You do not have to be “Viggo Venneløs” to go on a city break alone. In fact, traveling solo is both exciting and challenging. Here are some benefits, as well as some tips to keep in mind.
No quarrel about the destination
The benefits of traveling alone start already in the planning phase. You do not have to pay attention to others when choosing where to go, but instead travel to exactly the city you want. You also travel when it suits you. No waiting for a clarification on whether the party gets time off from work or not.
You have full control of the program
What you do when you arrive is entirely up to you. Now you avoid compromises and gossip about which sights to experience, waking time in the morning, and whose turn it is to take the bill.
The choice of cafes, restaurants and nightclubs will be just the way you want it. Here you also get the chance to challenge yourself a little. Many of us feel uncomfortable when we are alone in restaurants. We often start fiddling with our mobile phones… What if you instead take the opportunity to get to know some strangers?
Chance to make new friends
It is almost always easier to get in touch with others when you travel alone. This is especially true if we compare with couples who are on a trip. Unknown people refuse to address someone who looks like a party in a relationship – “what if the other gets jealous?”. The same is true to some extent if you are traveling in a group of friends.
With the opposite sign, we are also more inclined to avoid contact with strangers when we travel with someone. The party gets the attention you could rather focus on those you meet on the trip.
If you want to make it easy for others to approach you, you can cheat a little. For example, sit in a café and read a book, preferably in English. Maybe someone comments on the book, maybe they have read it themselves, maybe they become curious? Before you know it, you’re in the middle of a book talk with a stranger, and you may get a lasting friend with the purchase.
You get time for yourself
It’s nice with friends and family, but sometimes it’s good to have time for yourself. Maybe you are facing an important decision in some context? Then it may be wise to take a trip to an exciting city, and let your thoughts sort out there. Getting away from home for a few days can do wonders purely experientially, and at the same time you get undisturbed time to think.
On solo trips, you also have a better opportunity to absorb new impulses. You absorb the culture without being influenced by a fellow traveler. If something exciting and educational happens, you can stop by a quiet place and reflect on the experience without distractions.
You strengthen your self-esteem
Although the city break on your own is most likely to be completely undramatic, there is something good about just being able to trust yourself. Should you, contrary to expectations, encounter challenges, it strengthens your self-esteem to have tackled the problems alone.
That does not mean you should not receive help, by all means. Obtaining assistance is also a way of managing oneself. In sum, you may come home with better self-esteem and more faith in your own abilities. In addition, you may have something fun and exciting to tell!
At least you avoid arguing about money
If you end up in a money dispute or budget crisis on the trip, you probably only have yourself to thank. Traveling alone means that you do not have to pay attention to someone else’s finances, for better or worse. Some are frugal while others burn money in their pockets. You do not have to be rude because a fellow traveler trumps through the trickiest restaurant choice, or you do not have to waste money you would rather spend on something else.
Some safety tips when traveling alone
Of course, there are some cities that involve more risk than others. Some tips are universal while others can be ignored if, for example, you are going on a city break to Reykjavik. If you have thought through the safety in advance, you are more prepared, and also relax more.
- Although it’s nice to be outgoing – do not be naive. In some cities, tourists are obvious targets for scammers.
- Act smart and be confident, but avoid attracting too much attention when the situation dictates.
- Make sure someone at home knows where you are traveling and that they have the specific address you are staying at. Feel free to arrange fixed times for contact by phone, SMS, Skype or similar.
- Make sure that someone you trust at home has a copy of your passport, travel insurance, health insurance card, bank card number, passport number and travel tickets.
- Make a separate set of copies of the above for yourself. You can email this to yourself, or store in your cloud, and it will be available in an emergency.
- Familiarize yourself with how to get an emergency passport in the big city you are going to, and make a plan for how you can possibly get emergency money quickly.
- Get information about any risk areas in the big city you are going to visit. Stick to areas with a lot of people.
- Avoid excessive intoxication. You are more vulnerable when you are alone, and especially if you take a few glasses of wine too much.
- Save the local police number on your mobile. Make sure your mobile is charged at all times.
- Do not withdraw too much cash at a time. Carry cash on your body. Preferably use debit or credit cards when paying larger amounts, but make sure you have control over the transactions (read about safe use of credit cards and debit cards).
- Consider getting a door stopper for your hotel room, depending on where you are going.
- Feel free to provide the hotel receptionist with information on where to go. Bring a note or card with the hotel’s address and telephone number in your pocket.