Travelling alone? You won’t be for long with our 15 tips
It seems the most common reason that people sacrifice their dream of travelling is that they don’t want to go alone. Yes, it is scary and yes, you may sometimes feel uneasy, especially when you’re dining in a restaurant alone, and yes, you will probably feel vulnerable, don’t let these concerns put you off. In fact, I have always found travelling with someone else a hindrance. This is because when I travel with other people I tend to stay with them, but when I’m on my own I make a more concerted effort to meet other people. Still, be selective and wary of strangers. If you are worried about travelling alone, here are some tips:
- Look approachable. How? Smile at other travellers, let them know you don’t mind being distracted from staring out that window or reading that book.
- Don’t feel self-conscious about speaking to the person sitting next to you on the plane, train or bus, because you might just make a friend. If you do make a fool of yourself, who cares? You will probably never see them again.
- On arrival at your destination and throughout your travels stay at hostels as these are full of travellers/students, many of them on their own and looking for friends. I highly recommend booking through HostelWorld, I have used their booking engine many times.
- Ask that room mate what they are doing for their next meal. Maybe you could catch a cheap bite together, or say you want to see a particular sight: Have you seen it? Do you want to come?
- Join in activities at the hostels, like the weekly barbecue or even watching TV—someone just might be watching their favourite show which could be yours as well. Discuss what’s happening during the ads.
- Book an organised tour. Most tour companies are happy for singles to book on their tours. Try companies such as Contiki. I have been on a number of Contiki tours and even met my partner on one.
- When you’re travelling follow the popular backpacker routes and when you get your confidence up, explore further afield.
- If you don’t have transport consider car pools.
- Sometimes employment agencies have get-togethers for their temps; go along and meet other temps.
- If you’re asked to join in a social activity at work, join in.
- If someone has given you the phone number of a friend of a friend of a friend, give them a call. You have nothing to lose.
- Do you know of someone at home who hasn’t seen their relatives in years? Offer to pay their family a visit to pass on the latest news. They in turn might pass on rips about finding accommodation or job opportunities. They could even offer to put you up, or a free meal.
- Join a sporting team or club: cricket, soccer, basketball, netball, Rugby League, Rugby Union, AFL, tennis, sailing, etc.
- Take up an outdoor activity: learn to surf, scuba dive or sail, other people will be learning also.
- If you don’t want to eat in restaurants alone choose fast food eateries like McDonald’s where other people eat alone, or go to a food hall in a shopping centre.
So get up and go, even if it is by yourself, because you won’t be by yourself for long. And you’ll regret it if you don’t do it.
About the Author: Sharyn McCullum first went overseas on her own for a working holiday in London. She went on tours such as with Contiki (and met her partner) and stayed in hostels to meet other like-minded people. Even though she is now based in Melbourne she keeps in contact with all the friends she made while travelling. She is currently updating her series of working holiday guides. Check them out on her website www.liveworkplaytravel.com.