We all know the story, you plan to go on a trip with a big group of people and as the departure time draws closer, more and more people drop out until you’re the only one left. Or you just want to go on a eat, pray, love kind of trip. It doesn’t matter which group you fall into but going on a solocation is a viable travel option for a number of travellers and even though you’re travelling solo, you can have the best time and I will tell you how
I’ve been on 2 solocations, first one was for my 28th birthday to Rome, Italy in November 2013 and again for my 34th birthday to Mombasa, Kenya in November 2019. For my Rome trip I was living in Switzerland at the time so it made it so much easier to pop over to Rome for a weekend. For Mombasa, I was on a work trip and added a few extra days for holiday. Travelling alone especially internationally as a woman is possible and can be fun. I will be sharing some tips that have helped me along the way.
Where to go
This is a hard one to give advice for because it depends on so many factors and we all have different cities/countries on our bucket lists. For travelling alone, I would pick a place with a vibrant tourist culture because it means the infrastructure is set for tourists and thus you won’t be at a loss of things to keep you busy.
I like to have a balanced vacation, equal amounts of relaxation and activity. Being alone though can make some activities not possible or not as great as it would’ve been with a partner. I would recommend choosing joining group sight seeing tours so that you can be amongst other people. When I was in Rome, I joined a tour group for a tour of the Colosseum, the cool thing about this is you have access to people who you can ask to take a photo of you. If you’re not keen on a group of people, you can also organise a solo tour with a private driver that can take you to all the sites, at least in that way you will have someone to talk to during your tours.
“WhO iS TAkiNG YoUr PhOToS?” I see this a lot on social media when people are on holiday and all the photos their posting are just of themselves. In this day in age, anyone can do a solo photoshoot that is Inst-Worthy. When travelling alone I take photos using my tripod, my camera’s WiFi capabilities, the Canon app on my phone and the timer. If you are in a public space, don’t be shy to ask other tourists to take your photo. I’ve found that people generally offer to take your photo if they see that you can travelling alone, so take advantage of that.
We live in a world where our safety is not a given, especially if you’re a woman, so this is one of the most important aspects to take note of when travelling alone.
- You need to ensure that you have a form of identification on you at all times, even if it’s a photocopy of your passport. I carry an expired drivers licence in my wallet.
- Make sure that at least one person back home knows all the details of your trip such as: hotel details, planned activities etc. What my BFF and I have gotten into a habit of doing is sharing all our Uber trips with each other even when we’re at home so it’s become 2nd nature for her to know when I’m using an Uber
- Register online on ROSA (Registrations of South Africans Abroad), this helps the government know which South Africans are in a certain country in case of emergencies or disasters.