One of the joys of being retired is being able to do all the things you simply never had enough time to do when you were working.
Many retirees take the opportunity to travel, both near and far. It may be to simply spend time with relatives in another part of the country or to venture further afield to explore far and distant lands. Many of them will do this independently and, whilst the vast majority will experience nothing but joy and take away many fond memories, it’s important to do some preparation before you go and to take sensible precautions during your travels.
Planning Your Travels
If you are going to be travelling alone, plan ahead of time and, where relevant, do as much research on the place as you can. Study the culture and history of the region and try to find out as much as you can about it. Try to have all your travel plans finalised before you leave so that you are certain how you’re going to be getting from one place to another. This is especially important if you’re travelling abroad. Give details of your itinerary to close friends or other relatives and it may be a good idea to arrange occasional calls or e-mails back home so that friends or relatives know that you are safe and well. Make sure you have adequate travel insurance if travelling abroad. You can end up with phenomenal medical bills if you fall sick or get injured when travelling overseas if you fail to take out insurance and remember to take any prescribed medication with you. It might also be beneficial to visit your doctor for a precautionary health check before you head off.
Safety When Travelling
Once you’ve begun your travels, making friends when you are travelling alone is far easier than you think. People are often curious about the solo traveller and you’ll often find them eager to start up a conversation with you. Hotel personnel, travel reps or similar will want to ensure that everybody is having a good time so, if you’re keen to meet new people, you can be sure that there will be plenty of encouragement to get you to join in….only if you want to, of course.
Safety for the solo traveller is an important issue. Try to be aware of everything that’s going on around you. Walk with confidence and with your head up and keep your eyes and ears open. If you appear to be in command of yourself, you are less likely to be a victim. Check with locals to see if there are any areas you should avoid and keep your eye on your belongings at all times. Do not leave bags unattended and make sure you don’t leave your wallet or purse lying around.
If strangers approach you and you believe there is something suspicious about them, smile and walk on briskly and that should be enough to deter them from any further contact with you.
At this point, it’s important to emphasise that your chances of becoming a victim while travelling are very remote. Don’t become paranoid, being over cautious can make your trip less enjoyable. Just use your common sense and stay relaxed, yet alert. Ultimately, your aim should be to blend into your surroundings just like the locals do so, especially in some foreign countries, pay attention to the way they dress and act and, wherever possible, ensure that your dress and manner reflect your surroundings appropriately.
The Time of Your Life
Above all else, don’t be daunted by the prospect of travelling alone. It can be incredibly exciting, especially if you’ve never done it previously. Remember, on your own, you are completely flexible. YOU decide where you want to go and when rather than having to compromise with a partner or other travelling companion. If you are a single traveller on a tour, you’ll still get lots of free time to do whatever you wish.
Like any new experience, travelling alone can be a cause of concern or worry before you go but this apprehension is completely natural. But just like parachuting out of an aeroplane, once you’ve done it, you’ll want to go back for more and more. Other people will be in awe of you and you may hear people saying, “How brave you are” countless times. However, all it takes is a little planning, some self-assurance, common sense and a curiosity about the world and other people to make you realise that solo travelling can be quite an exhilarating and enjoyable experience.