On the Rocky Travel Blog you read a lot about female solo travel adventures and how to travel alone as a woman. I was curious to hear what a man feels about travelling alone, so today I’m hosting Daniel, who is sharing his voice about his solo male travel in South America.
Reasons for travelling solo as a male
Did you know solo travel does not imply being alone? When I first started to travel within Latin America by myself there were a few lessons I had to learn before I could really master the art of Solo Travel and find my way. In this article, I am going to highlight some of the biggest challenges I faced as a solo traveller. I will also highlight some useful tips that will give you the confidence to start your own solo travel adventure without ever looking back.
Without further ado, let’s look at some of the reasons why you may want to pick up your bag and start a solo adventure around the globe.
Travelling Solo as a Male
If like me you’re doing (or thinking of doing) solo travel as male, first of all, I’d like to remind you that you have a great advantage. Meaning, that you run less risk of being in danger when you travel alone. Why is this? Well, because if you’re doing solo travel as a female, there are a different set of precautions one must take. For example, women who travel alone have to take many precautions for safety and well-being that don’t all apply to solo travel as a male.
However, being a male, doing solo travel, doesn’t guarantee you will be safe at all times. If you’re reading this as a woman, the good news is, you’ll find that most of these tips are applicable to both genders. One important thing I learned doing solo travel as a male, though, is to avoid random travel. Let me explain!
Random travel, as I call it, is difficult to avoid when we first start out because we tend to float around from place to place more than usual. Sometimes, we can walk right into danger without realising for no apparent reason. This leads me into my first tip for solo travel as a male.
1. Plan to succeed
The best solo travel trips I have had have been the ones where I have had a clear idea about where I’d like to go. This doesn’t mean you have to plan out every day but have your major destinations planned out before you set off. Be open to change them but have an idea of the places you’d like to go and do your due diligence. Research and learn about any cultural differences you will need to be aware of.
2. Become a social butterfly
I have always been the quiet guy. Travelling solo really forced me to talk with strangers. When I first started my solo travel adventure in the USA I had my first experience of talking to new people in hostels. I learned how to open conversations and tell stories by recollection using my experiences of growing up in the UK.
When I started to travel in Latin America, though, the style of people I met seem to change. I had to learn how to tell the same stories but in a different language. As timid as you may be, other travellers are usually very open to listening to your stories, so don’t be afraid to share your anecdotes with others.
3. Watch out for scams
For some reason, travelling alone makes you more susceptible to petty scams. Travelling solo in Latin America, I have been lucky to have learned some basic Spanish that has saved me in many cases. But, I’ve come across people who have been the victim of scams where not even speaking the local language would have helped you.
Take Scopolamine, for example, it’s a powder that can be placed in your drink or even blown in your face as you walk the street. You’ll find yourself in a zombie-like state obeying orders of the scammers, you can literally be separated from your personal belongings in seconds. Don’t let occurrences such as these put you off. The tip here is to do a bit of research on local scams before you arrive. This can really put you one step ahead of the scammers.
4. Travel as Light as a Feather
This has taken me years to master and even today I’m still tweaking my backpacking checklist every time I travel. The number of times I’ve seen other solo travellers hauling 2 and sometimes 3 backpacks around with them, is insane. When you travel with lots of equipment you open yourself up as an easy target. The more luggage you have, you’re also more likely to be a victim of one of those petty scams that I talked about earlier. If you can, learn to leave things behind. You’ll find yourself with a much bigger sense of freedom; not having to carry a lot of weight around with you. Not only does it make you more mobile but it will put you up there with some of the more seasoned solo travel experts.
5. Be a Source of Wisdom
This ties into being a social butterfly but not in an extrovert type fashion. The more you travel solo as a male you’ll notice things about life, and, how your life relates to those things; whether good or bad. Many people who travel solo are searching for something and in some cases feel unfulfilled by there everyday lives back home. There’s nothing wrong with this. Though, what will happen as you meet people along the way, they may come to you as a source of wisdom. In these cases, you can really have a positive effect on somebody’s life.
6. Learn to Connect with Locals
I started as a newbie solo traveller who spent his days aimlessly wandering around cities taking photos and sampling local foods. However, over time, my travels in Latin America have had a deeper meaning.
This became more apparent when I started to connect to local people. Connecting with locals is not easy in most cases. The reason why is because you have to break away from the hostels and more common places that other travellers stay. But today with platforms like Airbnb you have a great opportunity to stay with a local family. For me, staying with locals creates a different type of experience that’s been much different from that of staying in tourist accommodation; it allowed me to learn more about the culture.
Conclusion about solo male travel
So, if being a source of wisdom, connecting with local cultures and planning your future travel plans don’t sound good to you, maybe you should reconsider your travel plans as a solo traveller and travel in a group.
These are the reasons I do solo travel and every new trip is about improving myself and the way I travel.
About this Guest Author: Daniel James of Layer Culture is a cultural traveller based in the UK. Daniel dedicates his time to exploring and learning about life in Latin America. Pick up your backpack and join him on his lifelong mission to uncover Latin American’s hidden gems – you may even become fluent in Spanish along the way. You can also find Daniel on Twitter or on Facebook.