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Publication: Travel Tips
Going It Alone

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Tips & Adice for the Seasoned and Armchair Traveler Alike! 

September 11, 2007 

A lot of Americans, myself included, like to brag about the 
rugged individualism of their gutsy immigrant ancestors:

"My grandfather came here all by himself when he was 14. 
He didn't have a nickel in his pocket, and didn't know 
the language, and was persecuted for his love of accordion 
music, etc and etc and etc.."

Those same people, however, get twitchy at the thought of 
eating dinner alone in a restaurant.

This week's topics include:




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More and more people are overcoming their fear of traveling 
alone. Nearly 25 percent of the American traveling public - 
about 34.8 million individuals - have vacationed by 
themselves sometime in the last three years, according to 
the Travel Industry Association of America.

Several travel experts have carved out a niche for them-
selves dispensing advice to the solo traveler. Marybeth 
Bond writes and lectures on the topic and runs The Gutsy 
Traveler Website at  http://www.gutsytraveler.com. Flight 
attendant Sharon Wingler is another often-quoted expert and 
author of "Travel Alone and Love It" as well as the Website 
of the same name, http://www.travelaloneandloveit.com. 

With their help, and my own experience, I've worked up a 
list of solo travel tips:

* Start out small

Lea Lane, in her book "Solo Traveler", recommends nervous 
newbies to the world of single traveler begin in the 
shallow end of the pool - maybe even the kiddie pool.

People unused to venturing out unaccompanied may want to 
start small by spending a day in a nearby town or a 
weekend at a domestic resort. 

* Book your trip

Buy a Guidebook Geared Toward the Single Traveler. The 
accommodations, hang-outs and restaurants listed will be 
full of other independent travelers. You'll have plenty of 
opportunities to connect with a variety of people for an 
afternoon of exploring the bazaar in Kathmandu, dining in 
St. Petersburg or touring the French countryside together. 
Bond, who spent years traveling alone, met her husband this 
way in Nepal.

* Independent  hangouts (No, not Sundance)

Some guidebooks (such as the Lonely Planet series) list 
meeting place for single travelers. Many cities have well-
known meccas for independent travelers: bookstores, cafes, 
youth hostels and other places with bulletin boards and 
calendars of local events. These can be  a treasure trove 
of inexpensive tours, travel companions or rides wanted, 
free or almost free lectures, or social gatherings which 
you can join.

* Avoid Romantic Destinations

Ask yourself if a destination is perfect for a 
honeymooners. If it is, then avoid it. 

* Become a know-it-all

Research your destination; use materials from your travel 
agent, from the Web, and from your local library. Study the 
history of the region, the customs, the language, the 
literature and music, and notable sights. Not only will you 
appreciate things more, but you'll have a head full of 
conversation starters and the kind of info that will make 
you an asset to fellow travelers.

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* Do Talk To Strangers

Some of the most meaningful travel experiences come from 
spontaneous invitations to join a person, family or group 
for a dinner or activity. Communicate with everyone. Even 
if you don't speak their language, a smile goes a long way.

* Eat strategically

Ask to sit at a community table, such as the chef's or 
captain's table, with other singles. Or, let the restaurant 
host know you're willing to join others. 

Sit with your back to the wall, facing the room, so you 
can make eye contact with other diners. And, unless it is 
absolutely how you want to spend your mealtime,  don't 
stick your nose in a book. That sends a clear message that 
says: "Leave me alone, I want to be by myself."

Choose a lively cafe or bistro with lots of people. 
Consider sitting at the counter and watching your food be 
prepared. Enjoy watching people and the fine art of eaves-

Again, use that smile to reach out and make contact with 
the diners around you. Your conversations with them may 
be the highlight of your evening.

* Avoid unwanted Attention

Sometimes, single travelers can become targets for 
lotharios, con artists, common street criminals and other 
undesirables. Advances can be thwarted by silence, no eye 
contact and quickly moving away from the source of 

Always trust your instincts. If you are really being 
pestered, go into a store or hotel and explain that you are 
a tourist and there is a person annoying you, that you are 
afraid and don't know how to handle it. Can they help by 
calling the police or telling the obnoxious person to go 

Women should dress conservatively so as not to draw 
attention to themselves. Take clues from the way local 
women are dressed. 

* Beware singles charges

Many hotels and cruise lines charge singles the full price 
for rooms intended - and priced - for two. Unfortunately, 
there's not much you can do about it. Some hotels in Europe 
do offer smaller single rooms that cost less, and you may 
wish to request one. 


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* Folks back home

Leave your itinerary and contact info with someone back at 
home. Check in weekly with a selected person back home to 
let them know you’re still ok. If they don't hear from you 
after a certain amount of time - set it up beforehand - it 
will signal that something might be wrong and they should 
try to contact you.

* Be discreet

Do not reveal too much personal information until you know 
someone well. Meet people in public places, request a hotel 
room on an upper floor and don‘t give out your hotel room 

Do NOT don't display wealth ostentatiously, no matter how 
cool you think that new Rolex looks. Also play it cool 
about your nationality. Be discerning about whom you tell 
you're American, and do not advertise your nationality 
with lapel pins or flag imprinted clothes. 

* Beware danger zones

Ask your hotel staff to mark your map with the location of 
your hotel and any areas you should avoid. Ask if it's safe 
to use public transportation after dark. 

* Healthy paranoia

When you are out and about, be alert. Be aware of your 
surroundings and the people around you. 

After dark, try to walk on well lit streets with other 
people around. If you find yourself in a questionable area, 
duck into a public place to check your map or call for a 

* Look like you're from there

Walk with confidence and with your head up, eyes panning 
the surrounding area. If you appear to be in command of 
yourself, you are less likely to be a victim.

Well, that's it for this week, group. Thanks again for 
reading, and please keep those comments, complaints and 
questions coming in. 

You can send me an e-mail message at: Email Pierce

Until next week, thanks for reading.   

Your Tipmeister,   



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