Marg in Dubai

Tips for travelling solo

I have just returned from a six week holiday where I traveled to Dubai, Europe and the UK solo. At the time I didn’t think too much about going solo, but when I returned so many of my friends and work colleagues asked me “how could you have done that?” and my response was “quite easily really!”

Considering the fear that anyone might experience travelling on their own, I decided to put together some preparation tips and ideas for how to travel alone safely.

My holiday preparation tips:

  • I always take out travel insurance when I book my flights. I’m careful about who I’m insured with as cost, policy and excess needs to be considered in case I need to make a claim. I usually don’t go with the travel agent as I always feel there is so much pressure from the consultant to purchase it immediately.
  • As I was travelling alone I couldn’t afford to rely on only one card so I took 3 different cards. Why? I needed a backup in case I had my bag stolen or left behind, or if an ATM took my card (anything is possible). I stored my cards in a different place and didn’t take them out with me when I ventured onto the streets. I didn’t carry too much foreign cash, only when I traveled Sail Croatia and payment was cash only. Always check your itinerary if you are meeting a tour.
  • Transfers to hotels: I organised this online if I was arriving in the early morning or late at night and was unsure how to get to the hotel. Most times I caught the train or bus when I was familiar with the place I was staying in, which of course is much cheaper.
  • Check your plan with your phone provided before you leave. I’m  with Vodafone and was able to pay $5 a day for unlimited access overseas for phone calls and SMS. I then visited cafes that had Wi-Fi to access the internet. This gave me peace of mind to be able to keep in touch with family and friends while I was away.
  • I advised family and friends I could be contacted via Facebook and Messenger. It was comforting to know that they received my messages instantly and were following along with my travels.
  • I took with me an iPad, iPhone and camera with all of the charging adapters and an extra recharger. iPhones use so much extra charge when taking photos, I knew I would need the extra backup in case there weren’t any power points available.
  • Some really useful apps to add to your phone include a currency converter,, Uber (yes, I used it in Paris and it was a fantastic service), banking, Facebook, Messenger, Viber, Waze and Skyscanner.
  • Luggage, yes where does a girl begin? Always remember if you are solo you need to be prepared to carry you luggage yourself! Upstairs, lifting up into escalators trams and trains. Try to sort your clothes out before hand, and pack two weeks’ worth of clothing not the complete 6 weeks! If I bought a top or dress, something had to be thrown out. If you can, send a package back home but remember it can be expensive! If you use Air B&B make sure there is a lift to the apartment or you could be going up several flights of stairs.

Most of all, enjoy the journey, meeting new people, experiencing the culture and food of a different country and always keep in contact with your family. Travel safe!

Do you have any other tips to share about your travels?

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  1. Peter

    Great travel tips, Marg.

    If I may add the following:
    1. Make a set of paper photocopies of passport, insurance, credit cards, driving license, flight bookings, etc as well as electronic copies stored on phone & in the cloud. Also a list of important items, their serial numbers and cost. Take photographs of your jewellery or other expensive items with no serial numbers. Reporting the loss of them and their recovery or replacement will be less troublesome.

    2. Register with Smartraveller in these days of natural disasters and terrorist activities. Note down the address and contact numbers of the Australian embassy/consular office in the countries you are going to in case you require assistance or to replace lost/stolen passport.

    3. In some countries, the hotel receptionist may ask to keep your passport. Do not ever let them do that! Give them a photocopy instead if they insist. Dodgy business have gone on with the passport when it is out of your sight.

    4. If you are a photo enthusiast, take a bridge camera instead of your bagful of equipment. You will enjoy your trip better as you won’t be lugging an obvious large, heavy camera bag of expensive equipment and you won’t be worrying about having them stolen. A bridge camera will serve you well enough.

    5. Be aware of what you can and can’t carry through customs of the countries you will be going to and back to Australia. Apart from the obvious (that can cost you your life), alcohol and pork products may be an issue in Islamic countries. Be aware too of the dress code in the countries you are visiting.

    6. Check the power point socket for the country and take along an adaptor. Take along a small strip of socket if you need to be charging more than 1 item at a time.

    7. If you are going to a hot and humid or dusty country, take wet wipes with you. They are indispensable for keeping you cool and comfortable when out and about.

  2. Christine Jennings

    Dear Marg , Your blog has been very useful, i am now adding these apps to my phone. I am very excited about my up and coming trip, and am looking forward to putting your knowledge to work for me.

    Cheers, Christine Jennings X

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