Travelling solo to me means going out of my comfort zone, whether it is eating alone in a restaurant, trying to overcome language barriers, sleeping in a strange bed, or that oh-so-dreaded jetlag. Here is how I embrace the solo travel experience of my business trips.
How to Dine As a Solo Business Traveller
When I travel, the most important thing for me is food. What, where, and when am I going to eat; and my most frequent rule is—eat where the locals eat. As Malaysians love to plan their days around their meal times, I’m usually researching and making reservations before the start of my trip.
Places with bar counter seating is great for the solo traveller/diner because (1) I like to see what the chefs or bartenders are doing, (2) it creates the opportunity to talk as much or as little as you would like, (3) it feels more interactive instead of sitting at a lonely table. It is also a great way to get tips from the bartenders or chefs of where else to venture to.
Get Lost in the Language
Travel with a simple phrase book, or download a language app. Otherwise, there are typical universal gestures for the important things that we all know! Part of the joy of travelling to a new place is getting lost in a language and having a laugh at yourself, and of course, learning a few very important and useful words from a discerning local.
Bring a Piece of Home With You
I have started to travel with a Tempur travel pillow. It rolls up to the size of a large butternut squash and is easy to pack in your carry-on. Sleep is such an important part of the day, and when in a strange place, it is nice to have one comfort of home. Plus, we know that necks are such delicate parts that need support after a long day out.
How to Beat Jetlag as a Solo Business Traveller
I am one of those strange people who no longer suffers from much jetlag whether I go east or west, back or forwards, 8 or 12 hours. Jetlag can be annoying because it robs you of energetic moments in the day when you want to explore and just makes you want to take a nap.
What I do to ensure I stave off jetlag as much as possible is (1) get into the time zone you are travelling to as soon as you get on the plane—this could mean staying up until 4 a.m. in your local time, or taking a 2-hour snooze and staying up for the next 16 hours, (2) drink plenty of fluids, and I mean water not champagne, (3) Try to avoid caffeine, (4) Try to do some exercise in the mornings as it will set you up with all those feel good vibes for the rest of the day, (5) If you must, take a nap in the mid-afternoon but for a maximum of one hour.
Off you go! #GoSoloGoStGiles
Get some tips on how to squeeze some fun into your solo business trips with our Business Travel Guides to London, New York, Sydney, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and Manila.
As Head of St Giles Hotels UK, Europe and North America, Abigail Tan-Giroud often travels solo for business across continents and time zones. Abigail is not your average hotelier as in her spare time you may find her flying a helicopter, playing the electric guitar, boxing at 6am, or doing some form of sport, riding a motorcycle, completing Tough Mudder, or most likely, eating.