Solo travel is on the rise, with more and more people opting to go it alone than ever before, whether because they’re single, or they’re just wanting some ‘me time’.
The Travel at 60 community is home to many solo travellers who are constantly entertaining and inspiring us with their adventures. Who better to ask for some solo travel tips than these seasoned wanderers?
First up, packing tips. The most important message here was clear – pack light!
“Pack carry-on only” – Jacqueline L.
“Don’t take a heavy suitcase. You have to carry it yourself, into the loo, up stairs etc.” – Margaret M.
“Pack light and show confidence – a smile always goes a long way. Embrace the experience and enjoy.” – Rosemary L.
“Remember, you are going to have to carry what you pack, so pack light. Make sure you pack your sense of humour first, and make it the last thing you remove from your case.” – Pam H.
Read more: The solo traveller’s bible
When it comes to planning, preparation is key:
“Plan for the best. Prepare for the worst.” – June B.
“Be prepared, know where you are going – and when, and how.” – Dawn L.
“Research, and if doesn’t work, go to Plan B. If Plan B doesn’t work, make it up as you go. Some of the best experiences and sights come when you take the ‘wrong road’. Most of all, enjoy yourself.” – Carole L.
There were loads of great specific tips that every aspiring solo traveller should note:
“Talk to people and make sure they know you are Australian. There are some people who might think you are English or American and it can change their attitude to you as Australians are liked worldwide. Try to learn how to say hello at least in the language of your destination, but remember – you are the foreigner! Most of all, have a great time making your own decisions without having to compromise.” – Pam H.
“Get a business card from your hotel as soon as you arrive, because you will get lost at times. Thsi is even more important in a non-English-speaking place.” – Alan F.
“Take your time when you arrive at airports, don’t jump in first taxi; smile a lot; pre-book hotels and day tours from your hotel.” – Jenni D.
“Learn some of the language and keep a list of emergency contacts with you at all times. Before you leave, make sure you know the country codes for phoning locally and home to Australia. Also, make sure your contacts at home know the country codes required should they need to contact you overseas, and give them a list of places you’re staying at and their phone numbers. I know everyone has mobile phones, but they can’t always be charged, depending on where you’re staying.” – Carey M.
“When you arrive at new destination, walk around as though you own the place – or at least as you would back home. Dress down so as to look poor rather than wearing your best. Nothing will attract the worst locals more than looking rich. Also think and act local. Blend in.” – Alan F.
Making friends on the road was also a theme – whether travelling in a group or just being sociable while going it alone:
“Enjoy the unexpected and use share tables – people will welcome you to share your story.” – Rose B.
“Take the road less travelled and don’t be afraid to be the first to speak – everyone loves to speak about themselves and their country, you just have to ask.” – Christine L.
“Be friendly to locals and be sociable with others if you’re travelling on a tour. If you’re away for a longish time, particularly if it’s the first time, take something to minimise homesickness (I had Vegemite each morning and that worked, but the smell of eucalypts north of San Francisco had me going).” – Doug M.
“Go with a tour group and make yourself known. People will look out for you and include you.” – Sheridan T.
“Spread yourself around the group socially.” – Pip B.
But mostly, Travel at 60 solo travellers just tried to get across how incredible the experience of exploring the world on your own really is:
“Have no expectations – then enjoy the adventure of whatever comes your way.” – Lorraine P.
“Don’t be afraid or fearful. Enjoy it all.” – Raewyn M.
“Remember that you can’t get lost – you have just found something that wasn’t on your list.” – Pam H.
“There are no wrong roads. Turn down any you like. You have only yourself to please. Love solo travel!” – Gayle M.
“I’d tell you how to get to some of the most wonderful sights solo, but I don’t know where the hell I was most of the time and it matters not. Lol. My best advice… Jump off that edge. The more you think, the more problems you’ll create. Just prepare as if you’re going with someone, then go. After the first time you won’t understand why you waited so long.” – Glenn C.
“Nike. Just do it!” – Alan F.