Once you leave on a solo travel adventure, you’ll soon discover that this amazing experience is a chance to grow in many aspects. However, you have to pay attention to how you solo travel. To go on the best solo vacations, you’ll have to plan ahead and take some precautions. After that, you will be able to enjoy a memorable and positive holiday that you will happily remember for the rest of your life.
Below, you will discover the most common solo travel mistakes. Many travelers have made these mistakes and had to learn the hard way about them. Save yourself the hassle and learn to avoid them!
Leaving unprepared for solo travel
This is probably the worst mistake to ignore when you travel solo. When you’re with friends, leaving without preparing isn’t as dangerous, because you can count on each other. But when you solo travel, all you’ve got is yourself.
So try to consider every detail of your future trip alone. Try to come up with everything that can go wrong. Then, think about what you will do to overcome those situations. Here are some specific things to consider:
- What will you do if your credit/debit card gets stolen? Or what if somebody steals your passport?
Keep a copy of your important documents separate from the originals, to have in case the real ones get stolen. Prepare a list of emergency numbers, and include the phone numbers of your country’s embassy and your bank. And always take a bit more money with you than you think you need, to use in case of emergencies.
- What happens if you hurt yourself or become ill during your solo vacation?
Pack a first-aid kit and make sure to also bring medicine for the most common affections that can occur to travelers. Do research on what health problems travelers may face in that specific destination and prepare accordingly (e.g. vaccines, malaria prevention pills, etc.)
- What if I can’t find accommodation?
Always book your accommodation (at least a few days) in advance, to avoid arriving at the destination without knowing where you’ll spend the night.
Arriving during the night at your travel destination
When searching for flights, most of us tend to look for those who are at a comfortable time of day. The best choice, however, is to look for those flights that allow you to reach your travel destination early. That’s why you should choose to fly by night and arrive during the day, instead of flying by day and arriving during the night.
If you reach your destination while the sun is still up, you will have plenty of time to familiarise yourself with the surrounding area before sundown, when everything is closing.
Not keeping in touch with friends or family
You shouldn’t be the only one to know about your solo travel itinerary. Give a daily call to a friend or family member from back home. In case something goes wrong and you don’t check-in at your regular time and you don’t answer your phone either, that person can ring the alarm. This would be your safety net if something bad happens.
Therefore, make sure you let your person know where you’re heading to and with whom. If you go on the road with a friend you made along the way, mention this to your safety checker. Even better, send them a photo of that person when you tell them where you’re going. To unsuspiciously take that photo, propose a “group selfie“. 😉
Getting distracted while you solo travel
When you travel to a new destination, you will discover lots of things to grab your attention. However, don’t get blindsided by your discoveries and remain vigilant. Focus on where you are going and who/what is around you.
There are many scams out there, especially in crowded cities popular with tourists, so do your best to be cautious at all times. This constant vigil will help you keep yourself and your belongings safe.
Having a drink too many
You’re on holiday so it’s perfectly fine to have a drink or two. However, when you solo travel it really isn’t the best time to test your limits. You are alone and have to fend for yourself in case you risk something bad happening to you. Avoid putting yourself in such a vulnerable position and stop drinking before you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation.
And don’t even think about trying any illegal substances. You have no control over the quality, and you may end up in a situation where you can be taken advantage of. In some countries, you also risk getting arrested.
Being too concerned about other people’s feelings
When you solo travel, it’s good to be nice, open, polite, even friendly. But never do this at all costs. Sometimes you may end up feeling uncomfortable because of a certain person or a particular situation you’re in. Don’t be afraid to say no and to be more assertive than usual during your solo vacation. Think about your safety before you start considering other people’s feelings.
Not researching local culture
You can take all the precautions above to stay safe when you solo travel. Sorry to tell you this, but that doesn’t mean you’re all set and your solo trip will be a success. That’s because one of the biggest mistakes travelers make is not researching the local culture of the place they’re visiting. They end up offending locals who, in turn, aren’t the friendly, welcoming people mentioned in travel inspiration articles found on the web. And once the holiday alone is over, they leave slightly disappointed by the overall experience, even if the rest of their solo trip went great.
When you plan to solo travel to any country, keep in mind that you are the visitor. Every part of the world sees what is acceptable and what isn’t in a different way. Things that you may never question at home may be considered offensive or even a crime in other countries. So, before you leave, take time to learn about local customs and, if necessary, adjust your behavior and appearance accordingly during your stay.
Not learning a few key phrases in the local language
Yes, this applies even if you solo travel in a country with lots and lots of English speakers. Not everyone who lives in that country knows English, and you may find yourself in need to communicate somehow with them, too.
Always assume you need to know a few common words and phrases in that country’s official language. Besides hello, please, excuse me, and thank you, you should also learn I need help, Do you speak English? and where are the toilets?.
When you travel alone, being able to communicate with others can help you escape potentially dangerous or embarrassing situations.
Solo travel is adventurous by nature. It’s also the best way to travel for many people. If you wish to join their club, always be prepared and ready to act in case of an emergency. Avoid these 8 solo travel mistakes to enjoy a smooth solo vacation!
You should also read these articles on The Travel Bunny blog
Why traveling alone can be a life-changing experience
What are the pros and cons of traveling solo?
The 6 best destinations to travel alone