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15 Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
Level Contributor
18,276 posts
189 reviews
15 Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid

I make no secret that this travel blog is one of my favorites. Here's a recent list of solo travel mistakes posted in her blog.


In addition, here's a good TA post from 2014 - with a few links and comments about common travel mistakes.


For me, I've learned to be extra careful about cyber stuff (wifi connections). And extra, extra careful about my money. Any others who have learned the hard way and want to share?

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
12,258 posts
155 reviews
1. Re: 15 Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid

I learned I am sometimes too trusting and as a solo woman traveler, despite being a grandma, you can easily become a target as a potential money provider - particularly in countries where women are affluent or independent.

There are websites that provide country etiquette and culture, here is a quick article with some tips.


I think I read it on a culture app, but North Americans take direct eye contact for granted. Canadians, in particular, are known for direct eye contact and from a women, this can be problematic. I have never learned the submissive look at the ground or averted gaze so I try to compensate with mirrored sunglasses.

I agree with 'don't arrive in the dark' and don't be too polite (mirrored sunglasses help here too).

Not sure how to gauge with street view what is a sketchy neighborhood or not. Not all places with tattoo parlours next door or bad, and some are innocuous but there is still a street person sleeping in the lobby.

England, United...
Destination Expert
for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
Level Contributor
34,921 posts
111 reviews
2. Re: 15 Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid

There was an item on TV recently about using electronic equipment in cafes and bars.

Anyone with a little know-how can be sitting at one of the tables with a hub and when people look for a signal they take the first available without finding out if it is secured.

They were able to take so much information from those active phones it was unblievable. No special or exceptional equipment needed, and it's small so you wouldn't notice.

Another was the ability of people to get a gismo for their smart phone that will read card numbers/magnetic strips. All they have to do is watch were you keep your card and if it is within their reach and they can swipe it with their phone they can get the details. Again, not expensive and using standard equipment. It's irritating but wrap some foil around your cards or get one of the protective cases for them.

Level Contributor
9,058 posts
3. Re: 15 Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid

I think all the mistakes mentioned on the blog are general travel and not solo. Not that it really matters.

On streetview you can check the latest and often previous photos. Seeing things over the years so to speak can give an idea what sort of place it is.

OTOH I remember Madrid. I stayed in a location that was supposedly sketchy. The worst thing was the ladies of the "night" came out at about noon. Maybe 10am. Not exactly dangerous. Some times I feel like asking reviewers for references.

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
Level Contributor
68,163 posts
72 reviews
4. Re: 15 Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid

I agree that the items in the blog are not just for solo travelers but for everyone although the part about letting someone know where you are and keeping in touch are probably more important for someone traveling on their own.

I must be the opposite though of the person writing the blog.

I love planning for my trips!!

I'd never just use Google street view to decide if an area was a good one for lodging!

I use local forums a lot for advice!

I had no choice about arriving at night when I went to Japan last spring.

That's just how all the plane itineraries worked out from the USA.

It was a first for me but it went very well! I'd do it again there but probably not many other places.

I grew up in a large city(NYC) and so much of the advice is just normal street smarts to me and not just something for traveling.

I was not taught to be quiet and polite because I am a woman either but for those brought up that way I imagine it is difficult to change.

Level Contributor
953 posts
85 reviews
5. Re: 15 Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid

- I think it's important to plan your visit.

If you are staying a short time in a new city and if you don't make plans to organize what you want to do in a day you will miss a lot of things and you will regret it.

If your organize your visit you will be amazed, and satisfied of yourself, as at the end of the day you will noticed that you have done a lot of things!

I always use a travel guide and a piece of paper to make a list so I don't miss anything.

- If you have connecting flights it's very important to have enough time between flights.

Less than one hour is a bad idea, and sometimes two hours is more comfortable to go through the customs, security, etc...

If you don't allow enough time between flights and if your 1st flight is delayed either you will miss the 2nd flight, or your checked luggage will not be delivered as expected.

Banks, Oregon
Level Contributor
5,573 posts
35 reviews
6. Re: 15 Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid

Well, Chris, I am happy that idea works for you. Not everyone has the same travel styles. I myself do not make strict plans ( I have ideas what I would like to do but if something comes up, I have plenty of lee-way to change). I have never once regretted any of my loosely-planned trips. I enjoy what I am doing and where I happen to be at the moment. But again, if that works for you and some others, that is great. Viva la difference :)

Wales, United...
Destination Expert
for Bargain Travel, Cruises, Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot
Level Contributor
74,095 posts
478 reviews
7. Re: 15 Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid

I also make more general plans without going down to the smallest details. I have an idea of what I want to see and do, but this is always subject to change depending on things like the weather and how I;m feeling.

It doesn't always work perfectly, but then what does? I once underestimated the time I'd spend doing other things in Seattle, and so missed the underground tour that was on my list of activities that I was interested in. Maybe if I'd had more detailed plans and been a bit less laid back I'd have made it, who knows?

I do think it's important to find out things like how to get around to save wasting valuable time while actually on vacation. Locating things like bank ATM's near to your accommodation is also very helpful, but I guess this doesn't only apply to solo travel.

Destination Expert
for Kent, Solo Travel
Level Contributor
14,783 posts
141 reviews
8. Re: 15 Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid

@bk....Lots of really good info and links. No matter how experienced a traveller might be, we can all still make mistakes, so this post is a good recap/reminder. Thank you.

My biggest mistakes.....packing too much. Having hauled heavy bags around cobble stoned city pavements, or worse, up & down metro stations...& then not even using half the stuff I'd packed, I now pare down my packing.

Banks, Oregon
Level Contributor
5,573 posts
35 reviews
9. Re: 15 Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid

haha mcpinder, I pack too much as well :) It's not normally that much of a problem, though, for me, as most of my trips are road trips. But I do remember last year when I flew to Quebec City---I had turned in my rental car a few days prior to my flight leaving so that I could enjoy the city (I had spent rest of my time driving around that wonderful Province). The taxi driver drove me to my hotel/b&b in the old part of the city and just dumped me off at the sidewalk. The stairs leading up to the door were really really steep and narrow and at that moment I realized I had overpacked!

So, now I'm realizing that many of you plan more than I do because you fly into a city and stay there, whereas I either am in my own car or fly somewhere and rent a car and leave. I am a hiker and explorer so don't normally spend too much time in big cities.

I also agree about not always having a choice to get in someplace at night---I have had good luck with simply having a reservation for one night at a hotel close to airport, using their shuttle and then calling next morning for my rental car pickup. That works well for me.

10. Re: 15 Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid

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