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Common Solo Travel Mishaps and How to Avoid Them

Plan ahead and travel stress free!

a solo traveler taking a photo in front of the Bean

When you’re traveling on your own, mishaps are just part of the deal. Before you panic, this is true any time you travel! Can you think of a single vacation you’ve been on where every single little thing went exactly to plan? I think not!

The catch with solo travel is that when those inevitable mishaps arise, you are the one that gets to deal with them. Every single time.

To that end, here’s a list of common solo travel mishaps and how to solve them!

Your Phone Battery Dies and You Can’t Find Your Hotel

Scenario: You’re out adventuring in a new city. You’re taking so many photos, because everything is so amazing! You’re sharing your photos with your friends and family back home because you’re so excited! And all of a sudden, your phone battery is down to 5%. And you’re not certain you can get back to your hotel without the almighty google maps.

If you’re traveling in a group, odds are someone’s phone still has juice and can navigate you back to the land of chargers and outlets. If you’re traveling solo, you’re on your own babe!

Fix: Carry your charger with you at all times! Make sure you don’t leave your hotel without your phone charger in your bag. This way, if you do end up wearing out your phone, you can duck into any old coffee shop and order a drink, and chill there until your phone has enough juice. Easy fix!

a cocktail garnished with a mint leaf

That Drink was Stronger than you Expected

Scenario: You found a hip bar to hang out in for a while. You’ve spent a lovely few hours socializing with the other patrons, or just chilling in the corner and reading, whatever floats your boat. But you go to pay your tab and realize that you’re a little drunker than you meant to be. Maybe you counted badly. Maybe that second cocktail was a little stronger than you banked on. Maybe jet lag got to your eating habits and you forgot you weren’t drinking on a full stomach. Regardless, the point is you’re not sure you’re in the best state to get back to your hotel.

Fix: Call a cab. Just call the cab. No matter how expensive it is. It’s better than trying to navigate an unfamiliar city with dulled senses. Stay inside until you’re sure your car is right outside, and if it’s late, keep to well-lit areas.

In a foreign city and not sure which cab company to use? Ask the bartender. They’re literally trained for this kind of thing. Be safe babe.

So I Have Plenty of Money but Unfortunately Not the Right Kind

Scenario: You just had an amazing dinner at a charming local restaurant. It’s the kind of place that barely has a website, so you know it’s like… super local. You’re full, happy, and ready to sink into a food coma. You ask for the check, and drop your credit card on the little tray. And that’s when the waiter tells you the establishment is cash only.

If you’re traveling in a group, maybe you’ve got that one friend that always carries cash and can spot you. Or you can send one friend or two out to hit an ATM while the rest of the group holds down the table. On a solo trip, this situation becomes, like, a whole Thing.

Fix: Diversify your wallet! Have a combo of cash and cards in your wallet at all times. This way you’re prepared for any sort of payment requirement you might run into. Plus, I find hitting an ATM at the top of my vacation and working with that set amount of cash helps me stay on budget! 

And as a bonus tip, split up your cash and cards and keep at least half of it in your hotel safe at all times, juuuuuust in case you get pickpocketed.

a plate of fried chicken and a beer

This Restaurant is Bonkers Crowded

Scenario: You found a restaurant that looks utterly amazing! The one problem? It’s packed. There’s a line out the door. As a solo diner, you feel bad about taking up a whole table, but you really don’t want to miss this restaurant.

Fix: Ask the host if you can sit at the bar! Most upscale restaurants have one, partly as a place for waiting diners to chill and drink while waiting for their tables to be ready. Ask if they serve their full menu at the bar. Most of the time they do! You get a seat just for you and quick and amazing service (some of the best drinks I’ve had on vacation have come after conversations with local bartenders). Plus, if you’re looking for an opportunity to socialize with the locals, the restaurant bar is a great place to do this. You’ll likely find other solo diners, or at the very least, a more communal atmosphere than a main dining area. It’s a win-win!

a solo traveler in front of the manhattan bridge

I Can't Carry All My Luggage!

Scenario: It’s your last day in your destination city. You have to be out of your hotel by 11am, but you don’t have to be to the airport until after dinner. How you are you going to make good use of your last day while toting all your luggage around?

Fix: Pack light! Solo travel is the perfect opportunity to travel as unencumbered as possible. In my solo adventures, I travel with only a carry on and a personal item! And it’s even better if that carry on is a backpack. With nothing to drag around behind you, you can enjoy your final day in your destination, even if you have to tote your luggage.

How to do this? There are lots of ways. Read this post to help you pack in just your backpack and a large purse or tote. Or... subscribe to the blog today to receive a FREE Packing Light List: the ultimate guide to packing everything you need and nothing you don't!

With a little planning, all these solo travel mishaps don't have to be mishaps at all! Take the leap and explore the world to your heart's content!

Love and Shenanigans,


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