Most travel alone for business. Few are fortunate to win in a contest but unfortunate to get a roundtrip ticket only for themselves.
If you find yourself in any of these situations, don’t fret just yet. Look into the nuances of seemingly boring or lonesome situations and you’ll find fun. This might be your chance to explore new grounds with new-found friends and travel companions.
- Share a seat, win a friend. Avoid putting your bag on the seat beside you as this may send signals that you want to be alone.
- Smile – it’s contagious and it’s the best expression you wear. A sincere and friendly smile disarms barriers, even borders.
- Make an effort. Maintaining eye contact, asking questions, stating a comment or simply asking someone to look after your seat can spark a conversation which may lead to new friendships.
- When you travel alone, bring a camera that has a self-timer so you can include yourself in some of the photos.
- An interesting book and and an ipod can be good companions. But of course, nothing beats human interaction, so don’t get too absorbed while reading. Occasionally look up and glance at the people around you. When aboard the train or bus, words and pictures are not enough to describe the captivating views and sceneries, so put down the book (yes, even a good one) and immerse in the beauty around you.
For women traveling alone, meeting people is not a problem because women connect easily. But safety could be. So, here are some tips for women traveling to countries where gender discrimination or security is a concern.
- Save your Embassy/ Consular Office address and contact numbers as well as the local police and taxi company numbers on your mobile phone.
- Set an emergency number on your mobile’s quick dial.
- Inform the hotel reception or your business colleague where you’re going. Communicate with your family or friends and inform them of your itenerary or comings and goings.
- Learn basic self defense.
- A small bottle of perfume can be a handy substitute for teargas.
- If you’re in a partying mood, book at a hotel near party places or party right at your hotel’s bar – it’s just an elevator away.
- If you prefer to party elsewhere, call for a cab from a reputable taxi company or send the taxi’s plate number via sms to someone you know. If you’re taking public transportation, check the schedule of the last trip so you won’t miss it.
- If you have to walk, stay in well lit areas. If there’s someone walking ahead of you, catch up and make it look like you have a companion.
- Be alert.
- Stay sober. Drink water before and after you drink alcoholic beverages. Know your tolerance level and respect your limits. When a drink is offered, be cautious.
- Blend in. Dress inconspicuously and appropriately. If you’re wearing a sexy dress which will attract attention, bring a jacket or a shawl. Avoid looking like a tourist.
Home alone turned out to be a fun and adventuresome movie. So, can your solo sojourn! Traveling alone means traveling at your own pace and getting to new places with new faces. If you want to travel two for the road, finding and bumping into a travel companion can be an adventure in itself. Happy hunting!
Photo by Ores2k