1 Apr 2013

Pst! Paranoid Solo Traveller (A is for .....ATTITUDE!)

A month ago I came up with a theme for this challenge, and then I decided that I wouldn't do it, and then yesterday I was in panic mode and came up with an alternate idea until at the last moment I decided I didn't like it!

So here we are back to square one with my original theme:

Paranoid Solo Traveller

Although it is going to be tips and tricks for the paranoid solo traveller they are all relevant to anyone travelling.

I have been regaining my independence lately and travelling solo has been a big part of that for me. I don't have a problem with travelling with others and I still go away with family once a year, but friends tend to have partners, children and commitments. This leaves me with limited options, wait indefinitely, travel alone or don't travel at all.

Now, I refuse to be held hostage by such (the stubborn mule-like tendencies begin to show) and I prefer to travel than to not to just because I am single. It doesnt stop me from worrying incessantly about every last detail of a trip. I do worry and I plan meticulously before I go but as soon as I board that first plane, train, bus etc. my attitude changes to a whatever happens happens and little miss practical is ready for action. I do still worry about travelling alone and every 'what if' scenario runs through my head but once I  adopt my new persona of confident-independent-woman-who-does-this-all-the-time and basically get on with enjoying my holiday.

So without further ado..... 

A is for Attitude!

This is the most important thing to remember when travelling  either solo or with others.  Once you are on your travels you should adopt an attitude, not a bad one, but an attitude of complete confidence (even if you aren't feeling it) and total ease in the situation. Any fear or worry you have needs to be pushed under the carpet and addressed some other time when it is not going to prevent you from getting the most from your holiday.

In particular, when walking in a new city with this mental attitude, always act like you are comfortable where you are, no need to look lost, or stand out completely as a traveller. As a woman travelling alone I find this helps me to look less like a potential victim of crime. I have been lucky on that front and never experienced any even when I have been in situations where it could have occurred.

If I am walking somewhere new I make sure I have checked out my route many a time before I set off and whilst still remaining aware of my surroundings I walk confidently and purposefully to my destination. A real indication that I am getting good at this, is the fact that I have never been anywhere where someone hasn't asked me for directions. My last trip was to Paris, Madrid, Algeciras & Morocco and I was asked for directions in all of them and even twice in Paris. It was my first time to any of those places.

Another trick is to take a good small map, I personally, think that the pop-up series of maps are a godsend. They are small, have the relevant tourist spot, restaurants, transportation points, the metro/subway/tube map also provided and are very clear and easy to read. If I do get lost, I act like a tourist who is completely lost, I make sure I do this in a busy area and that way some kind person may offer to help me. It is the complete opposite to the first piece of advice but I think it is just as useful. If you do get lost, ask in a shop, although this can't guarantee that the person will know where you are looking for; as I experienced in London.

Other things to remember, always be easy to smile, be confident in yourself and if you are uncomfortable eating out, act like you are waiting for someone. This is one of the hurdles that I struggle with and we will re-visit but I have been grateful for wifi and social media sites in order to not be totally alone.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope to see you tomorrow! Don't forget to check out some of the other blogs taking part by clicking here.

Tomorrow: Baggage - too much or not enough, finding a balance.

Check out my other A to Z posts here.


  1. I always feel quite chuffed with myself when I'm on holiday and someone asks me for directions... of course, they may have been asking me for my money but I wouldn't know as I don't speak the language.
    Looking forward to seeing what else you come up with. :-)

    1. I never thought of that! They could have been and I just smiled, shrugged, laughed and walked on! Come to think of it...I had thought it odd when one approached me wearing a ski mask and carrying utensils...I just thought he was feeling the chill in Morocco....hmmm...;)

  2. What a great post! So excited you are doing the challenge! It's my first year and am looking forward to all the wonderful posts from everyone! I'll be coming back often! :)

    1. Thanks Jessica, slightly different look at travel.

  3. For probably the past 15 to 20 years, I've only travelled to one place, solo or otherwise (and I'll give you three guesses where!). I totally agree with the attitude (although that's not hard for me considering I know that place like the back of my hand) and to at least look like you know what you're doing...plus, keeping your head up makes you aware of the people who look like they are totally lost and helps you avoid them! HA!

    The more technology advances, the more easy I find it to use my phone rather than a map. Most phones have GPS and can tell you exactly where you are and where you want to go (Google Maps is brilliant!).

    OOOOOHHHH! I can't wait for "B"! That's a really big issue in our family!

    1. haha! I shall be looking forward to your comments :D

  4. Hi Kate - So glad I found your blog via the AtoZ challenge as I've been meaning to travel solo but have yet to find the courage to do so. I am indeed potentially a paranoid solo traveller so I will be looking forward to your posts this month :)

    1. Cowardice rears its ugly head each time I go but I never regret it and each time it gets easier...I promise! If you have any questions, feel free to ask them even if I havent covered them in the posts. I always struggle to find the answers to my very odd questions and wish I could ask someone - so feel free! lol! and welcome :D

  5. I would call myself an avid solo traveler and your right. You have to have the right attitude about it. There is no way I would have been able to experience some of the things and gone to some of the places I have been if I waited on others to go with me.

    1. That's what motivated me, I wont stop doing something I want to do just because I am doing it alone, and its good to know there are others too! Feel free to stop by and add your own tips :D

  6. Great post. I feel the same pretty much everytime I go solo. I mean being solo can be great - but honstely it can be lonely often too.

    As such I always remind myself of these 3 rules...

    1. Stay in hostels.
    Hostels are no longer "youth hostels". Anyone can stay. In Europe especially they are open to all. But best to stay in non-official hostels, i.e. independent hostels. They are still excellent but dont have crazy rules about what time u need to get up etc.

    2. Bring my smartphone.
    There are an increasing number of sites that cater for solo travellers, esp women. TravBuddy and Wandermates.com are two I have used (this is me on Wandermates http://www.wandermates.com/profileview.php?profileuserid=21 :) No site is perfect but by spreading yoruself around u can increase the chances of meeting others.

    3. Go on group activities.
    Go on a 2 or 3 day trip to do scuba, climbing, cycling etc. That way your get to meet likeminded people and have some fun. I have done it a lot and it is a great way to break the ice and meet a few buddies. Plus, it is short enough that u are not bogged down. Alternatively book a longer session with someone like Exodus.co.uk or Explore.co.uk I have done trips with them in Turkey and Morocco and they uniformly excellent! Very welcoming and brilliant fun. A great mix of gals and guys aged mid-20s to mid-40s.

    1. All good tips! I shall be covering all topics in 'H', 'I' and 'G' posts. Thanks for a great and informative comment.

  7. Hi,

    My name is KC Owens, I’m a college student and I love to travel! While cruising the Internet, I found your site and really enjoyed reading your posts. I have been to countries all over Europe with just my backpack and a camera. Since I am a college student and I have significant bills, it can be difficult to find ways to travel the world. However, I have done this several times, with less than ten pounds of luggage and while on a college dime!

    I was hoping that you would allow me to write a post for your site to share my tips and tricks with your readers. I put a lot of time into my traveling, it is my biggest passion and I would love to inspire others by sharing my stories, mistakes and triumphs. I look forward to hearing from you!


    KC Owens


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