Hate travelling solo

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    Feb 14, 2011 10:17 AM GMT
    I didn't want to hijack the other thread on vacationing solo, so I thought I'd start this one on learning how to travel solo.

    It's pretty clear that I'm likely going to be single for the near-foreseeable future, and I'm a poor solo traveler. Apart from scheduling vacations with other people, I'm looking for tips on how to travel solo. The few times I've done it, I've ended up holing myself up in my hotel room (or equivalent) doing stuff that I could easily do at home, which defeats the purpose of traveling.

    How do you approach traveling alone?
  • kew1

    Posts: 1595

    Feb 14, 2011 11:08 AM GMT
    If going with a tour group, one that specialises in solo travellers.
    Or backpacking, most people are alone & are quite chatty & friendly.
    Although it back-fired at a couple of hostels last year - I was the only person at one & spent the evening talking to the bored bar tender (was the only person in the bar) and at the other one the other residents were 6 Ukrainians mountain biking through South Africa.
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    Feb 14, 2011 11:22 AM GMT
    I always prefer to travel solo. It's so much more fun for me.

    I walk very, very fast and most people will never keep up. It's annoying when I have to constantly wait on someone else to get ready. I'm very particular when it comes to me making plans and sticking to every second of those plans.

  • alphatop

    Posts: 1955

    Feb 14, 2011 11:42 AM GMT
    bryanc_74 saidI didn't want to hijack the other thread on vacationing solo, so I thought I'd start this one on learning how to travel solo.

    It's pretty clear that I'm likely going to be single for the near-foreseeable future, and I'm a poor solo traveler. Apart from scheduling vacations with other people, I'm looking for tips on how to travel solo. The few times I've done it, I've ended up holing myself up in my hotel room (or equivalent) doing stuff that I could easily do at home, which defeats the purpose of traveling.

    How do you approach traveling alone?


    First off, blend with locals.
    Learn some local language and everyday phrases, greetings,etc
    Enjoy absolute freedom to do whatever YOU want, in a unknown city, be ready to explore endless possibilities where everything has the thrill of the first time...
    Get ready to meet lots of people from all walks of life down the road, but trust only yourself
    Finally, challenge yourself icon_biggrin.gif
  • vintovka

    Posts: 588

    Feb 14, 2011 1:31 PM GMT
    I've traveled solo more than I've traveled with groups and I avoid hotels like the plague. Instead I stay in Hostels as much as possible--they are frequently more relaxed and more more representative of the local architecture than modern hotels. Most importantly, however, they typically have a pretty cool cross-section of travelers (which normally includes one or two kooks). As an added benefit they are cheap and most have kitchens so you can cook your own food, which makes traveling on a budget easier, which means you can travel more often.

    Of course if hostels and the backpacker crowd are not your thing, there are plenty of group tours--even gay cruises (though personally the idea of a gay cruise seems like the idea of an all gay gated community, i.e. unattractive.)
  • Bunjamon

    Posts: 3161

    Feb 14, 2011 1:55 PM GMT
    If you start travelling solo but end up staying in hostels, you'll probably meet people who are going the same route that you are or who are staying in the same city as you are for a little while, and you can buddy up with them. Solo travelling is not for the introverted or the unadventurous, though, and you yourself better than any of us do.
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    Feb 14, 2011 2:05 PM GMT
    vintovka saidI've traveled solo more than I've traveled with groups and I avoid hotels like the plague. Instead I stay in Hostels as much as possible--they are frequently more relaxed and more more representative of the local architecture than modern hotels. Most importantly, however, they typically have a pretty cool cross-section of travelers (which normally includes one or two kooks). As an added benefit they are cheap and most have kitchens so you can cook your own food, which makes traveling on a budget easier, which means you can travel more often.

    Of course if hostels and the backpacker crowd are not your thing, there are plenty of group tours--even gay cruises (though personally the idea of a gay cruise seems like the idea of an all gay gated community, i.e. unattractive.)


    Totally agree. I travel in small groups usually, but for the few times I went alone, hostels were great. The thing I like about them is their affordability and the fact that you can often meet some really cool people. Making friends along the way as you travel has its benefits. As others have mentioned, make sure you try and blend in with the locals especially when out exploring on your own. Research carefully where you're going and make a list of things you want to see and do. Going without this means you might end up missing items of interest, and will make getting stuck in your room more likely.
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    Feb 14, 2011 3:00 PM GMT
    bryanc_74 saidHow do you approach traveling alone?

    I'm not sure I understand your question. Is it the travel itself, and how you are doing it, like flying or driving? Or is it the kind of destination you have in mind, and the kinds of activities there?

    When solo, there are certain things I simply wouldn't do, places I wouldn't visit. For instance, Disneyworld or any amusement or theme park by myself is out. Those are things I'd only do with others. A cruise might be another thing to do only with a companion. But I'll go to the beach by myself, or go museum hopping (I love museums), do sightseeing, just walk the streets and look around, take photos (yes, I am a streetwalker). And like hauptstimme, until I got older I was a very fast walker, could cover a lot of ground very quickly, and having someone along held me back.

    So the first thing I would suggest is itinerary, to match being solo. As much as you can, plan your vacation and your activities around being by yourself. Make sure you'll be doing things you would enjoy doing alone, assuming there are any (if there aren't any, I think this is all a moot point).

    As already suggested, you can also rely upon tours. Either complete packages, or guided tours once you get there. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed taking different tours of New York City a few years ago, when I brought my BF at the time there. I thought I knew the City pretty well, going there regularly since the 1950s, but the guided tours were fun and informative.

    And I could see myself doing them alone, even though on that trip my BF was with me. A bus tour of Manhattan, a tour of Ellis Island, of the United Nations (about the only way you can see it), tour of Rockefeller Center and a separate tour of Radio City Music Hall, museums, etc. I befriended some Australians on the bus tour (they are the friendliest people, with that wonderful accent to our Yank ears), and was talking more with them than with my BF. So consider activities that include tours.

    Other than that, it's a matter of having an independent frame of mind. I note your ethnicity is Asian. And while perhaps a cliche, many Asians are seen as being more social creatures than Europeans, a matter of culture (and of course I don't know how you were raised). So it may not be YOU per se, but rather your cultural heritage. That may be harder to overcome. Either you know how to enjoy your own company alone, or you don't.
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    Feb 14, 2011 3:11 PM GMT
    How about couchsurfing? I think it is a really cool way to get to know a place, since you will be crashing with a local. You can also have some form of cultural exchange like cooking for each other. This definitely helps to cut accommodation bills which can be incredibly hefty.

    It really depends on one's personality. I am quite a loner, so I actually enjoy travelling alone (in fact, I had to make quite a lot of adjustments to start travelling with my partner). It is partly because I love to explore places solo and love to read travel books and plan for trips.
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    Feb 14, 2011 3:26 PM GMT
    I thought about asking this same question in the other thread lol, this will be my first big trip alone.

    Good ideas so far and actually a friend at school just told me about couchsurfing.com you should check it out and see if its something you'd be interested in.

    Good Luck icon_biggrin.gif
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    Feb 14, 2011 3:42 PM GMT
    The nature of the trip can also make you a better (or worse) solo traveler.

    In a city/culture trip I def prefer to travel alone. There are sites that I'd like to check out that some times my traveling mates would like to omit. You can also talk with the locals to check out their lives. Most of the time I can't do that when traveling with others. I find that I'm more spontaneous when I am traveling alone. I remember there was a night I met 30+ new people and partied with them till dawn and there was no way that will happen if I wasn't alone! Usually I would be pulled apart and you also feel that obligation to your traveling mate to stick together. I enjoy the freedom much more.

    Don't stay in your hotel room! Fun doesn't come knocking on your hotel room door asking if he can come join you. Boredom does that.

    Now if you're planning more of a relaxation kind of trip, like lying on the beach the whole day, or taking a cruise, then I would def suggest traveling with a partner. There won't be too much to do already so If at the end of the day you got some to talk to it's probably less of an empty feeling inside.
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    Feb 14, 2011 3:44 PM GMT
    I wouldn't even consider traveling with someone else. I've done it a few times and it was a disaster. However, I've traveled to 47 countries alone and loved every second of it.
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    Feb 14, 2011 5:57 PM GMT
    I've done some traveling alone and have enjoyed it for the most part. As someone else said- the key is staying in hostels or some sort of guesthouse with common areas. These are the places solo travelers go where it'll be easy to meet other people. A friend of mine said I would guarantee I'd talk to no one if I stayed in a hotel. He was right. You might think hostels are only for college kids, and there will be a lot of them- but you also meet other adventurous people. This was my experience in China and Thailand at least.

    Other things to do are sign up for day tours. Most hotels and hostels offer them. Here you'll be with a group of people for a day. That's how I hiked the Great Wall and I met some great people. I'll admit I never really got used to eating dinner alone, but I'd bring a book or a journal and keep busy. I also found that you make yourself more approachable- people would come up to me and ask where I was from or just chat to practice their English.

    Do some research beforehand and give it a try. You won't regret it!
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    Feb 14, 2011 10:58 PM GMT
    Well I went abroad for study a couple of times and every time I went, I went to a place unknown. Plus I went alone. So when I arrived there, I didn't know anybody. But I find it easy to make friends. I meet them at the gym, at the club, or at the beach. Some I meet through the university there. I always try to meet the locals and hang with them to see the true culture.
    What I really like doing is just wonder through the streets and just see where fate takes you. I have discovered many secrets of many cities that way.
    The people I meet on my travels become usually friends with whom I meet up again.

    But like Bunjamon already said, solo travel is not everybody's cup of tea.
    I'm planning my next trip to Zhejiang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I'm already excited hehe.
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    Feb 14, 2011 11:26 PM GMT
    I travel solo alot, either for work or just for a holiday. Some tips:

    Jump online before you go and try and set up at least one drink or dinner date with a local. That means there is at least one night that you're going to be with someone and if they're nice, they may end up either giving you a bit of a tour of the place or give you some tips on things to see or do that a guidebook wouldn't have.

    Don't be scared to go out to dinner or see a movie or get a drink by yourself. Remember, the people who see you dining alone will probably never see you again for as long as you live. Who cares if they think you're a loser? (and you're not a loser....a guy has to eat, and if youre on holiday, why shouldnt you eat somewhere nice?)

    Get a guidebook and pick the things you really want to do and stick to it. You'd be surprised how much of your day is taken up just traversing a city going from one place to the other.

    If a site offers you a guided tour, take it. The tour guide usually knows quite alot about the thing you're there to see and you can walk around in a group of other tourists, some of whom will be by themselves as well.
  • hockeydude12

    Posts: 169

    Feb 14, 2011 11:30 PM GMT
    I've travelled solo alot and find that staying in hotels is probably the worst idea possible. like everyone else said, stay in hostels. However, I have also found that going on a tour is amazing. My recommendation is to use GAP Adventures. Its not like Contiki, where all you do is drink. GAP is like minded people who like to travel and see cool spots. It is a guided tour, but you have alot of free time. Anyways, hope this helps!

    Derek
  • dantoujours

    Posts: 378

    Feb 14, 2011 11:53 PM GMT
    Lux_ saidWell I went abroad for study a couple of times and every time I went, I went to a place unknown. Plus I went alone. So when I arrived there, I didn't know anybody. But I find it easy to make friends. I meet them at the gym, at the club, or at the beach. Some I meet through the university there. I always try to meet the locals and hang with them to see the true culture.
    What I really like doing is just wonder through the streets and just see where fate takes you. I have discovered many secrets of many cities that way.
    The people I meet on my travels are usually friends with whom I meet up again.
    .


    I'm exactly the same way. I've travelled to Sénégal and Mauritania Africa, Argentina and Uruguay South America, Australia, parts of New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Samoa alone.

    My next trip (in August) will be to Beijing China, Ulan Bator Mongolia and North Korea. The North Korea segment has to be part of a group because their government requires it, but the rest will be solo.

    It opens me up to meet locals, other travellers and seeing a place at my own pace and on my own terms. I think it's a great way to travel. And as ubiquitous as the internet is nowadays, you can share your experiences on Facebook or Flickr an hear from your friends.
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    Feb 15, 2011 12:14 AM GMT
    I'm travelling the northwest alone right now. Doing some couchsurfing with friends, ski resorts and renting a 1 bedroom place off of VRBO. It was kind of a spur of the moment thing for me, but, I just got in the car and left. Road trips are the best for seeing our country, I've been so fortunate to have travelled much of it by car. The National Parks are truly treasures that deserve more attention than they probably get.

    I'm in Portland now, heading towards Seattle at the end of this week or beginning of next. First time in Oregon or Washington state. I have my skis and dog, life is good. Any recommendations would be appreciated......

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    Feb 17, 2011 8:38 PM GMT
    My major trips around the globe have always been solo.

    Hostels are great for meeting other energetic travellers, trading stories and discovering hidden gems like restaurants, special tours and unadvertised parties and clubs.

    Even if you can afford more expensive accomodations or are older, I still recommend hostels. I love my 5 star places and room service sometimes but hostels are fun and convenient.

    I
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    Feb 18, 2011 4:02 AM GMT
    I don't mind traveling solo. Look at it this way, you aren't stuck with someone complaining about the trip. You can go do what you want to do and not have to wait for someone else.

    There are groups that specialize in volunteer tours. Those types of tours are pretty good for single travelers. There's usually no single supplement (which is always a plus), you do something good for others, and you meet kindred spirits. I haven't been on one yet, but the people I know who have said they loved them.
    One I was interested in was a trip to Costa Rica where you volunteer with sea turtles in Tortugero.

    Educational tours are pretty good for single travelers, too. You may have come by yourself, but you'll spend time with others learning a new skill, learning a language, or learning something new.
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    Feb 18, 2011 11:34 PM GMT
    I've thought about the sea turtle trip in Costa Rica too!
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    Feb 18, 2011 11:55 PM GMT
    bryanc_74 saidI didn't want to hijack the other thread on vacationing solo, so I thought I'd start this one on learning how to travel solo.

    It's pretty clear that I'm likely going to be single for the near-foreseeable future, and I'm a poor solo traveler. Apart from scheduling vacations with other people, I'm looking for tips on how to travel solo. The few times I've done it, I've ended up holing myself up in my hotel room (or equivalent) doing stuff that I could easily do at home, which defeats the purpose of traveling.

    How do you approach traveling alone?


    Travel light
    Promise to have a good time and make sure you do
    Travel in business or first class to your destination.
    Get good map
    Don't forget lube and condoms.
    Hit the road
    Smile often and ask questions: you'd be surprise how easy it is to make friends.

    Enjoy