I’m planning a trip to New York later this year and will be travelling by myself. I’m wondering if you have any tips on how I can make the most of the city while I’m travelling alone?
Solo travel can be a daunting experience: No one to share the highlights with, no one to talk to. But the worst thing about solo travel for many people is eating alone.
But solo travel can also be empowering and a whole lot of fun. You get to go exactly where you want to go, see what you want to see, there is no need to compromise on your desires (trust me, I once had to spend two hours in a photography store in New York while hubby checked out every camera in the store. I got him back by taking him to Tiffany’s.)
Book onto a ‘Hop on Hop off’ tour when you arrive to get your bearings in the city. You’ll learn about the highlights and will see what interests you and what you might like to come back to. It’s a good, quick way to get an overview of a city.
Book into a uniquely local tour; a walking tour of the city or a movie location tour; or perhaps, a bar tour or a cooking class – something that interests you that is unique to the city you’re in. That way, you get to share at least part of your trip with other travellers with a common interest. And you’ll have a local experience.
Take a book or notepad with you when you’re going to restaurants. You might find yourself people-watching while you’re there, but at least if you have a book or notepad, you’ll have something to do if you want to just put your head down and get lost in something. You’ll soon forget about the people around you.
Download relevant local maps before you go. Apps like Googlemaps or Citytogo allow you to use maps of specific destinations offline so you’ll never get lost and won’t have to stop to pull out a huge local map. An app like GPSmycity allows you to read up on your destination on popular travel blogs before you go and download maps with GPS locations for the top spots mentioned in the blog post. Pulling out a map screams tourist, and when you’re on your own it can make you feel very vulnerable, having it on your phone makes you a little more inconspicuous.
More tips, and a podcast all about solo travel, can be found here.
All images by Adrian Duncan, @allabroadau