Jeff Bartel is an experienced traveler who has spent time all around the world. He is also the owner of A Global Perspective travel agency, where he helps others put together their dream vacations. Despite the fun of heading out on a trip with family members or friends, Jeff also sees value in taking in a new place alone. For those who are getting ready to embark on their next solo travel adventure, Jeff advises using caution and keeping safety in mind.
Solo travel provides a boost of self-confidence that many people find liberating. A vacationer can only rely on their own instincts and guidance from locals to get around, and must become resourceful in order to enjoy the trip. Though part of the adventure comes in handling unexpected situations, heading into a solo trip well-prepared is important.
Booking flights, transportation, and accommodations in advance allows a vacationer to alert family and friends about their plans, thus making both groups feel more comfortable with the experience. Prior to departing for a trip alone, a traveler should print out their itinerary, specifying where they will be during each portion for the trip. It is also wise for this individual to provide contact numbers for hotels, in case cell phones fail to work. This way, in the event of an emergency, loved ones can provide assistance to the vacationer.
In order to take some of the stress out of traveling, it is wise to arrange for transportation from the airport ahead of time. Many vacationers arrive feeling jet-lagged and unsure of their surroundings. Setting up a taxi or shuttle from the airport to the hotel helps to make the arrival easy, even if the person feels tired and unsure about how to proceed.
Jeff Bartel agrees with this piece of advice stating, “Traveling is tiring and can quickly feel overwhelming, particularly when the individual is arriving in an unfamiliar place where they may not speak the language. To make the first portion of the trip easier, it is advisable to pre-arrange transportation with a reputable service. This way, it is easy to get to the hotel, get some rest, and begin exploring.”
However, some degree of flexibility is important when heading out for a trip alone. In some cases, a traveler will hear about a brand new hotel that they want to try or a new museum that they want to visit. While sticking with a pre-planned itinerary helps to provide structure for the trip, going with the flow is also useful.
For safety purposes, planning arrival times carefully is important. Trying to navigate around a new city after a nighttime arrival is more dangerous for obvious safety reasons, but it also proves more difficult simply because it becomes a challenge to read street signs and find hard-to-spot buildings. To avoid this situation, planning a daytime arrival is advisable. This makes it easier to get situated, get a taxi, and locate a hotel.
Jeff Bartel states, “A daytime arrival can prove very useful for a traveler in a foreign country. Think about how much harder it is to navigate your own, familiar neighborhood at night. In order to get comfortable more quickly, a vacationer should plan to land in the new place during daylight hours. They should also have a plan in place in case these arrangements get delayed.”
When heading to a new location, obvious differences are quickly apparent. The language, look of the city, and food will be drastically different from what the traveler is used to. However, small details will also change, and require respect on the part of the vacationer. Prior to heading off on a journey, a solo traveler should take some time to research the local culture. They must learn what kind of attire is acceptable, understand appropriate mannerisms, and find out about other (often unwritten) cultural rules that will allow them to blend in and respect that place and its people. As a general rule, casual and conservative clothing is the best option. Skin-tight attire and flashy jewelry should be left at home.
Bartel notes, “The items we wouldn’t think twice about wearing in America are often too conspicuous for travel in other countries. Whether it’s an eye-catching watch or a low-cut top, these choices can prove offensive to people in other places, and may make the vacationer a target of theft. It is always best to leave outfits and items that are made to impress at home. Taking on a low-key appearance during travel can help to keep the individual comfortable, and also minimizes risk of theft.”
For those who are looking to find out about the “must see” spots in that area, it is often wise to befriend the hotel staff. They can offer insight into the best restaurants, and may even help the traveler snag a reservation at an exclusive eatery. In addition to this, the staff will take note of when the vacationer arrives and leaves, and may be able to help should they notice that something doesn’t seem right.
When it comes to personal safety though, ultimately the person taking the trip is responsible for their own well-being. This means that the vacationer must remain aware of their surroundings at all times, and should trust their instincts. Should they find themselves in a situation that makes them feel uncomfortable, even if they can’t specify the reason, it is wise to quickly move on. If it is dark outside, grabbing a taxi is the best choice. Remaining alert and aware is an important part of staying safe during trips, with or without travel companions.
Jeff Bartel encourages solo travelers to enjoy the experience and tackle their “to do” lists, while always staying alert for possible danger.
Jeff Bartel is the owner of A Global Perspective travel agency, a business that helps to plan family vacations, destination weddings, business travel, and other types of trips. He has served clients for 12 years, and has established a number of professional relationships with hotels, restaurants, and cruise lines around the world. No matter what the vacationer’s budget or expectations, Jeff is able to deliver. Jeff is an avid traveler himself, and is passionate about experiencing other countries and cultures first-hand.