Tips & Tricks For The Solo Traveler

You do all kinds of things on your own -- so why not travel solo? Whether you are going to Brazil, Bangkok or Barcelona, you can have the time of your life even if you aren't going with friends and family. Here are tips to stay safe and healthy and still get the most of your solo travels, no matter where you may roam!

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Woman traveling

Taking care of your money and documents

  • Always carry copies of your most important documents -- like credit cards, passports, tickets -- separately from the originals. (You might want to email them to yourself so you can access them online.) Consider bringing an extra credit card -- again, packed separately from the one you usually use.
  • Let your credit card company know where you are going before you leave. If they receive many charges from foreign locations, they are likely to think your card was stolen, and not accept them.
  • Find out what your daily ATM card withdrawal limit is while abroad, and make sure your pin number works in the countries you are visiting. You may have a 6-number pin, for instance, in a country that only accepts 4 digits -- which means no cash for you!
  • Carry a little spending cash in your pocket or otherwise away from the rest of your cash and credit cards. That way, when making small purchases, you won't be showing off your money -- or displaying where you keep it -- to shifty types.
  • Keep your handbag/pack closed and in your hand at all times. Almost every tourist destination is also a pickpocket haven -- plus, sometimes groups of people (even kids) will work together to distract you or pull a con.

Use the internet to your advantage

While you're away, make use of the web to get information about local attractions, manage your photos and to check in with everyone at home. Here are some ideas:

Air travelInstead of trying to glean a museum's hours or a tour schedule from materials printed in a language you don't really know, check the web. Most major attractions around the world offer information in English on their sites.


Air travelSign up for a free web-based email account -- such as gMail or yahoo mail -- so you can stay in touch with friends and family from any Internet cafe or computer. (gMail also offers integrated web chat so you can talk to other users in real time.)


Air travel Offload the photos from your digital camera somewhere online -- to a Flickr account or to a photo processing service, like those offered by Snapfish, Kodak or Shutterfly. Not only will you free up space on your camera's memory card, you will also be preserving your photos in a safe place. (You can even order prints while you're still abroad, and have them waiting in the mail for you when you get home!)


Air travelSet up any email, photo or other web-based accounts before you leave to make life simpler -- and choose a memorable but not obvious password (like not "madrid" for your trip to... Madrid).

Phone-y advice

Should you bring along your cell phone? That really depends on whether of not it will even work internationally. Find out before you go -- get some detailed information here.

Here's some more smart phone advice for the world traveler:

  • US-based cellphone accounts usually will not allow you to make calls from foreign countries, in order to avoid fraud. If you plan to bring your phone, contact your cell provider before you go.
  • Watch the rates! When outside of the US, you can get charged crazy high amounts for roaming as well as calling and receiving calls.
  • If you have an iPhone with data plan, be certain that you change your phone's setting so you're not charged a roaming fee every few minutes as the unit updates itself. How to do it: Settings > General > Network > set Data Roaming to OFF.

ON THE NEXT PAGE: How to avoid getting sick,
Minding your meds, and a few more tips from the trenches!


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Comments on "Traveling alone? Smart advice on how to stay healthy, happy and safe abroad"

Supernetuser July 30, 2008 | 7:12 PM

People need to travel more to see what the rest of the world is like. If anything, this is the beautiful part about going from Point A to Point B. Flying is also very boring for the most part. You get dehydrated if you don't drink enough water, so an added consideration would be to pack water bottles.

coool July 18, 2008 | 11:06 PM

WE have traveledmany places all over the world wioht all my friends who play on tall : Tallloving

Lna June 18, 2008 | 6:20 AM

We "me and family" made a trip to Petra in Jordan in April 2007. it was a piece of art and fabulous. We flew from Berlin to Amman- Jordan. We traveled at modern buses with a guide/driver. Our route was Amman, Jerash, Ajloun , Petra , Dead Sea. On the way we experienced architectural, archaeological, historical and cultural places: noble mosques, interesting museums, ancient castle, unique ruins, stone paths, the lowest point on earth with mineral salty water at Dead sea. Also we went to see how nomads live in their tents. Before our trip we got a lot of warnings and surprising comments on Jordanians' hostility toward Westerners. Anyhow in every city, town and village we felt ourselves very welcome and every person was polite and hospitable to us. Our guide was the best possible guide. His knowledge of Jordan, the past and the present is enormous and his driving style is convincing, A trip with him was like a trip with a friend not with a formal guide. From my experience, liberty tourisms (http://libertytourism/) is one of the best tours at Jordan where all you may need and ask on one place. Hans Herrman

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