Traveling Alone: Should You Do It?
Some people, for whatever reason, whether it be their marital status, budget, or just for the “bliss of solitude,” end up traveling alone. This was okay for John Steinbeck as we saw in our previous Skycap News article “How to Document Your Vacation,” but what about for a 35-year-old single female, or someone traveling with kids? But, if you took kids with you, you wouldn’t be alone, would you? I digress. The point is that traveling alone can have an appeal at times, especially for this 19th-century-wanna-be classic writer, who enjoys the solitude once in awhile, the feeling of having the world at your fingertips, and to be inspired by nature and all that you can take in when you are left to only your thoughts.
Yet, the feeling of being totally alone and isolated on the road or secluded in a cabin somewhere, brings fear into the hearts of many. I have done some traveling alone, but most of my travels involve being with family and/or friends, so I have not done this a lot. But I have thought of a few tips that you may want to keep in mind if you have the urge to hit the road like some hero from a 1950’s film where the character wears a black leather jacket and we hear strands of “Born to Be Wild” playing in the background.
- Pack lightly. You don’t want to be weighed down with too much luggage if something were to happen where you needed to go home with someone else or your car were to break down. Pack only the essentials that you will need on your trip and plan to do some laundry at the local laundry mat (with your Mace can in your bag, of course). For more great packing info, please check out our previous article “How to Pack for a Long Vacation.”
- Don’t talk to strangers. Your grandmother (and Rick Springfield) were right. There is still stranger danger, even for adults. Even males alone should not approach someone whom they do not know in an isolated location. You never know someone’s intent. So it’s best to stay close to other people as well. You are usually OK if you ask for directions or help from a convenience store clerk or someone who is there just doing his or her job.
- Plan out your journey. Google Maps has been a Godsend in terms of the ability to plan out your trip down to the last mile, and even calculate the time it will take to get there. But technology is only as good as the people who set it, so make sure you have location sharing on, plenty of battery, and data on your cell phone plan, or it will do you no good while traveling.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Even if solitude is your goal, sometimes it will be overwhelming to be alone all of the time. Keep your cell phone and internet working, and take a laptop or tablet so that you can keep connected to the world-when you want or need to.
- Budget your time and your money. Set some Ways to Save for Vacation goals for your trip. Yes, even if you are on vacation! Decide what sights you’d like to spend time on while traveling and how much money you’d like to spend. Is there something you’d like to buy while you are in your chosen area, such as a surf board, some new clothes, or such like? If you buy something big, you will also have to plan how to get it home. One of my mother’s retired friends went to Europe with her friends recently while her husband stayed at home working around the house and outside. In every picture on Facebook, her “friend” put up posts about how “Martha is enjoying the tours,” etc. and in every shot, she was with a man half her age! Don’t be surprised if when you get home, you’re the talk of the town with friends like that around!
All kidding aside, if you plan to travel alone, just like in the real world, just use caution and common sense. Take plenty of money and power, and have a backup plan in case something happens while traveling. And believe me, it usually will. Maybe it will be something great!