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How to travel solo (and have a great time!)

It takes time to get used to travelling alone, eating alone, going to a show or a movie alone. I remember when my mother would say she’d had a coffee and a muffin in a cafe on her own, my eyes would tear up. Today, I love eating and shopping alone! I even love staying in hotels alone (don’t tell my husband). I quite like being the boss of me.

Solo travel is an increasing trend and there are many great advantages to travelling alone, from doing what you want when you want, lying in or getting up early, meeting new people when you’re out and about, in a restaurant or bar or a little side tour…

But if solo travel makes your uncomfortable, I’ve learned some tips for faking it till you make it over the last few years of travelling alone for work, meeting strangers and navigating my way around foreign places, and some tips for keeping you and your stuff safe…

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When dining out

•  If you feel as conspicuous as a jilted bride dining in a restaurant alone, take a notepad and pen and look like a travel writer. Or a novellist. Or a food critic (I’m not sure if food critics make themselves so obvious).

•  Or take your smartphone and even if you don’t have WiFi, just play scrabble on it. If you do have WiFi then lose yourself in social media and news sites until the waitress comes. That way you’ll look important… 😉

•  Sit at the restaurant bar to eat if it’s crowded as people are always keen to talk there – even if it’s just the barman!

When out and about

•  Pretend to be talking on your phone when walking back to your hotel at night. It should act as a deterrent for bag snatchers and other thugs.

•  If English isn’t the first language (or even if it is!) I find having a business card from my hotel in the local language is handy for taxi drivers trying to drop me home.

•  In busy places like markets, zip your handbag closed (you knew that, right? It’s just that I never usually close mine!) and squish it firmly under your armpit. A diagonal shoulder strap is ideal.

•  Take 2 credit cards and keep them separately. If you lose one or even if it gets stopped by your bank (happened twice to me last year) you don’t want to be stranded!

•  Keep a copy of your passport photo page on your phone.

•  Photograph your luggage lest you need to describe it on a claim form at some airport.

• Fill out medical/emergency info app on your iphone.

•  Most of all, be curious! Talk to people and enjoy yourself 🙂

Market safety
Don’t carry your bags on your back!


You might also like my post on Top tips for keeping you and your stuff safe when travelling >>

You might also like to read my post with my Top Tips on Keeping You and Your Stuff Safe When Traveling >>


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Lynne Judson

Wednesday 13th of December 2017

Hi Megan, Thanks for your article on travelling solo. Your tips are really useful. In 2 months I am embarking on my 1st solo trip overseas. Solo, only in that I'm flying alone and have a nights layover before reaching my final destination to spent time with friends. What tips do you have for when I reach the hotel? I'm staying in Dallas near the airport the night. Yes, I'm travelling with qantas and have those 2 long return flights via Sydney.! Not sure why on earth I allowed the travel agent to convince me that was a good idea. But it's all part of the holiday and will do my best to make the most of it. I think the 50+ hours of not being around anyone I know will probably be the hardest . Any tips for dealing with that. I'm glad I came across your fb posts, they've helped me be a bit more prepared than I would have otherwise.


Wednesday 13th of December 2017

Hi Lynne I'm so glad you found my tips helpful for your upcoming trip. When it comes to staying in a hotel on your own, I think you need to have a plan for what you're going to do, where you might like to eat, shop, people watch, that sort of thing. I really liked Dallas and here is my post on 3 neighbourhoods you could taxi (or Uber) to for dinner. Plan to enjoy some "me" time in the hotel. Maybe there's a movie you could download on a device to watch when you've got some peace and quiet. Or a book. Or maybe you want to dye your hair or tan your legs or have a long bath with a glass of wine or get room service or book yourself in for a spa treatment if the hotel has a spa!! Ask the concierge for advice on somewhere to eat or shop nearby and take yourself on a nice walk or use Uber to easily get around from wherever you find yourself if you walk too far! I hope that helps. It's a head game really, so if get prepared for it, and it'll be a breeze. Megan :)

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!