In the hotel industry, management come across many types of travellers – families, couples, and people travelling alone whether for leisure, business, or bleisure (the combination of both).
Group Marketing Manager for Protea Hotels by Marriott and African Pride Hotels, Nicholas Barenblatt, has frequently travelled alone for all these reasons.
Here are his top tips for solo travellers…
Do your research:
ALWAYS check the reviews – and not just one or two! Whether it’s accommodation, a tour company, an airline or a restaurant, always do some research and see what comes up in the review section.
If a place has one rave review at the top of the list, keep scrolling just in case the rest are terrible. And if a place has multiple negative comments - more so than the positive - consider looking elsewhere.
Keep in touch:
Make sure there’s always someone who knows where you are at any given time. If you’re heading off on a three-day hike, make sure your friends and family back home know you’ll be quiet for a while. Check in with them before, and again afterwards. And if you’re staying at accommodation on the other side, confirm with the place about your expected time of arrival.
Don’t go off the grid:
Whether it’s taking your phone (ensuring it’s fully charged) and spending extra money on roaming, or ensuring you always have international phone cards on hand, make sure you are always able to reach people if and when you need to.
Get travel medical aid:
You may get it and not need to use it once for your first seven trips, but if something happens on that eighth holiday you will be incredibly happy that you have it. Medical expenses in another country can be extremely costly and you want to save every hard-earned cent of yours for your adventure.
Keep hard copies of important documents and contact numbers, and keep digital copies in case you lose them. You can load all your important documents on Google Drive or another cloud service and carry a flash drive with you just in case. Like a Scout, always be prepared.
Be careful with your cash:
Make sure you have money on a travel card, and even a backup credit card. Just like your travel documents, don’t keep all your money in one place. You can even get crafty and hide some cash for emergencies in your toiletries bag or shoes, wherever you see fit.
Bear in mind that whatever you take with you, it will all need to be carried for potentially long periods of time – by you and you alone. Pack only what you absolutely need, and leave a little space for any souvenirs you might pick up along the way.
Supplies for selfies:
When travelling, your camera is your best friend – with you to capture every amazing moment and there when you return home and want to jog your memory. When travelling alone, however, your camera is perfect for photographing everything you see, but what about if you want to feature in your photos – at least sometimes?
Consider a selfie stick for these scenarios. For adrenaline and adventure seekers, a GoPro is a great piece of technology to capture all the moments as you can capture HD still images and video; and, best of all, it’s waterproof and shock resistant.
Alternatively, make sure you take a cheap or disposable camera so you aren’t handing over high-tech equipment to strangers who promise to take a photo of you.