Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Here are some tips for making traveling alone one of life‘s great adventures. By Melany Klinck
Travel ads with happy couples, families or groups might lead you to believe the only fun way to travel is with companions. Not so, says Deana Deck, a 70-something writer from Nashville (http://www.visitmusiccity.com/), Tennessee (http://www.tnvacation.com/), who traveled solo for many years before marrying last December.
Deck began traveling alone because her friends didn’t share her wanderlust, and group tours aren’t her style. “I like to roam around, meet people, stumble into interesting things, places, people that groups would bypass,” she explains.
And that’s just what she did, taking ski trips, road trips and European vacations all on her own. Along the way, she developed a few rules of the road for independent travelers:
• On road trips, carry hotel directories and call ahead for reservations.
• If you have car trouble while on the road in the United States, go to a truck stop to find mechanics on duty at odd hours.
• When you’re road-weary, sing to keep from nodding off.
• Before taking a cell phone or laptop overseas, be sure you have the right equipment, cords and converters.
• To meet other travelers, take a guided tour of a city. Or ask the concierge if other single travelers in your hotel may want to join you for a meal or an outing.
• Never take more luggage than you can handle yourself.
That last point is especially important, says Karen Davis, owner of Nashville-based KDavis Travels (http://www.kdavistravels.com/), which offers weeklong walking tours in places like England (http://www.enjoyengland.com/), Mexico (http://mexico-travel.com/) and Spain (http://www.spain.info/).
“One of the hardest things about traveling alone is managing your stuff, especially on occasions such as restroom breaks,” says Davis, who travels alone to scout tour sites. She advises her clients to make do, as she does, with a daypack and a wheeled suitcase that can fit in an airplane’s overhead bin. She also advises women traveling alone to meet any new acquaintances in public places.
Both Davis and Deck agree that traveling solo has enabled them to meet people and have adventures they might have missed traveling with a companion.
“A cathedral is a cathedral,” says Davis. “They’re beautiful, but the most memorable experiences come from meeting new people. And you’re much more open to that when you’re on your own.”
Author Bio: Melany Klinck has twice traveled independently to Europe, but usually does her rambling these days with her family.