• Tips for the Solo Traveler


    At the age of 29 I left my career and traveled around the world solo for two years. When I planned the trip, I assumed I would be alone, that it would be lots of hard work, and that at times I would be lonely. I was wrong on all counts. What I found was that traveling solo is very rewarding. There is a treasury of companionship out there, and just because you start alone doesn’t mean you’ll stay alone.

    For example, on a beach in Bali, I asked an American woman to watch my bag while I went swimming. After a short conversation, we became friends and explored the island together. We remain close friends to this day. Later, I met a Swiss woman on a plane to Delhi, and we ended up trekking together in the Himalayas. This voyage taught me that women connect easily when traveling and rely on each other for advice and companionship.

    Here are my travel-tested tips to make your journey more rewarding.

    Collect intelligence
    Do your research. Visit the destination tourist office sites online. Go to your public library and take out guidebooks and CD’s about the country, customs and history. It makes the experience richer and less disorienting. Read the consular information sheets for the countries you plan to visit. Research travel insurance and make a decision before you go.

    Stranger in a strange land
    Learn how to say “hello” and “thank you” in the local language. Even if your pronunciation is terrible, it makes a first good impression and opens you up to the people of the place you are visiting in a much greater way.

    Small is beautiful
    Spend time in small towns as well as big cities. Big cities are great for art, architecture and cuisine, but small towns give you a flavor of the country and its people. It is so much easier to meet people in small towns as they generally are more interested in foreigners and the pace is slower.

    Meet the locals
    For those of us who travel a lot, the most enduring memories are often of the people we meet along the way. Remember that hilarious waiter in Florence or Mary Murphy, the owner of the B&B in Ireland? The best way to connect with locals is to stay in their homes or to stay in small hotels, B&Bs or inns. The smaller the establishment, the better chance there is more of a communal feeling and less anonymity. To research local homestays, check out these organizations. 

    Wine & Dine Yourself
    Eating alone comfortably is a skill you will quickly develop. Choose a lively cafe or bistro with lots of people. Consider sitting at the counter and watch your food be prepared. Take along reading and writing material. Enjoy watching people and the fine art of eavesdropping. Again, use your smile to reach out and make contact with the diners around you. Your conversations with them may be the highlight of your evening.

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Non insurance services are provided by Travel Guard. 
This plan provides insurance coverage that only applies during the covered trip.
You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home, and automobile insurance policies. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer or insurance agent or broker. Coverage is offered by Travel Guard Group, Inc (Travel Guard). California lic. no.0B93606, 3300 Business Park Drive, Stevens Point, WI 54482, www.travelguard.com. CA DOI toll free number: 800-927-HELP. This is only a brief description of the coverage(s) available. The Policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. Insurance underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., a Pennsylvania insurance company, with its principal place of business at 175 Water Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10038. It is currently authorized to transact business in all states and the District of Columbia. NAIC No. 19445. Coverage may not be available in all states. Your travel retailer may not be licensed to sell insurance, and cannot answer technical questions about the benefits, exclusions, and conditions of this insurance and cannot evaluate the adequacy of your existing insurance. The purchase of travel insurance is not required in order to purchase any other product or service from the Travel Retailer.