Avoid These 8 Common Solo Travel Mistakes

Hostels will charge you for empty beds in your private room

Kathryn Donohew Photography / Getty Images 

Budget travelers know that hostels frequently offer a selection of private rooms that are basic but cheap. These are often well-located in the heart of a city or tourist area.

But hostels often quote nightly rates in terms of each person rather than each room. If the private room could host two paying customers, you'll have to pay for two people if you want it to yourself for the night.

Some find this pricing structure irritating, but consider the business owner's plight. He or she must maximize limited space to survive.

There are times when paying a double rate can still save money. Just don't expect to take advantage of these budget options at the same level of savings a couple would achieve.

01 of 07

Failing to Compare Single Supplement Charges

Avoid paying a single supplement when traveling.
Mark D. Kahler

One of the biggest problems with traveling alone is the single supplement charge you'll encounter on cruises and tours. As with the private rooms at hostels, you'll pay extra because the space you'll occupy could have catered to another paying customer -- maybe more.

There's not much choice involved. You'll have to pay the supplement. But you should at least shop for the lower supplement charges. They'll vary considerably among cruise lines and tour operations. Pay close attention. Find out which operations might waive the charge at certain times of the year.

The industry is placing new value on solo travel. You might find some companies more welcoming than others.

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02 of 07

Traveling With Too Much Baggage

  Kiattisak Lamchan / EyeEm/Getty Images 

Budget travelers have learned over the years that lugging a bunch of heavy bags will not only detract from their mobility and pleasure, but also cost more money in the form of airline baggage fees.

All of these issues are magnified when practicing solo travel.

You'll be opening doors by yourself and moving unassisted through narrow, crowded spaces. But novice solo travelers tend to pack too much, thinking that because they are alone, they need more provisions. Resist that trap. Travel as lightly as possible.

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03 of 07

Ignoring Warnings About Local Dangers

Don't ignore local warnings, especially when safety is the subject
Mark D. Kahler

The street you see here might be perfectly safe in the daylight but rather dodgy at night. Are you willing to concede there might be a difference based on the time of day?

Warnings about safety are sometimes inaccurate or distorted. Be willing to accept them when offered by someone who has no apparent economic motive. Could they be offering outdated information? Maybe. But always err on the side of safety.

Such safety warnings are even more significant for solo travelers. There are criminals who will prey on someone who is alone, but ignore people who at least appear to be traveling in groups. So it pays to avoid trouble spots and blend in whenever possible.

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04 of 07

Scheduling Travel for Late at Night or Early in the Morning

Be careful about schedule very late or very early flights
Mark D. Kahler

Flights that operate during less convenient times tend to be cheaper. In your quest for a bargain airfare, you might book one of these flights and find yourself arriving in an unfamiliar city late at night. Another variation of this would be hitting the streets at four in the morning to catch a cheap 6 a.m. flight.

You can become a target when you're carrying luggage and wandering around alone. Avoid these kinds of flights, or at least make arrangements to have a reliable person waiting for you to provide an escort. No one wants to get lost, but being disoriented and alone late at night could negate the benefit of your airfare savings.

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05 of 07

Becoming Too Trusting of New Acquaintances

It's great to make new friends, but don't become too trusting when meeting new people
Mark D. Kahler

Solo travelers are always advised not to be "too solo." Make new friends, join tour groups and enjoy the pleasures of discovering a new destination.

That's great advice.

But if you encounter someone who seems just a bit too friendly, use caution.

Some less-than-reputable businesses send out touts who are instructed to bring in new customers. They do this by making friends with tourists. They'll gain your trust, then recommend that you join them at their favorite watering hole for a drink or a meal.

There have been cases where the drinks are spiked, and the victim awakes to find money and possessions are long gone. In less severe cases, you'll get roped into an overpriced meal or performance.

Make new friends -- just be careful. If they become aggressive or you find yourself questioning their motives, walk away.

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06 of 07

Becoming Intoxicated

Alcohol to excess impairs judgment and leads to a host of problems
Cate Gillon/Getty Images

It's never a good idea to become intoxicated in public. But when traveling solo, it can be an expensive, even dangerous experience.

Keep in mind that public drunkenness results in a variety of fines and punishments around the world, and some of them are far more serious than you can imagine.

You'll also impair your judgment and place yourself at the mercy of strangers.

Some solo travelers approach the host or concierge at the beginning of the evening. They make arrangements to get home when closing time arrives. But it's better to be your own designated driver and keep your wits about you.

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07 of 07

Failing to Develop a Safety Net

Develop a safety net when traveling far from home
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Solo travel provides an exhilarating feeling of freedom. No promises to keep. No one else's preferences to satisfy. Just open road and new discoveries.

Don't get so wrapped up in that feeling that you fail to develop a safety net.

Let someone know your estimated times of arrival. Leave your proposed daily itinerary with someone back home. If you go missing, they'll at least have a general idea of where you were supposed to be staying. Confirm your safe arrival with someone back home. Check in several times a week.

Another point that becomes even more important for solo travelers: let the bank know the countries in which you'll travel so they don't suspect fraud and freeze your credit card account.

It's fine to tell the people with whom you leave the itinerary that the plan is subject to change. But inform someone of your plans.

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