet over a dinner, enjoy a good meal and leave the table well fed both in body and mind.

Sleep

  • In places where accommodation is expensive, you can try to team up with other single travelers to share a room and split costs. A good place to meet people for sharing is on the bus/train/plane in to a new place. Be cautious about who you trust, obviously, but it can be a great way to save money.

Cope

  • The more travel-friendly the accommodation, the easier it will be to make new friends. If you're feeling lonely, head to a hostel, not a five-star hotel. Hostels are normally filled with solo travelers, many of them looking to make a friend or two to enjoy a beer with.
  • Tours can be a great way to meet other travelers. Especially walking tours.
  • Travel forums can also be a good way to meet other travelers who are in the same destination as you.
  • Buy someone a beer! Start up a conversation! Even if you're not outgoing at home, now is the time to start. Ask someone that looks like they've been there a while about cool things to see. Politely offer help to someone just arriving, if you know the hotspots (but don't be overbearing) Better yet -- talk to the locals. In some countries, guesthouses are staffed by young people who like making new friends. Ask a local to teach you a few phrases in her language. Ask a local how to make a toast in the local language. Don't be afraid: at worst, you'll never see these people again, at best -- you'll make a new friend.
  • Ask people to take your picture or offer to take theirs. It is a great way to initiate a conversation.
  • Try something like couch surfing to see if you can find some local to host you. You can get a much richer cultural experience that way.
  • Appearance and courtesy matters. Because you meet a lot of people in a short amount of time when traveling, it helps to put "your best foot forward".
  • Smoking may be out of fashion back at home, but in a lot of the world, offering up cigarettes is not a bad way to strike up a conversation.

Stay safe

Life is for the living, so don't go crazy with worrying, but a few simple measures can make your solo trip a lot safer:

  • If at all possible, arrive at a new place in the daytime. This will give you time to scope out accommodations and get your bearings in the relative safety of daylight. Some places are fine in the day, but dangerous at night. Some places are dangerous in the day, but imagine how much worse they are at night!
  • Keep a spare stash of cash and other important things, in a different place than you normally keep your money, as you have no one to spot you if you lose your wallet or have your things stolen. See also pickpockets.
  • Pay attention to your instincts. If your gut tells you not to get into that cab, take another one. If you have a bad feeling about a neighborhood, a hotel, a person, stay away. Your intuition often picks up on tiny signs of danger before you consciously identify them.
  • Be careful about drugs and alcohol. You don't have anyone to watch your back/assist you, or drag you home if you get too drunk to walk. It's a lot harder to make good decisions about who to trust, where to go, what to do, if you don't have your wits about you.
  • If you're in a semi-dodgy place for more than a short time, try to develop relationships with locals you trust. If you find a good taxi driver (who isn't driving drunk), ask him if he's available to drive you on other days. If you find a good guesthouse/hotel where the staff seems reliable, stick with it. Find a favorite bar, make friends with the barman -- someone who will stick you in a cab when you're too drunk, and who won't set you up to be mugged in a back alley.
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