The thought of traveling solo can seem daunting. Trust me, I know, but overcoming that initial fear can be rewarding. My first solo trip was halfway across the world, and it was the best experience of my life. I am not advising that, but I am saying your trip will be just that an experience. So breathe, we got this! I have some tips for you below to help you get out there.
- Research the location: Research the native language and if your native language is spoken there. Know cultural norms such as food and water safety for travelers, clothing, body language, and customs. You can dive as deeply as you would like. The goal is to understand the destination’s culture, not to disrespect the natives or put yourself in danger.
- Research the best time to visit: ( you may want to avoid visiting during rainy or hurricane season) I recommend visiting your destination of choice during the shoulder season if you are not going for a particular seasonal event. It’s less crowded, prices tend to be much lower than peak season, and you won’t have as long of a wait for restaurants, activities, or events. I love the last one. Fewer people allow you to enjoy a place even more without the rush.
- Research safety in the area: You can use sites like the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisory. Read or ask about the destination on Reddit. A lot of travelers post info on there and watch videos on Youtube. Tip! For U.S. citizens traveling internationally, consider signing up for the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which could help the State Department assist you in an emergency.
- Research your accommodations: A hostel, hotel, vacation rental, villa, or resort. Look at multiple reviews and ratings to determine what will suit you best—the same with rated excursions.
Pack the Essentials
Almost my entire trip, I complained about how my first aid kit was a waste of space until I fell off a motorbike on day 18 of my solo journey. It was not a pretty sight, but luckily I had my first aid kit to treat myself until reaching the local doctor’s office the next day. Try not to overpack if you can. Be sure to pack medicine and vitamins, personal hygiene essentials, a first aid kit, a portable charger, a safety alarm, a water bottle, and a door stopper or lock. Check out the portable door lock.
Traveling solo is a great experience! You have the time to do whatever you want. You are also responsible for yourself; there is no one else to hold accountable. So arrive at the airport early, especially if it is your first trip or you have airport phobia. Arriving hours before departure allows you to go through the airport less stressfully. Schedule your flight to arrive during the day. The goal is to feel safe, to become familiar with the place, and to ask for help if needed. Tip- have transportation services scheduled from the airport to your accommodation, especially if you arrive at night.
I am sure you are bursting with excitement but don’t overshare. Meeting new people, we tend to trust, relax and overshare while a conversation is pleasant. NEVER share your lodging location and that you are alone. You can say my (insert relative/loved one’s title) did not want to join me for this. “This (insert activity) isn’t their thing. I don’t say far from here.” Name a common hotel in the area or say that you are in a vacation rental. Anything but for your safety, do not share your stay. If you plan to meet up later, I suggest you meet them there.
Be a traveler, not a tourist. Enjoy your freedom! Have a travel itinerary but leave room for spontaneous exploring. Remember to notify loved ones and the hotel ( if you feel comfortable) about your whereabouts. Talk and move with confidence. You’ve done your research and prepared for this, so breathe. You got this!