Traveling Solo – Scary or Liberating

As published in The Florida Villager

Whether you are traveling solo just to get away by yourself or because you can’t find a traveling companion, the thought can evoke panic but at the same time a smile of anticipation and excitement crosses your face. It is a rite of passage in sorts. You are embarking on your own walk about and when you return back home, you will feel liberated and have found a new confidence within you.

I’m always quite surprised when I hear women say that they have never traveled alone nor would they. Ladies, traveling solo can be scary if you have never done it but it offers so many positives. For starters, being with your own company lends itself to self-reflection. Also, you can do and see what you want when you want without feeling guilty of not pleasing someone else. So, grab that book, a hammock, no clock and enjoy!

“Wouldn’t it be a better experience doing it with someone?” Uh…not really. I love traveling with me, myself and I, as it offers no distractions. When I am by myself it seems I am more focused on my surroundings and become more engaging with the locals. Too many chefs in the kitchen can be burdensome. When I travel with others, it’s always in the back of my mind to be aware of their likes and dislikes, their schedule and let’s not forget our traveling companion’s moods. Nothing puts a damper on a trip more than someone who is not happy about something. Check, please!

So, let’s talk about some of the concerns of a solo traveler and things that I have learned over multiple solo trips.

  1. Due your due diligence when it comes to solo traveling websites       and hotels. Look at reviews and make sure the hotels are in a safe, well-trafficked location.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings, never leave anywhere with someone you just met no matter how nice they seem. Ted Bundy was a well-dressed, polite law student.
  3. Don’t tell people you meet where you are staying.
  4. Stay in contact with family and friends back home and make sure someone has your itinerary including phone numbers.
  1. Lock your valuables up in the room safe, it’s provided for a   reason.
  2. Have a copy of your driver’s license and passport with you and keep the originals in the room safe.
  3. Make sure you have enough cash and don’t carry it all with you. Again, the safe.
  4. Arrive during the light of day. You will feel safer and be able to get a better foothold on your surroundings. On that note, make sure you have reservations. It’s awesome to    be spontaneous, but it’s even more awesome to have a nice, safe  place to lay your head.

9. This next one sounds paranoid but it really is a good move. Leave a note in your hotel room each time you eave stating where you are  going and with whom.

  1. No need to bring that big Liz Taylor diamond. Keep bling to a minimum.
  1. Nothing yells a sense of security more than knowing you can “phone home” at anytime. Check with your service provider to set this up.
  1. Keep your wits about you, so monitor your drinking.
  2. Trust your gut! If something or someone doesn’t feel right, move on.

Sure, traveling sans companion can be awkward and even lonely at times but once you break through that initial fear and do it anyway, there is a big beautiful world out there just waiting for you.

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