Subject: Re: Solo travellers' strategies
Hi Ziners,

B&B's are certainly economical when travelling solo. Sometimes they aren't as well located as perhaps more of the hotels, but the hosts are usually aware of this and will help you make travel arrangements - perhaps dropping you at a bus stop or similar. The added bonus is that the hosts can be as attentive and helpful as you want them to be, giving you as much of their time as you need for planning.

When eating out, if the restaurant has an outdoor area - terrace, sidewalk, whatever - I will eat there if possible as it means you can watch passers-by rather than your fellow dining patrons, or the art on the walls. If not possible, I usually make sure I bring along a book, my travel journal, or a travel guide and I read or write during my meal as I feel less self-conscious that way.

Sometimes the restaurant will go out of its way to accommodate a solo diner - I had this experience a couple of times in Vancouver, and in Victoria BC where they made sure I had a nice table i.e. not out in the middle of nowhere so perhaps with my back to a corner and with a view so I can see what's happening in the restaurant as well as what's going on outside. Sometimes the table staff will go out of their way to stop and have a chat if service time permits. I have also had other solo travellers or diners ask if I'd like to eat with them. Once, in Delft, I approached a solo lady walking by on the street who looked approachable :) and tried to ask her if she spoke English and if she might have a dining recommendation. Turns out she was a Canadian in Delft for an academic pursuit so we decrypted the menu and dined together.

I find day trips on those hop-on-hop-off bus tours are great for orienting myself in a new city, and often helps you meet other travellers. So are the walking tours. And taking advantage of some cities that have volunteer greeters (I think New York City has the Big Apple Greeters or similar?) And I have found the locals are usually very helpful and friendly after I have politely enquired in their language if they speak my language and asked my questions. Very often they will take great time to explain or guide.

Travelling solo has its pros and cons. As Marguerite said, sometimes it would be nice to have someone to go "wow" with, or to reminisce with when you get home. But locals ARE very helpful (perhaps less intimidated?) when approached by just one. And The Travelzine is a wonderful place for reminiscing!

And the bottom line is, travelling solo is always better than not travelling at all!

Megan Brisbane, Australia