Are We There Yet? – Solo travel

What to know when going at it alone.

Jennifer Coxby Jennifer Cox

My baby boomer parents have discovered their love for travel since becoming empty nesters, and after a number of trips together, they also discovered they have different traveling preferences. While my mother loves the luxury of cruises and being pampered on the enormous ships, my father has tapped into his inner explorer and goes on various excursions solo. Yesterday he left for a vacay where he'll be hitting Switzerland, France, Italy, and the Greek islands. And as much as he's a head's up person, it always makes me a tad nervous to know that he's out there, in a foreign place, finding his own way time after time.

If you're planning on a getaway sans travelmates, there are a few safety measures you should definitely take.

First off, have a cell phone with an international calling card. It's important that you have some way to stay in touch with people (and you should definitely have someone you're checking in with periodically). It's also a way for people to get in contact with you should there be some monumental emergency back home.

Ensure someone has some sort of record of your itinerary – flight times, hotels or hostels where you'll be staying, and a general schedule of where you'll be and what you plan to do.

As much as it's enticing to venture "off the beaten track," a solo trip probably isn't the best time to take chances. Stick to populated areas where there are always people around. You should also stick to your sightseeing during peak times – a midnight stroll in an unfamiliar place is a recipe for disaster.

Keep important personal items hidden and close to you, such as your wallet, passport, and more. Nothing will put an end to your trek faster than misplacing or having such items stolen, especially when you don't have someone with you who can help in such a stressful situation.

My father has loved the solo trips that he's embarked on, and it's definitely something everyone should try. But it's also an idea that should be thoroughly thought out and planned to avoid any mishaps.

Bon Voyage,



Jenn Cox is a Montreal-based freelance journalist. Visit her website or email her at