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How to Deal with Solo Travel Annoyances

Kuala Lumpur
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205 posts
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How to Deal with Solo Travel Annoyances

I travel solo quite often and I love it. However, I have this pet peeve about people asking me WHY I am travelling solo while I’m on the road (from tour guides, other travelers, random strangers). This happens mostly when I travel to Asian countries.

This post is not intended to discourage more people wanting to try solo travel, but maybe to provide some tips on how this can be handled. It does happen … and at times it happens so often it borders on annoying, at least to me.

I just visited Thailand last weekend and upon arrival at a travel agent, she asked me where I was staying and how many people in my group. When I told her I was here with myself, she asked me “but why???” in a really incredulous tone.

How do you really answer that? You can’t really ignore her at this point. I have tried one or a combination of the following methods in my travels.

1) Honesty – Not advisable in my opinion. Not many people understand how you may enjoy the freedom of solo travel over going with others, no matter how much you try to explain. This is more especially true in community minded countries, for example asian countries. “I just love the freedom” is almost always responded by “its better to go with people, more FUN!!!” by the question-asker/almost-complete-stranger.

2)Making up a story (the family) – I have also tried making up a story just so I could keep the conversation short. In Bali I’ve said things like “My Husband is in another town in Bali…” and etc. This works OK, although I have to warn you that the whole thing may snowball. I was then asked about whether I had any children, and if I didn't, why not and then promptly advised to ‘start a family soon, cause we’re all not getting younger.” So not only I had to be married, I had to have kids too!! :P

3)Making up a story (the friend) - A easier to use version of this is “Im meeting a friend, or my friend is already here.” This usually satisfies the question-asker.

4)Making up a story (the business trip) – Ive found that the easiest technique is to just tell them that youre here on business. Ive tried this recently and I haven’t gotten any problems or follow up questions.

If anybody has any other tips they have, do let me know.

Ive been on back to back solo trips for the last few months and have been grilled about my solo-travel status by strangers for all of the trips. Thought it was time I got new ideas!

Kyiv
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71. Re: How to Deal with Solo Travel Annoyances

Hi OregonExplorer! :) So great to read from you again! (I've been away from the Solo forum for a while and just hopped in to see your post :)

Incidentally, I've just explained my avatar here, if you are interested tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294474-i3663-k475…

And your "hearsay" about NL is exactly what I experienced in Iran on my solo travel! It was absolutely impossible to stay alone there :)

Have a great trip, and I look forward to your impressions!

Edited: 24 August 2011, 19:25
Banks, Oregon
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72. Re: How to Deal with Solo Travel Annoyances

Wow, Cora! Absolutely lovely! Thank you for showing me that-I actually was wondering how you got that gorgeous avatar :).

And, Happy Independence Day from the U.S. :) Take care and I will check back with my impressions-I'm sure they will be very good.

Kyiv
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73. Re: How to Deal with Solo Travel Annoyances

Many thanks, OregonExplorer! :)

You should head to Ukraine one day! Visa-free for US-citizens, ample photo-opportunities and lots of stories to tell back home ;)

Banks, Oregon
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74. Re: How to Deal with Solo Travel Annoyances

oh gosh, sorry folks-to keep barging in on your thread, but.......Cora, I saw a segment of "Globe Trekker" on TV in the Ukraine, and it looked wonderful! I'd love to some day :)

Kyiv
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75. Re: How to Deal with Solo Travel Annoyances

Back to the topic then, we don't have a habit of asking why anyone is travelling solo in Ukraine! So no annoyances of this kind here ;)

Kuala Lumpur
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205 posts
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76. Re: How to Deal with Solo Travel Annoyances

Im gonna have to come to Ukraine next!!!I didnt get any questions in Amsterdam and London too just fyi! We should start a thread on which countries where there is minimal solo-travel annoyances !! :P

Singapore, Singapore
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77. Re: How to Deal with Solo Travel Annoyances

Travelling alone is cool! You should just ignore people who gave you incredulous stares. They are probably envious :)

Cardiff, United...
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78. Re: How to Deal with Solo Travel Annoyances

I'm from the UK and the worst i had it was US customs about 2 years ago when i was 23. they just didnt understand

Singapore, Singapore
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79. Re: How to Deal with Solo Travel Annoyances

I agree! they had to repeat the same questions over and over again. If you replied them, they just didnt believe whatever you said.

Atlanta
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80. Re: How to Deal with Solo Travel Annoyances

Sheen: Where the hell are you going?

Defoe: Down by the river, about metres, in case they try to flank us. Third Platoon's coming up to our rear, so watch for 'em.

Sheen: Can I go with you?

Defoe: No.

Defoe: I move faster alone.

- Platoon

Edited: 04 September 2011, 21:58
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