Do you have ‘travelling alone’ fears or concerns?

In researching the idea behind our Travel Buddy app, I spoke to lots of people who regularly travel for business. One of the recurring themes was the feeling of safety when travelling alone. More specifically, it was managing the conflict between wanting to feel safe and not wanting to feel bored or lonely. Closely related were other factors such as a lack of local knowledge and having someone close by in case of emergencies.

When ‘like’ leads to ‘know’

In the old days, a ‘friend’ was someone who started out as the person you sat next to in class or the office. Likewise, you grew to ‘like’ people you met in the playground or at the pub and parties. And the more we went out with our friends and got introduced to their friends, the wider our network of companionship grew. Of course, that still happens today and, despite the anti-internet gainsayers’ claims we are far from becoming an online-only society. But here is the thing: often it takes an online ‘like’ or a ‘friend request’ to happen before the ‘know and trust’ can begin. And when travelling alone abroad, for work or play, the lack of those opening opportunities can frustrate your trip.

That is a large part of why we created Travel Buddy. But there is a more critical aspect to the ‘know and trust’ side of travelling alone – particularly for female travelers.

Here are a few scenarios where a reliable online connection might help turn a lonely or uncomfortable situation into a ‘friend for life’ opportunity:

Room service or restaurant? I have lost count of the number of people who tell me they only ever have room service meals when they stay in a hotel alone. They give several reasons, but the most common is embarrassment or wariness of strangers. The idea of being seen eating alone is so unbearable for some they would rather eat in front of the TV in their room than risk the stares. And the thought that someone might see them alone and ask ‘is this seat taken?’ is even more terrifying.

Run or roam around? Many business travelers like to keep up with their fitness routines and pack running shoes and kit in case the opportunity arises. But knowing where to run or feeling safe enough to go out alone often gets in the way when it comes to the moment. Likewise, the idea of exploring the evening sights and sounds of your host’s home city with an evening walk is inviting. But at the same time, it can be daunting on your own – especially if you haven’t been there before.

Networking and a natter: For some business travelers, the best wind-down from a long meeting or a day’s work in an overseas office is some off-topic intelligent conversation. And while you are certain you cannot be the only person staying in the hotel ‘for business’ how can you know who else might be on your level? So, imagine being able to log onto an app and view the profiles of every business traveler staying there the same evening as you. Before you know it, you will have options on running partner, dinner guest or someone to share a little gossip over a glass of wine. That, in essence, is why we created the Travel Buddy app.

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