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  1. Top ten tips for solo travel newbies

    posted by Guest Blogger - Janice Waugh | 0 Comments

    Sep122013

    In her latest guest post Janice Waugh, author of The Solo Traveler’s Handbook, tells us her top ten tips for those who are travelling solo for the first time. Janice speaks regularly on solo travel and has been the go-to person on the subject for CNN, the Oprah Blog, the LA Times and more. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and like the Solo Travel Society on Facebook.

    Some people don’t give the idea of taking off solo for the first time a second thought. But others angst over the notion. They’re haunted by questions that start with “how can I” and “what if”. Let’s put some of those questions to rest with these ten tips.

    1. Some simple planning is necessary

    You don’t need to plan every detail or even every night’s accommodation but you do need to book your first night. As a solo traveler, you need a safe place to land upon arrival.

    2. Choose a destination that matches your travel experience

    India may be at the top of your bucket list but it’s not likely the best destination for your first solo trip. However, if you’ve traveled through Asia before, it just may be. Evaluate your travel skills and experience then choose a destination that suits them.

    3. Schedule to arrive no later than mid afternoon

    Arriving after dark makes any location look more intimidating. Arriving late in the day makes it difficult to change your accommodation if you realize that it wasn’t a great choice. Read the hostel reviews to minimize this possibility but also arrive early so that you can fix a mistake.

    4. Take pause and give yourself time to settle in

    Even after traveling solo for years, I still find the first day in a new city a bit awkward – especially large cities. Plan something to do that first day but give yourself 24 hours to settle in and get comfortable with a new city.

    5. Secure your money, your documents and your stuff

    Make sure you have a padlock, a money belt of sorts (I prefer a pouch that hangs around my neck and under my clothes.) and a couple of places to stash cash. The padlock is used to secure your locker in the hostel dorm. The money belt is for keeping your documents safe at all times. Distribute your money and credit cards between at least two locations. You can also roll a few bills up in a pill bottle with a couple of pills inside. If someone does rifle through your backpack, they likely won’t take your Tylenol.

    6. Slow down

    It’s a common newbie mistake to take on too much in too little time. Slow down and really enjoy a destination. When planning, don’t forget that there are travel days between destinations that eat up your time. I try to schedule at least three days per location – sometimes four – which includes travel days. How much time I actually spend in each is determined by what it has to offer.

    7. Stay flexible for those insider tips

    You’ll learn lots from others at the hostel. Even if you know what you want to do at a destination, stay flexible so that you can take advantage of the great tips that will come your way.

    8. Stay safe

    Solo travellers are responsible for their own safety. Safety is a big subject that could take a thousand words alone but, basically, you should follow your instincts and the safety rules you use at home. Have emergency numbers and the details of where you’re staying on you. Stay sober so that you have your wits about you. Be selective about who you spend your time with and where.

    9. Take photos of yourself

    Don’t be shy. Stretch your arm out, turn the camera to face you and take a pic of yourself with a big smile. Or ask someone else to take your photo for you. Your friends and family will be far more interested in looking at your travel pics if they include a few photos of you.

    Enjoy yourself

    There are thousands of tidbits of advice that could be given but really, a bit of common sense and a big smile is what’s really needed for a great time.

    You can read more great advice for solo travelers from Janice here and here.
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