Whether you’re a lone wolf at heart or looking to broaden your sense of independence, traveling solo can be a richly empowering and satisfying experience.
Setting out on your own has many practical advantages. You’re not worrying about accommodating another’s schedule, interest or needs, and you’re free to decide what you want to do and when. Solo travel also elicits some mental and emotional benefits, as you experience a unique sense of freedom and self-sufficiency.
If you’re considering a solo journey, these tips from the book 101+ Tips for Solo Women Travelers, offer some great hacks. The book is available free to download.
Make sure your passport is updated: Sure, you can use your Maltese ID card if you’re staying in Europe, but having an official passport can be easier when you’re alone. Some countries do take quite a bit of peering before they recognise our good old identity card.
Look for trips with no single supplement: Often, quoted rates are per person, based on double occupancy. This is because travel hosts know they can make more from a couple travelling than an individual. You can avoid paying a single supplement premium by being willing to match with a roommate or traveling with a tour company or cruise line with free or low-cost single supplement fees.
Use a bank ATM: As an affordable and convenient way to get cash, you can avoid wasting time in line at a bank or currency exchange bureau by visiting an official bank ATM. While you’ll likely incur a fee for using an ATM that’s not part of the Maltese banking network, it is often less than the commission you’d pay at an exchange bureau. Plus, you can avoid additional fees by calculating how much you’ll need for the trip and making one withdrawal as opposed to multiple smaller withdrawals.
Download entertainment before you leave: When traveling, Wi-Fi can be expensive, slow or just not available. Before you leave, download music, e-books, podcasts, favourite tv shows or movies to enjoy while you’re en route or during down time.
Join group tours: Once you reach your destination, you may enjoy joining small groups for excursions or to explore local cuisine. Or you can make your entire journey a group experience. A small group adventure with a company like Overseas Adventure Travel has many benefits, and built-in dining companions is just one of them.
Be smart when staying alone at a hotel: When you check in, ask the receptionist to write your room number down instead of announcing it so everyone can hear. Make sure your room’s locks work on both the door into the hallway and the balcony. Never let any repair person or staff member into your room without confirming with the front desk first. Bring a rubber doorstop, which makes a hotel room door nearly impossible to open. Finally, have an exit plan: know where the nearest exit is located and the route from your room.
Make new friends: For some, making friends seems to happen naturally while travelling alone by chatting with strangers at a neighbouring restaurant table or striking up a conversation while waiting in line at a store. If those situations don’t occur naturally, there are useful apps that can connect you with local people as well as fellow travelers.