As children, there is a particular satisfaction in being able to do things by ourselves. It might be the first time that you tied your shoelaces by yourself, or the first time you walked to school by yourself. The point is that you were able to do it all by yourself. When we become adults, we get used to doing some things by ourselves, and this is just how life goes. And yet there are some things you might feel a little odd about doing by yourself. Maybe it would feel strange to go out to a restaurant alone, or go to the movies alone, or take a holiday alone. But travelling by yourself can be a remarkable, even a life-changing experience. If you’re about to take the plunge and go to a foreign, exotic destination by yourself, there are a few things to know that might help you on your journey.
Single Occupancy Surcharge
It’s strange and seems a bit discriminatory, but many accommodation providers will still enforce a surcharge for single occupancy. This is generally laid out clearly when you actually make the booking, but it might not be the first advertised price. You might go by the advertised price when you’re budgeting your accommodation needs, but in the fine print it will specify that this rate is only available for double occupancy. Double check whether this is applicable, and proceed accordingly. Fortunately, it’s not something that occurs across the board and so you can avoid it without too much effort. Just use an accommodation aggregator website (which checks multiple websites and brings you the lowest price) while marking the single occupancy box in the search fields.
On the Plane
Airlines will also offer a variety of optional surcharges when booking, and one of these can be worth the cost. Automatic seat allocation when checking in online will often put a single traveller in the middle when it comes to a three seat configuration on the plane. This might not be an issue on short flights, but on longer flights you should pay the minimal extra cost to guarantee yourself a window or aisle seat.
Ride-Share Websites for Cheap Domestic Travel
There is no universal Uber type of thing for long journeys, but many countries have individual websites where drivers register their journey and look for anyone who might need to go in the same direction. This is an amazingly inexpensive method for domestic travel. You really only need to contribute some money for gas (or petrol, if your prefer) and it’s much easier to get a seat when you’re travelling alone. Personal safety is not generally a concern, but if you’re at all wary, look for a driver that has been registered with the platform for an extended period of time.
But while we’re on the matter of personal safety, your friends and family might be somewhat concerned at the prospect of you seeing the world by yourself. For their peace of mind (and indeed, it can be helpful for you too), you might want to arrange periodic check-ins with the folks at home. This might be as simple as texting your parents every few days, just so they know all is well.
A Secondary Source of Cash
If your cash and card are lost or stolen when you travel alone, it’s not as though you have a travelling companion to lend you money until you get everything sorted out. Contact your bank before you go and obtain a secondary credit or ATM card (if you don’t have one already). It can be linked to your bank account, as with the primary card. If the primary card goes missing, you will have an already activated secondary card to access your funds. Simply contact your bank to deactivate the primary card if the worst was to happen, and your secondary card is good to go.
Social Groups at Your Destination
You might like the idea of spending time in solitary reflection, and yet you maybe don’t want to be alone all the time when you travel. Social media is a great way to find social activities in your destination, and in cities with a large migrant population, it’s easy enough to find such activites in groups that will speak English. It just gives you the opportunity to have a night out at a bar or a sporting activity with others in a relaxed environment, so be sure to do a little hunting on facebook before you set out on your journey.
Maybe you still want some form of social interaction without making that much of an effort. A guided tour is a great way to achieve this. Whether it’s a pub crawl around Glasgow or a walking tour around Havana, you can spend an afternoon with other people without really having to arrange anything. It also gives you an added insight to your destination. At the end of the tour, maybe you will have made some new friends, or maybe you’ll be perfectly happy to get back to doing your own thing.
Believe in Yourself!
We don’t want this article to turn into some type of positive affirmation ‘You Can Do It’ kind of thing, but having confidence in your abilities is something to be mindful of when you travel alone. The thought of travelling to the other side of the planet all by yourself can be daunting, and yet it will be an enriching experience. Believe in yourself and your sensibilities and your general ability to make it in life, and you will have a fantastic time.