Traveling alone comes with a wide range of potential issues for anybody. The problem with the travel ‘niche’ of Solo Male Travel is that is it ill-defined. In this article, I’ve picked out 6 issues that solo male travellers need to be aware of. Can you think of other issues for Solo Male Travellers? Add your voice by sharing a comment at the bottom of this page.
1. Safety Concerns
Male travellers can be perceived as more of a threat than female travellers, meaning they may face more scrutiny or direct harassment in certain parts of the world (the issue of harassment is of course a major issue for solo female travellers too and may take on a different character). Men can be targeted for robbery or violence, in particular if they appear to be wealthy, or are in a vulnerable state.
2. Social isolation
Some solo male travellers may find it more difficult to meet other travellers and make friends easily, as many social situations are geared towards groups or couples. If a solo male traveller is in this situation, it can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can be multiplied by cultural differences or language barriers.
What do people think about solo male travellers? In some places, solo male travellers can be sterotyped as being interested only in partying, drinking or hook-up culture. And sometimes that is true. However, the stereotype can make it more difficult for solo male travellers to get to know locals and other travellers who do not share these interests.
4. Single supplement fees
This issue is a problem for every solo traveller! Lots of hotels and travel companies charge a single supplement fee for solo travellers. This makes travel more expensive for men who are travelling alone.
5. Visa restrictions
You may be surprised to learn that certain countries have strict visa requirements for male travellers, particularly those arriving from specific regions or with certain nationalities. For nationals of those countries, it makes it more difficult to plan trips and limits travel options.
The Henley Passport Index rates the passport of each UN-listed nation on Earth in terms of the number of countries a passport holder can access without requiring a visa. On top come the passports of Japan and Singapore. Right at the bottom come Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
6. Countries with restrictions & safety concerns
Even if you CAN access particular countries, some of the activities you want to enjoy may be restricted. The country of Nepal has extended a ban on solo travellers from climbing Mount Everest to include the entire country according to this CNN news report. Trekkers must join a government-sponsored group. Problems for solo trekkers are harder to identify and resolve.
You may wish to avoid (or at least carefully research) countries which are dangerous. These are listed by the USA’s State Department or the UK’s Foreign Office (FCDO) as ‘do not travel’. These include Afghanistan, South Sudan, Venezuela, Colombia and Panama near the Darien Gap, Gabon and Liberia. The unwary solo traveller might be best advised to steer clear.
The majority of challenges and issues for Solo Male Travellers can be overcome with careful planning and research. Part of becoming a responsible traveller is recognising the issues you may face and taking steps to mitigate them in advance. That includes choosing to stay in safe accommodation, even if it’s a bit more expensive. It means being respectful of local customs and traditions, even if you disagree with them. To avoid social isolation and take care of your mental health, solo male travellers should make the effort to connect with other solo travellers and groups through online communities and social events run in the host city.
Why not follow up on my 10 Crucial Tips for Solo Male Travel in this article?