HOW TO TRAVEL THE WORLD SOLO AND SAFELY FOR MEN
Have you travelled solo before? It’s such a great way to break free of co-dependency on family, friends and partners and strengthen independence, confidence and communication skills. Travelling solo forces you out of your comfort zone and lends itself to experiences you never thought possible. And there really is something wildly indescribable and adventurous about waking up in a new city and not knowing one single person. So it recently struck me how much information there is to inspire and inform women to travel solo – but what about men? With travel novels such as Eat Pray Love inspiring millions of women around the world to travel solo, it made me wonder what is the equivalent was for men – Shantaram?
Men who travel solo face many of the same complexities as women who travel solo, as well as unique obstacles when globetrotting. So I’ve spent the last couple of weeks researching and talking to my best guy buddies to see what their thoughts and tips are for men wanting to travel solo. It’s been a really exciting and insightful story to work on, so I hope you enjoy the tips below!
DO YOUR RESEARCH The more research you put into a solo adventure, the more you’ll get out of it. Safety is your first priority. There are countries that are statistically safer than others for travellers so make sure you choose a country that is in a happy place. As an example, avoid countries that are experiencing civil or political unrest, an outbreak of a virus (such as Ebola in Africa) or at war with another country. Choose a country where you can easily relate with the locals, where conversation flows easily (or as easily as possible), and where you can connect with the culture. Speaking of cultures, make sure you understand the local customs on what to wear and how to treat local women especially.
BOOK LICENSED TAXIS Always try to book a licensed cab when commuting at night, this can save you from becoming a victim or theft or assault. Just because you are man does not mean that you’re not at risk. Be extra careful in developing countries, some taxi drivers have been known to plan attacks with a group of partners to ‘detain’ the vehicle on a dark stretch of road, forcing you to comply with their demands. Try to get a taxi with multiple male companions can greatly reduce the risk of this happening. So use your solo adventure as a chance to make new friends!
CHECK YOUR ACCOMMODATION Single men on a budget often pay to stay at hostels in shared rooms, and that’s part of the adventure and meeting new people. Double check however if you are staying in a mixed share women (with women and men) or if you prefer to stay in a male only share room. With that in mind, if you are in the mood to meet people and make friends, whether you’re in a fancy hotel or a budget hostel, the common areas are the best places to do so, such as the bar or kitchen. And don’t be nervous – give it a go, its all part of the fun.
ENJOY THE NIGHTLIFE Travelling solo doesn’t mean you have to stay in your room at night. Go out and see what the local nightlife has on offer. Language barriers can make the experience somewhat interesting and difficult, but smiles and hand signals should get you by between dancing and drinking. Also remember to learn how to say a few basic phrases when you’re in a country that doesn’t speak your native dialect; it will go a long way! Always be mindful of who you meet in bars and clubs, always keep an eye on your drink and watch out for shady individuals looking to escort you to a swanky bar or club. They often woo travellers with drinks and beautiful women, only to send an outrageous bill at the end of the night.
BE SAFE Always practice safe sex if you do end up with someone on your travels. Carry quality condoms from home to prevent STDs and pregnancy. Regardless if a women (or a man) says they’re healthy and safe, still use protection.
PAY ATTENTION Pay attention to what’s happening around you. If you don’t pay attention or keep an eye on your belongings, you run the risk of have your stuff stolen or scammed. You don’t need to be overly distrustful or paranoid, just mindful.
MINIMISE GADGETS Keep your use of electronics to a minimum. Not only do they add weight and more things you need to keep track of, but they also can attract unwanted attention.
So what are the best countries for men to travel solo? New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Vietnam, Japan, Sweden, Iceland, Germany, Canada and Finland are just a few of the happiest, safest countries for men travelling solo.
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