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Solo travel: One for the road

  • Story Highlights
  • If you want to connect with other travelers, unplug your iPod
  • Pack things that can do double duty so you don't weigh yourself down
  • Eat at a restaurant bar or a diner counter for more interaction
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By Heather Eng
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Budget Travel

(Budget Travel Online) -- People who have experience traveling alone share some tips for doing it right.

Packing "If it's your first time traveling alone, remember that you'll be carrying your own bags. Pack stuff that can do double duty: I've used a velour dress as a towel but also dressed it up with a blouse and belt to dine out." --Diane Redfern, founder of Connecting: Solo Travel Network

Approachability "You may not meet people if you're listening to an iPod. So many people have started a conversation while I was reading or sitting alone. But they wouldn't have done that if I were plugged into an iPod." --Doug Lansky, "The Rough Guide: First-Time Around the World"

Lodging "Hotels in remote locations, while romantic for couples, aren't great for people on their own. Instead, stay in areas that get lots of foot traffic, where there's lots to do." --Teresa Rodriguez Williamson, "Fly Solo: The 50 Best Places on Earth for a Girl to Travel Alone"

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Staying in touch "Text-messaging is great for avoiding loneliness. I texted my wife from atop Mount Kilimanjaro, and she wrote me back right away." --Donovan Pacholl, adventure-travel specialist, BootsnAll Travel Network

Safety "When making plans with new acquaintances, go for coffee -- and say you're meeting friends afterward, so you have a reason to leave. Before heading out, tell the hotel's front desk where you're going and when to expect you back. Leave a note in your room, so if something happens to you, there's evidence detailing where you went." --Tammy Weiler, founder, Singles Travel International

Dining "Eat at a restaurant bar or a diner counter. Singles usually dine there, and you're likely to chat with the workers. Cafés and B&Bs with meals at shared tables also provide an opportunity to interact." -- Beth Whitman, "Wanderlust and Lipstick: The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo"

Cruises "Choose a cruise with assigned dinner seating because you're guaranteed to meet people. Also, take organized excursions. They're safer than going off on your own, and you don't have to worry about missing the ship if something happens. And show pictures of your dog. You think I'm kidding, but it works!" --Rick White, founder,

Instant glamour "Sunglasses are a great prop. When you wear them indoors, people see you in a different light because you look mysterious. Sunglasses are also great for people-watching discreetly and avoiding eye contact with folks you don't want to engage." --Lea Lane, "Solo Traveler: Tales and Tips for Great Trips" E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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