No matter how many places you’ve been, no matter how real your travel thirst is, there’s one experience that few deign to undertake: the exhilarating, yet a little bit terrifying experience of traveling completely solo. In the minds of many, traveling alone is dangerous, or too difficult, or just seems a little bit boring/lonely.
But as someone who has traveled both with friends and solo, I can tell you that traveling alone can be extremely safe, way more social than traveling with friends, and incredibly gratifying. Here are a few tips (besides investing in the always-trusty selfie stick) that can help to make your solo trip amazing!
Be ULTRA Prepared
The most important thing in solo travel is to plan ahead. Although having a plan B in any travel is important, when it’s just you you should add a plan C and to make sure you have everything you need with you. With that in mind, make sure to have copies of your passport, any bookings you’ve made, and even maps of locations you need to get to (to avoid any technical difficulties accessing directions). To avoid these issues, invest in a good external battery (like this Mophie that can charge your phone up to 8 times). Finally, make sure that you have cash in a case of emergency(like a theft or getting your ATM card blocked). Keeping cash somewhere physically on your person(under your clothing) can completely save your trip.
Stay in a hostel
Hostels are definitely the way to go for any solo traveler. Since you pay for a bed, and not a whole room, you definitely get the best bang for your buck. More importantly, however, is the atmosphere of hostels. Go to the bar at any hostel, and there’s a whole room full of potential sightseeing buddies, dinner companions, and new friends to party with all night long. (Some of them may even be solo travelers just like you!)
Tailor your trip to YOU
When traveling with friends, everyone has different interests, so you generally just end up going to the most famous tourist attractions in each destination. When you’re on your own, you can tailor your trip exactly to what appeals to you. Each city has its own unique, off-the-beaten track locations and activities that may not appeal to most, but sound amazing to you…Tripadvisor is an awesome place to find some of these!
Book Day Trips
Whatever amazing things exist inside cities, there are generally a ton of other things to discover within an hour or two drive. From wine tastings in Tuscany to trips to the Tulip fields near Amsterdam, these give you an opportunity to see a different side to wherever you’re traveling. Plus, being on a trip with a group of other people exploring the city is a great way to make new friends.
Travel with a Company!
One of the best ways to travel alone…is to do it with a group! Booking a trip through a tour company can not only help you save money and time, but can also give you an experience that you can’t get in any other way. You get to travel with people who have similar travel wants, and have an opportunity to make new lifelong friends. Plus, traveling with a company takes away a lot of the stress of being on your own in a brand new place. The guides are full of suggestions about places to go, things to eat, and experiences to have, so you’re able to make the most of your time exploring!
Have fun, and break out of your comfort zone!
Traveling alone gives you an opportunity to meet new people from all over the world, to gain confidence in your ability to take care of everything on your own, and to do whatever you please. By traveling alone, you can gain incredible experiences and remember just how fun of a travel buddy you actually are.