According to Forbes, 85% of solo travelers are women. There are a few blog sites that are written for men traveling alone. That’s why I will explain the reality of traveling alone as a man. I’m Anthony Ronaldo, Today I’m going to share 13 tips for solo male travel . So let’s start with answers to the question, “Do men travel alone?”.
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Yes, men travel alone, too. You may see many websites on the internet discussing solo travel for women. They are very focused on women.
My posts on Solo Traveler are designed for everyone who wants to travel alone. I provide tips, advice, and resources that will be useful to as many people as possible.
However, some experiences are unique to men that this post will attempt to address. In this article, I’ll talk about 15 expectations you have about traveling alone as a man. Then, I’ll reveal whether those expectations are valid.
In this post I share tips for solo male travelers. These are different from your typical travel tips. They’re raw and honest—things I’ve learned as a man traveling alone worldwide. Hope it may entertain you to understand the topic. So, let’s jump in.
13 Tips Solo Male Travel
1. Don’t rush.
Sit back and let things happen. Men sometimes need to take time to learn local customs. Take the time to sit back, see how a culture works, see the opportunities presented and let your journey unfold.
2. Try not to be intimidated.
Men who travel alone sometimes find it more challenging to connect with others than women. This is because it may not be as readily available as you think. In Western countries, men tend to be much larger than in other places. That, and the fact that you’re a foreigner, can scare you. So, especially if you are a big guy, try to be polite. Smile, speak calmly, and remove your sunglasses so people can see your eyes when talking to you.
3. Control alcohol and drug use.
For safety, it’s essential to always be in control. Alcohol, drugs, or even just being really tired can make you respond to a difficult situation with less composure than usual. Getting into a fight by provocation or being in the wrong place at the wrong time can lead to big problems in other countries. Having your wits about you is essential to handle a situation well.
- Do it slowly. A drink every hour is a good place.
- Drink lots of water.
- Keep an eye on your drink so you don’t spill anything.
Also, be aware of local drug laws. More than one person has gotten into legal trouble because they assumed the laws were more lenient than they were.
4. Taking risks can be a thrill, but don’t push it.
Everyone needs to know their limits. A quick scuba course can prepare you for shallow dives but not deep ones. Renting a motorbike in Thailand can be easy, but if you’ve never ridden a bike before, it’s not the place to jump in and learn.
A simple message about looking before leaping. However, if it is not dangerous, take advantage of an excellent opportunity for a memorable experience.
5. Keep gadgets to a minimum.
No one wants to lose something, but it happens. Try to carry only the gadgets you need and avoid carrying expensive ones that will attract attention. They add weight, and you’ll have more things to keep track of as a solo traveller. If you’re carrying technology or other expensive specialised equipment, ensure it’s covered by your travel insurance. Read a complete guide to travel insurance for solo travellers.
6. Keep valuables safe with an item of travel-specific clothing.
Generally, travel clothes will make you look like a tourist. This is something that could be more desirable. However, travel pants have a zipped pocket inside the front pocket to keep valuables. They look like regular pants. It’s better than a money belt but much better than any other pocket for protecting your passport and your money. This will definitely reduce the chances of your wallet being stolen. Read Protect yourself from pickpockets: Keep cards and cash safe and pack to a minimum.
7. Get Consent, Know the Law, Consider Culture.
The age of consent for sexual activity varies between 16 and 18 in most countries. However, consent may not be the only issue, as extramarital and homosexual sex is a chargeable offence in some countries. Also, if the age of consent is lower than in your home country, you may still face charges at home if found out.
As an example, in Canada, traveling outside of the country and engaging in sexual activity with a young person who is against Canadian law is against the law. Suppose the person is not prosecuted in the country where the offense is alleged. In that case, the person may be prosecuted in Canada.” can be prosecuted.”
8. Have condoms on hand.
If you are going to be sexually active, bring your own condom. This will prevent buying a brand in a foreign country and worrying about its quality. Take what you know. If you don’t bring anything, buy something. Better to be safe than to get an STD or a surprise pregnancy.
9. Know that men travelling alone are also vulnerable.
Men sometimes think women must worry more about security than men when travelling solo. Still, in reality, men are just as likely to be mugged or mugged as women. Also, in some situations, men will start fights over what you think is a minor issue. It may be a cultural thing. Eye contact that lasts a few seconds too long on a man can be considered an act of aggression. Not so for women.
Before anything happens, leave the places you think may be prone to such situations. Don’t get into an argument: de-escalate, walk away. This is especially important for men travelling alone.
10. Disappear while giving gifts to locals.
When travelling alone as a man, you often make friends with locals on the road. Many may invite you to their home or business for tea or a meal. And many of them won’t expect anything in return – they’ll do it out of sheer kindness.
However, there will be situations where you may be tempted to gift money. In particular, children and beggars in developing countries may press you for money.
Whether or not you give them something and how much is up to you. However, if you do pay, try to do it inconspicuously.
I have seen many generous tourists flock to locals after trying to give money or gifts to one. Obviously, this reaction is natural in developing regions where local people struggle to support themselves and their families.
11. Pack a set of flip-flops.
You never know what people are doing in shared hostel bathrooms. Nasty germs and body fluids can be lining the floors and walls.
Be sure to include a set of flip-flops in your solo travel packing list for men. This will help protect you from warts and other germs.
12. Carry a bum bag or fanny pack.
When I started travelling alone as a man, I took a backpack with me on day trips. However, I now prefer to carry a small and light bumbag (fanny pack) on my waist.
The advantage of a bumbag is that it makes you more manoeuvrable and less bulky. It’s also harder for pickpockets to steal from a bum bag because it’s worn around your front.
Some essentials that I carry in my bumbag:
- Phone charging cable
- Power bank
- Coins and cash
- lip balm
- Some form of ID (not my passport)
- My residence key
- Hand sanitiser
- the glue
13. Don’t hook up in the dorm room
When you are travelling alone as a man and surrounded by beautiful women, your hormones will be pumping. But that doesn’t mean you can do your business in a hostel dorm room.
If you’re lucky, rent a private room in your hostel. Even if you have already booked a dorm, you can always ask reception to upgrade to a private room.
The same goes for playing with yourself. If you try this in the dorm room, chances are you’ll unexpectedly hear someone else walk in or get caught. Rent a private room occasionally to take care of your blue balls (and don’t do it in a shared bathroom either)!
Check out my guide to hooking up and backpacking sex travel for 32 more secrets to getting lucky while travelling solo!
Recommended to read, 10 Unique Places to Visit in Netherlands.
14 Expectations and Truths – When Traveling Alone as a Man, You will-
i. Have to Endure Uncomfortable Journeys.
Coaches and trains are the most popular means of travel for single male travelers in developing countries (Asia, Africa, and South America). Be warned that some of these trips can be extremely long and uncomfortable when traveling alone as a man.
There are many types of coaches and trains, ranging from cramped minibusses to modern couches with beds for every person. You’ll often ride with a mix of both locals and other travelers. The journey can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Always find out how comfortable the coach or train is before booking. Look for online reviews if possible.
ii. Make a ton of friends.
As a person, traveling alone has many pros and cons. But one of the main benefits of solo travel is how many new friends you make. On average, I make one or two new friends daily during my travels. In hostels, it’s easy to have casual conversations and make friends with other female and male solo travelers. You’ll meet new people in your dorm room, in the kitchen, around the lounge area, and while doing organized activities like pub crawls.
Single male travelers can make friends at tourist attractions, restaurants, and bars and onboard planes, trains, and coaches. Break the ice by chatting about your shared interests: travel, destination, and home countries. As a solo traveler, you will also make friends with the locals. Some of the best friends I’ve made abroad have been my tour and day guides in Cambodia and Morocco.
iii. Chance To Drink a Lot
If you drink at home, you’ll drink more when traveling alone as a man. Because it’s one of the easiest ways to make friends with fellow travelers. On average, most single male travelers I’ve met drink a few beers per night. Drinking culture is prevalent among backpackers staying in hostels. Backpackers often gather at night for drinks or go on a bar crawl around local pubs and clubs.
That being said, you don’t have to drink alcohol to make friends and enjoy yourself. I’ve met plenty of single male travelers who don’t drink at all. Apart from alcohol, as a male traveling alone, you are also likely to consume drugs. This is especially true if you already use drugs at home. The drug is most popular among young travelers and backpackers.
Disclaimer: Although drugs are somewhat common among travelers, I do not recommend partaking. If you use drugs, you take full responsibility and do so at your own risk. Possession and use of drugs can carry serious legal and health consequences.
iv. Party Most Nights.
Is traveling alone fun? It’s if you want to party! Wildly, youths in hostels and backpackers will party a lot while traveling alone. When you are visiting big cities and popular tourist spots, you are more likely to party. This is because the streets usually have bars and clubs aimed at tourists.
While visiting small and quiet destinations, you cannot go out at night. Instead, you can have a few drinks with your travel buddies in the comfort of your accommodation. How much you party also depends on your destination’s atmosphere and cultural norms.
v. Smoke and Vape a Lot.
I smoked more frequently when traveling alone. Even, If you smoke or vape at home, you will likely smoke or vape even more while traveling. As a man, you smoke more when traveling alone because it’s an easy way to make friends with people. You will often smoke with other travelers around your accommodation, bars, and restaurants and during rest periods on long journeys.
If you travel to a destination where cigarettes are cheaper, you will be tempted to smoke more. Just try not to overdo it and carry gum to avoid bad breath.
vi. Feel like an Outsider at Times.
When you reach a new destination, you have to make new friends again. Sometimes, traveling alone as a man makes you feel like an outsider. This usually happens when you arrive at a new destination and don’t know anyone.
For example, when you arrive at a new hostel, you may find that many travelers already know each other and have formed friend groups. You may feel awkward once you join one of these groups or create your social circle.
As mentioned above, the best way to break the ice and make friends as a solo traveler is to discuss your shared interests: travel, destinations, and countries. You will also meet people you don’t like during your single-man travels. I met several people who seemed loud, obnoxious, and rude to the locals. What you can do in this case is try to avoid those people and prevent an argument.
vii. Get into Dangerous Situations
You will get lost, stranded, and cheated while traveling alone. Both men and women ask me, is it safe to travel alone? When you travel alone as a man, you can find yourself in at least one of two dangerous situations.
During my solo male travels, I found myself in the following sticky situations:
- My phone died at 3 am, and getting lost on the streets of Bangkok.
- Running out of cash and stranded on the outskirts of Istanbul.
- Getting off at the wrong stop in a small Moroccan village (a friendly local drove me to Casablanca for an hour).
- Puncturing my scooter tire twice on the first day of my journey through Vietnam.
- Falling victim to various street scams and being overcharged by traders.
I was in this dangerous situation because I was a young, naive male solo traveler. These solo travel safety tips can help you avoid most of these dangers.
viii. Pack More Than You Need
Various electronics and gadgets for travel wear, including a backpack, laptop, and camera.
Most solo male travelers pack too many clothes.
The most common mistake a person makes when traveling alone is overpacking. Stick to this solo travel packing list for men, and take what you need clarification on.
Generally, you will wear the same 3 – 4 tops and 1 – 2 pairs of shorts when traveling alone as a man. But be warned, you might get stinky (see our next point).
Buying it at your destination is often best if you need more clothing. This is especially true when visiting developing countries where clothing is relatively cheap.
ix. Meet a lot of Single Women.
Many men ask me, is it weird for a guy to travel alone? Statistically, solo travel is dominated by women. Some statistics suggest that 85% of solo travelers are women, and 15% are men. But it’s okay for a man to travel alone. This means he will meet many single women during his travels.
In fact, for every single male traveler, there are about 3.3 single female travelers ( source ).
Over 75% of men have sex while backpacking and traveling alone. Some of these women may even become romantically involved with you and choose to travel with you.
Always remember to be respectful. And be careful – it might hurt to say goodbye to your female travel companions at the end of your adventure!
x. Easily Catch an STD or Cause Pregnancy.
While it’s great to meet lots of single women and enjoy a healthy sex life while traveling alone as a man, there’s also a chance you could easily contract a sexually transmitted disease or get someone pregnant.
To reduce the risk of an STD or pregnancy, be sure to include condoms in your solo travel packing list for men. However, be warned that condoms may not provide complete protection against STDs and pregnancy. The best way to prevent an STD or pregnancy is to avoid sex altogether while traveling alone as a man. However, I appreciate that this is not a realistic expectation for everyone.
xi. You will stink
Make sure you use deodorant every day. Given that you’ll wear the same clothes repeatedly throughout your trip, you’ll occasionally smell foul when traveling alone as a man. Although most men are not too keen on doing laundry, it is recommended that you try to wash your clothes at least once every week.
If you will spend a few days at your destination, use the washing facilities at your accommodation or find the nearest laundromat. And remember to maintain your basic hygiene. Bathe at least once a day and keep applying deodorant.
xii. Spend a Lot of Time on Your Phone.
Whenever you feel lonely, you will be tempted to use your phone. You’ll constantly take pictures during your travels and want to update your social media. You will be tempted to pull out your phone whenever you feel lonely or bored.
Limit the time you spend on your phone each day. The best time to be on social media while traveling is often before bed or during long journeys on coaches and trains.
Don’t be that guy sitting in a hostel or bar on your phone. If you do, you will find it difficult to make friends and miss out on special moments.
xiii. Be deceived.
Read about common street scams in your destination. When traveling alone as a man, you will almost certainly get scammed – whether you know it or not. Scams come in many forms. And often, traveling alone makes you an easy target.
Some of the ways I’ve been cheated on during my solo male travels include:
- I paid a scooter taxi to pick me up the next day (they have yet to return).
- Wildly overcharging for water, food, taxis, and souvenirs.
- Need help playing the infamous ‘cup game’ on the streets of Europe.
- Street vendors give me something for ‘free’ and then demand payment.
- You will meet many notable locals while traveling, and they will offer you tea, food, rides, cigarettes, and much more.
Most of the time, these offers are generous. However, other times, they are doubled.
The trick is learning to distinguish between genuine kindness and fake kindness. The more you travel, the more you’ll understand this, and the less often you’ll fall victim to road scams.
xiv. You will be injured or ill.
Men like to take risks. This means that you are more likely to get injured or sick while traveling alone as a human.
The most common injuries and illnesses I see in solo male travelers are:
- Food poisoning
- Scratches and scrapes
- Burns (especially from motorcycle and scooter accidents)
- split nails
- Sunburn and heatstroke
Most of these injuries happen accidentally during adventure activities, and you cannot do much to prevent them. During a trip to Thailand, I ran into an elephant and unknowingly put myself in a silly position, resulting in my hand being crushed.
Be careful and do your best to avoid injury. You can treat minor injuries yourself with the help of your accommodation staff, a travel-size first aid kit, and some rest. For serious injuries, report to a hospital (so buying travel insurance is essential).
Finally, don’t be afraid of loneliness. Focus instead on reflection and mindfulness during your alone time.
5 Best Advice for Solo Male Travelers
i. Protect your passport
Your passport is more than just a way to keep track of all the places you’ve been. It’s your way of getting in and out of the country–and you must do everything you can to keep it safe and sound.
When travelling, I keep my passport in a protective case—and take it out whenever necessary (e.g. at the border). It rarely leaves the hotel room. I carry my driver’s license in case I need ID to go to a bar or club. I also try not to bend the passport too much—the last thing I need is for the bio-data page strip to be unreadable.
In countries where everyone is required to carry their passport, I recommend carrying only a photocopy of the photo page. That way, the local police can’t use it as leverage in any way (otherwise, they can confiscate it based on the charges they make, and you’ll have a long adventure at the station and possibly pay a “fine”).
All travelers should travel with a copy of their passport photo page. I bring more than one because they are handy at random times (like when applying for a tourist visa abroad). I also keep a scanned copy of this page in a Dropbox and Google Drive folder. It is always ready to print in case I lose my passport and need to apply for a replacement at the local embassy (the whole process is usually much faster if you can provide them with a photocopy of the original).
ii. Don’t be a hero.
If they put you at knife point against the wall, don’t do anything stupid. Just give them a wallet and phone. Your life is worth more than that, and you will recover. It’s best to keep calm, slow down, and comply if you’re dealing with people who have nothing to lose.
Of course, in this situation, it’s best not to go in the first place. And a good idea is always to be prepared for anything.
- Don’t try to interfere in other people’s disputes.
- You should leave a situation where a guy is screaming at his girlfriend.
- If there is a disagreement in the market, don’t involve yourself in it. While it’s tempting to be the hero and defuse arguments and conflicts, it’s also not your job to be vigilant.
More often than not, all parties involved will team up instead of you. Unless it’s a matter of life and death, please stay away from it.
If you’ve been robbed, don’t delay. Move away when the coast is clear. If you are not injured, return to your hostel/hotel/etc. and call your banks to freeze your credit and debit cards. Ask the locals for advice on your chances of recovering something. If the country has the rule of law, file a police report – even if it doesn’t help you, it might help future travellers.
I never travel with a backup phone (it stays in the room), a physical photocopy of my passport photo page, and emergency cash reserves (they stay at home, and I keep very little cash in my wallet when I go out).
iii. Know local drug laws.
I get it – everyone’s situation is different. You may never touch an illegal substance – in which case this point may not apply. But there’s a good chance you’ll be offered to partake in drug use during your trip, so it helps to know what might happen.
Drug laws vary widely by jurisdiction. For example, many Westerners consider marijuana a relatively harmless substance and are surprised to learn of the penalties for possessing—much less importing—marijuana in places like Singapore (spoiler: the penalties are severe). In fact, almost all medicine is taken much more seriously in Asia than in the West. Wherever you go, read the law before you go.
The best advice I can give you is to stay on the right side of the law. If it’s illegal, don’t do it. It’s not worth ruining your entire trip (or risking your life), no matter how “open” your mind is. It’s one thing to risk doing it in your home country because here you understand all the possibilities. Rolling the dice abroad is quite another, where you have to navigate a completely different legal system.
iv. You are now an ambassador – so act like one!
Our world isn’t one prominent happy place. It’s still divided along racial, cultural, and national lines. Don’t expect anywhere to be as diverse, multicultural and tolerant as your country. Don’t expect nearly the same level of political correctness or restraint when it comes to jokes and stereotypes in everyday speech.
Whether you like it or not, you automatically become an “ambassador” of your country when you live abroad. You don’t have much control here—your country’s reputation precedes you, and everything you do will be judged against those expectations. You have only one choice: to let this fact affect your behaviour or not.
v. If you want to blend in, don’t wear shorts
Europeans always say they immediately “recognize an American” – the iconic cargo shorts and white socks are a dead giveaway. Likewise, if you’re wearing shorts, you’re instantly a gringo in Latin America (until proven otherwise). In many cultures, men rarely wear shorts except for sports.
This “rule” (if you can even call it that) is not universal. There are plenty of ways to look dapper and stylish in shorts. Men commonly do this if they live in a particularly fashion-forward place (like Italy).
Stick with dark jeans or tailored slacks, and you’re more likely to blend in with others. Benefits of looking like a local include not getting ripped off at every quoted price, not being an obvious target for mugging, etc.
vi. Don’t bring up politics (or the Pope).
This is a simple piece of advice that is worth repeating. Unless someone makes it clear, it’s generally a good idea to avoid “sensitive” conversational topics like religion, sex, and politics. It’s impossible to predict who you’re going to offend. Religion, for example, is a big part of many people’s lives—and they won’t take kindly to a foreigner who dismisses it as unimportant (or criticizes certain aspects of it). You are a visitor, not an advisor.
Delve deep enough into a conversation, and you’ll often hear locals openly criticizing or trash-talking their own government. While you may think it’s okay to join the fray, know that your opinion will forever be that of an “outsider”—and it’s not very okay to criticize outsiders (“If you don’t like it here, the door is the way out.” ).
I keep it simple – I only bring it up if requested. And if they ask me, they will be ready to listen to my unbiased opinion!
Recommended to read, First Trip Together as a Couple.
Conclusion of Solo Male Travel
Travelling alone as a person has its ups and downs. Single male travelers can expect to make new friends, meet single women, party, and enjoy a fantastic adventure. However, solo male travelers can expect to endure uncomfortable journeys, get into dangerous situations, get injured, and sometimes feel lonely.