Travelers’ Night In — Solo Travel!
On this week’s round of Travelers’ Night In, the interactive Twitter discussion for avid travelers and travel lovers, we focused on solo travel! As always, ten questions were asked, people responded while tagging their tweets #TNI, and learned quite a bit about some new destinations!
Q1. Why do (or don’t) you travel solo?
camdenluxford Because I’m addicted to the freedom, the exhilaration and the irresponsibility.
LaTorretta Solo travel is a great way to reconnect w/yourself
raelinn_wine wake up when I want, go where I want, eat what I want when I want, go to bed when I want. and yes.. I am an only child. heh heh…
TripStyler Did it once in Paris, but when I saw people kissing everywhere, I thought, to hell with this
candicewalsh I travel solo because none of my friends have jobs. Really, that’s it.
I travel solo because I love the FREEDOM! Whatever I want to do, no matter how weird, I can do it! It’s also easy to meet cute guys when you’re a girl traveling alone…
Jardin des Tuileries, Paris
Q2. What hotels, hostels, or homes are the most “solo traveler friendly?”
mobilelawyer NO doubt hostels are the best. Almost force you to meet people. The ONLY way to solo travel, I think.
AlisonBing B&Bs tend to fuss over solo travelers – ideal for safety and sociability, less so for privacy & adventure.
theexplorateur Places that have 24.hr manned front desks, phones (that work!) – w/budget in mind, love the boutique htls in Buenos Aires!
camdenluxford Ringo’s Foyer Malaka, Malaysia, amazing. Owner practically forces everyone 2 have dinner together
joanna_haugen Burning Man is the most solo-friendly place. Easy to instantly find community or go it alone.
Party hostels! Or just social hostels. A hostel with a bar or a good common area.
Funny Farm, Interlaken, Switzerland, 2004
Q3. What’s the best way to enjoy nightlife while solo traveling?
redhunttravel Find a local bar, grab a seat and people will find you. Get out and things will happen
LandLopers Free local concerts is a great tip
colmhanratty Organised pub crawls are a good way to meet people. Hard not to talk to people after 6 funnels of beer
MaraBegley Go Salsa dancing. It’s like playing pick up bball. Just show up & someone will ask u to dance. I did this once in Vienna. So fun!
travelingsavage “Accidentally” spill drinks on people, then offer to wash their clothes
Meet up with local couchsurfers! They’ll take you to the good places.
A double couchsurfing birthday party in San Telmo, Buenos Aires
Q4. Worst solo travel experience?
nctaylor Being stuck in Crete. Everything was closed and there were no hostels around. Broke down!
TravelsceneUSA Overnight train Italy to Spain. Nice safe man turns into knife wielding maniac protecting me from crazy people on train.
theexplorateur Getting asked out my entire meal by the French waiter making my fondue & dripping sweat into it. Attractive.
groundedtravelr Not knowing German & being yelled at by guard bc I wandered into an apparent prison.
lax2nrt I’m pretty sure I was mistaken for an “escort” a swanky bar in Paris once. But at least it’s a good story.
My first day on my first solo trip. My first day in Buenos Aires. My first day in SOUTH AMERICA — and I got pickpocketed. EVERYTHING but my passport was gone. (I’ll be writing about that incident on the blog sometime.)
Q5. Best places to visit while solo traveling? Worst?
SaraKateTravel A lot of larger cities in Europe r good 4 solo travel because of the easy mobility & all the backpackers you can find to chat up!
radioceleste Tahiti pensions r gr8-impossible not 2make friends. Honeymoon resorts r worst bcse U feel like a loveless looser!
Kcom Chicago is also a great solo town! Mid West friendly, lots of shopping, museums, restos, nightlife…
CoTravelGirl Worst solo spot: Morocco. Gorgeous, but never felt totally safe. Definitely a place to explore with friends.
WeekendInParis Best solo – Boston Irish pub or sports bars near Quincy Market – friendly people where everyone WILL know your name by night’s end
Paris, I think, is the place where I enjoy being alone the most. It’s tailored quite well for people who enjoy spending time by themselves, whether tourists or locals. You also can’t go wrong with nearly any city in Europe! And yes, I include Morocco when talking about Europe — go for flights to Marrakech to find a great solo travel destination.
Q6. How do you meet people while solo traveling?
lori1329 Struggle to take those awkward self photos & someone will always offer to take it of you and strike convo. Eat the bar for dinner.
budgettravelsac Festivals are a great way to meet ppl. Everyone is out and drinking and in a good mood!
wanderproject Reaching out to friends: I’ve found that i’m only about three degrees of separation from “knowing someone” anywhere in the world.
candicewalsh Lots of suggestive eyelash batting.
DavidLaHuta Booze, what else?
Once again…couchsurfing. Join the couchsurfing group in the city that you plan to visit. Many cities have great communities and events taking place every night. I actually went to a Thanksgiving party in Buenos Aires with Argentines, Colombians, Ecuadorians, Swedes and a few other Yanks!
Pictured: Swedish Seaman, Argentine Belle, me, Californian Christian and Argentine Romy!
Q7. How do you deal with culture shock/loneliness while solo traveling?
CailinONeil I go to McDonalds !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! works everytime!
Action_JoJo For lonely, I journal, call home & force myself 2meet new ppl
DXSMac when you travel in an RV, you can have a pet. I have a cat. He is good company
chic_travel Go shopping! Buy yourself something to bring home
candicewalsh Drink. Often.
I like to wallow when I’m feeling upset, even when I’m lonely. Some time alone always does me good. Chatting with family or friends helps, too!
Q8. Best lesson learned while traveling solo?
WomensJourneys It will open your eyes to a whole new world you won’t see otherwise
kasiainparis YOU are your own best friend
JuliaConey Always carry the hotel’s business card with you.
dchymko Border agents/guards always have the final say!
eat_your_world Simply, that you’re capable.
Always hide money in lots of different places in your luggage, and an extra credit card, too, if you have one. Nobody will be there to back you up, so you need to take extra, extra caution.
Q9. How do you stay safe while traveling solo?
TravelsceneUSA Wear Sunscreen. Nothing says vulnerable tourist louder than sunburn
NewYorkGuest Also, in certain places only ride in marked cabs called to the hotel by the front desk. Never get in a gypsy cab.
cfinjer Befriend large, strong locals. Māori culture especially handy here.
Jaguardman Carry little cash, no flashy stuff, don’t walk alone after dark, stay in better ‘hoods.
GlobeDiva I listen to and trust my instincts. If I start feeling a “bad vibe” about someplace or someone, I hightail it out of there!
I’ll stay in a safe-but-boring neighborhood over an edgy-trendy-and-slightly-dangerous neighborhood. That’s especially important for women traveling alone.
Pictured: the very safe neighborhood of Palermo Viejo, Buenos Aires, which I chose over edgy San Telmo.
Q10. Best tips for someone planning a solo travel trip?
travelingpam Remember that solo travel is your chance to break out of any habits – be anyone – no one will know!
wanderproject Don’t over-plan—Take advantage of flexibility that comes with traveling solo.
TravelMuse Give a family member or close friend an itinerary just in case
lax2nrt First time solo travelers should also follow a passion or a hobby. It’s a great way to get your feet wet.
TravelEditor Short version: just do it!
Bring Cipro (Ciprofloxacin — a broad antibiotic). Even if you’re visiting a country where you can buy it over the counter, make sure you have some on you, just in case!
And that’s the week!