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12 Tips for Traveling Alone

12 Tips for Traveling Alone

Ideally we would always be able to travel with friends or family to not only have companionship but also safety in numbers. This isn't always possible but with some common sense and planning ahead, traveling alone doesn't have to be a worrisome prospect. Here are 12 tips where you can travel alone while still having fun and enjoying your personal vacation.

1. Make a Wish List

Pulling everything together for a vacation requires attention to detail and planning ahead but don't forget to think about why you're going and what you hope to get out of it. Do some research ahead of time and put together a list of local highlights and must-see venues.

2. Protect Your Valuables

Many hotels provide in room safes to protect your valuables which can provide additional security. Even if personal safes are unavailable, there will inevitably be a main safe in the hotel lobby providing a similar service. Expensive watches and jewelry would be better left at home but at a minimum take proactive steps like not leaving jewelry in plain view.

3. Limit Your Drinking

While drinking on vacation is part of the overall experience to enjoying yourself it's best to minimize it especially when traveling alone. Not only does alcohol increase inhibitions it can also lead to tragic results if others aren't around whom you trust to look out for your best interests.

4. Establish Safety Zones

Familiarize yourself with the area upon arrival and identify popular 24 hour locations. An all night coffee shop or restaurant can be a good place to turn to if you become disoriented or are worried about your safety. It also pays to get to know an establishments workers or owners.

5. Dress to Blend In

When traveling abroad, looking like a tourist leaves yourself open to criminals trying to make a quick buck. Do your best to dress like locals by wearing neutral color shirts and jeans, preferably buying local attire and blending even further. Not only can you purchase great local clothes at low prices but it also prevents you from sticking out like a sore thumb.

6. Ask a Local

Locals are the best sources of information and can reliably point tourists to the best restaurants and other interesting sites. Making a few local friends can go a long way to providing valuable information and insights you wouldn't have access to otherwise.

7. Use the Buddy System

If someone can't go with you to make sure you stay safe at least they can keep tabs on you while still at home. Make copies of your drivers license, passport, itinerary and hotel information and leave these with your contact in the event something happens. It is also prudent to check in with them periodically at Internet cafes via e-mail or instant message.

8. Hide Your Money

It's unfortunate that many criminals, especially pickpockets, prey on tourists looking to enjoy themselves and have a memorable trip. Protect yourself by not only caring small amounts of money but also hiding it on your person in a non-obvious spot. A wallet full of money in a loose back pocket is the last place a tourist should ever keep their cash.

9. Pack Light

Baggage fees are a common source of traveler dissatisfaction with major airlines. Not only does packing light minimize costs when traveling it also makes it easier to haul your possessions as you move from location to location.

10. Learn Key Phrases

English is a common language spoken in many places throughout the world. That doesn't mean however you shouldn't learn some common phrases in the native language of places you visit. Important phrases like "Where is the bus station?" and "Please call the police" can come in handy should something happen.

11. Read Online Reviews

The Internet has made sharing information easier than ever and other tourists, especially those traveling alone, have probably visited where you're going and can provide advice. Local restaurants, tourist traps, public transportation and entertainment are all likely to have reviews from fellow travelers.

12. Research Public Transportation

If you're spending three weeks in a foreign country you are unlikely to rent a vehicle due to insurance issues and an unfamiliarity with the area. Do some planning ahead of time by researching various options for public transportation and by printing maps and pricing information. The more familiar you are with the ways to get around town, the more efficient you can be and more money you can save.

Image by: Raging Wire