By now, many people are keyed in to the wonders of solo travel. It can seem a little intimidating at first, but once you get over that fear and actually take the plunge, it's one of the best ways to travel.
Travelling with friends or family is fun–what better way to bond and create new memories together?-- but travelling alone has its own rewards.
You can meet new people you otherwise wouldn’t meet, you can eat whatever you want for dinner without worrying about what someone else wants, and with no one else around, you don't have to worry about being judged for wanting to go home early instead of staying out drinking and socialising.
That said, travelling solo requires some extra considerations as you have to rely on yourself for most of the time.
Here are some tips for when you're venturing out solo:
1. Travel light 🎒
I'm a big fan of the saying "a little preparation can save you a lot of trouble." The same goes for packing. If you're travelling alone, it's important to pack light—the less stuff you have to carry around, the more freedom you'll have to explore your surroundings and enjoy yourself. For much of the time, you may not have a travel companion to help with the load you carry!
Leave things at home that you don't need: Some people like having an extra pair of shoes or a collection of books with them on vacation, but unless these items are essential, leave them at home and opt for something lighter instead.
Take only what can be carried comfortably: Your bag should not weigh more than 10 percent of your body weight—if it does, try switching some heavier items out with lighter ones (like those bulky sweaters). If this isn't possible, it's time to start cutting things from your list! It may also help if everyone knew how much space they were allowed in their carry-on bags before boarding the plane so there aren't any surprises when anyone finds out theirs was overweight by half a kilo.
2. Be prepared for the unexpected 🆘
When travelling solo, it's important to be prepared for emergencies. There can be times when everything seems to go wrong--a health issue, visa troubles, etc.--and that is when you can feel the most panicked being alone.
Traveling alone means being responsible for yourself without anyone else around and knowing how much help is close by if something goes wrong can be reassuring during stressful situations!
Here are a few tips:
- Get travel insurance: Travel insurance can often be inexpensive but will save you a lot of money if you run into accidents. Say, a lost luggage, a missed airplane connection, or hospitalization.
- Pack a personal care kit and carry your prescription medicines with you: Pack an adequate first-aid kit that can deal with minor injuries and illnesses. Include any medications you take regularly, as well as any that may be needed in an emergency.
- Keep your passport and other important documents secure: whether in a locker, a luggage, or waterproof zip lock..
- Know how to contact the authorities in case of an emergency: get to know the local emergency numbers.
Have a plan for what to do if you don't have reception: for example, download a translation app, or download Google maps offline so you will be able to get your bearings even without having online access.
3. Get out of your comfort zone ✨
When you travel solo, you have to be comfortable with asking for help. Whether it's from a local or the front desk at your hotel, there will be times when you're unsure of where to go and what to do. Do not hesitate to ask questions! You'll get more out of your trip if you're open-minded enough to meet new people and enjoy their company—and sometimes that means accepting guidance from those around you.
Asking questions opens doors for conversation and gives everyone involved a chance to share their opinions on the topic at hand; it's an excellent way of learning about other cultures and gaining perspective on how they see things differently than us!
To get out of your comfort zone and have unforgettable experiences:
- Meet the locals as they know the area best and you can skip out on the overrated tourist attractions
- Make friends at your accommodation so you don’t always have to see sights and eat at restaurants alone
- Try new things that you otherwise wouldn’t do at home
4. Practice safe alcohol consumption 🍷
This is vital for women in particular! It's important to stay aware of your surroundings while travelling solo. You should always know where you are going, how to get back if something goes wrong and what is around you at all times. This goes for when you’re drinking. While alcohol can be great for social bonding, there’s also the need to take care of your safety when drinking with people you’ve just met. The last thing you want is to get yourself in danger in a foreign place!
Limit your alcohol consumption and consume it only in safe environments, such as your accommodation or a restaurant or bar you've checked out before drinking there.
A few more tips:
- Don't drink more than you can handle. If you're going to be driving, don't drink at all!
- Don't drink in dangerous places (such as public streets) or with people that make you feel unsafe.
- Use your best judgement when drinking with strangers and avoid taking unnecessary risks.
5. Check in with friends and family 🤗
When you’re out in the world, it’s easy to forget that your friends and family back home need to know that you’re doing okay.
- Send close friends/family your itinerary, including what you’ll be doing and your flight/transport details.
- Let people know where you're going and when you'll be back, especially when exploring new places on your own for the first time.
- Don't go wanderlust crazy at the beginning of your trip and end up stumbling around drunk or passed out in some strange place without a phone signal while everyone is worried sick about where you are.
6. Enjoy the time alone 😌
The best thing about travelling solo? It’s really a choose-your-own-adventure. It can be liberating to only have to answer to your own needs and whims! Sure, go out and socialize when you're up for company. But beyond that, solo travel can be a great way to reconnect with yourself and your interests. You can take yourself out on indulgent dates, spend hours roaming a new city on your own time, decide spontaneously on what sight you want to see next. In the process, you'll be gaining new experiences and likely an increased sense of confidence and power in yourself.
Without a doubt, travelling solo will help you grow as a person, but it's important to be prepared. You can do this by doing your research on the destination, packing light, and getting a few things together before you go. We hope that these tips will help make your next trip a happy and safe one!
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