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(Family Features) 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, liberation and self-sufficiency.
If you’re considering a solo journey, consider these tips from the book “101+ Tips for Solo Women Travelers,” which is offered by Overseas Adventure Travel in free digital and print editions.
Make Sure Your Passport is Updated
Many countries now require your passport to be valid for six months after your return to the United States. If you don’t have a passport, or need to renew one, apply for one as soon as possible. Ideally you should have your application in six months before you depart.
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 traveling 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 the 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 ATM. While you’ll likely incur a fee for using an ATM that’s not part of your bank, 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, favorite 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 Overseas Adventure Travel has many benefits, and built-in dining companions is just one of them.
Take Precautions in Your Hotel Room
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 traveling alone by chatting with strangers at a neighboring 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. MSN
Find more tips to prepare for your journey at oattravel.com.