In today’s world, traveling is the best way to learn more about the world we live in. Traveling alone is much different than traveling with others, but it doesn’t mean it’s any less fun. The thought of traveling alone can be intimidating. However, once you have the confidence to go on your own you’ll quickly realize that solo travel has many advantages. It opens the door for new opportunities, incredible experiences, and independence. Here’s how to travel alone for the first time.
In this guide on how to travel alone, we’ve broken down the article into six sections:
- Before You Leave For Your Trip
- When You Get There
- When You’re Eating
- When You’re Sightseeing
- When You’re Going Out At Night
- When You’re Back at Home
1. Before You Leave For Your Trip
Figure out your travel budget.
Save up before you go and know your budget once you’re there. There’s nothing worse than worrying about the debt you’ll face once you get home, so ensure your trip is paid off and that you won’t have to think about getting back in the black. This way, when you do return from your trip, you can start saving for the next vacation. If you’re not sure how to save for your travels, here’s some expert advice.
Get your documents in order.
Buy travel insurance, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. You never know when it could come in handy, and it’ll save you in the long run. Do your research beforehand to figure out what insurance is recommended for the country you’re visiting, and get to know what costs your insurance company does and doesn’t cover. Ensuring your passport is up to date and that you check the proper visa requirements for the country you’re traveling to are also top priorities before booking a trip.
You don’t want to be carrying around heavy luggage, especially when it’s just you. Having a light load will allow you to get around more easily. Not to mention the fact that if you only bring carry-on luggage on the flights, there’s no chance the airline will lose your belongings. Pack the bare minimum and leave room for souvenirs for your loved ones.
Figure out a phone plan.
And finally, before you leave for your trip, figure out how you’ll keep in touch with your friends and family back home. That could mean ensuring there’s Wi-Fi where you’re staying or purchasing a phone plan that allows you to roam without wildly increasing your bill. Regardless, you’re going to want to let everyone know you’re doing well, and you’re going to want to share pictures of your trip!
2. When You Get There
Find social accommodations.
Stay in a social place. Homestays or room rentals, like those found on Airbnb or NextTrip, are the ideal way to connect with locals, as your landlord can give you tips about the area. Hostels are also a great place for the solo traveler and they allow you to connect with other travelers. Using apps like Meetup can help you find events and activities that are happening in your area, and will give you the opportunity to be social and meet new people.
Learn a bit of the local language.
Adapt to your surroundings and learn a little bit of the local language. Make an effort to learn a few words and phrases before traveling, so that your bases are covered. Knowing how to introduce yourself, how to ask for directions, and how to order a beer can make a big difference once you’re abroad.
Learn your way around.
Study a map. Know the area that you’re staying in, as well as the areas you want to go to. Being aware of where you are, especially in relation to where you’re staying, will help you feel less lost and alone. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help, it will allow you to meet locals and engage in conversation. It’s also a good idea to have the local police and hospital numbers programmed into your phone, just in case.
Be approachable and curious, ask a lot of questions and put yourself out there. It’s the only way you’ll be able to meet new people and share new experiences. See if the area offers any sort of tours or excursions that you would be interested in, this group setting will help you encounter like-minded individuals and can help put you at ease when introducing yourself to strangers.
3. When You’re Eating
Don’t shy away from restaurants just because you’re dining on your own. Eat wherever you want to, you’re on vacation. From the most expensive meals ever to the craziest things to eat, there are so many cool things for you to try around the world. Becoming a regular at spots near your hotel or homestay can help you get to know the staff, and they, in turn, will get to know what you like and can offer up recommendations for other places. Sitting at the bar or a communal table can ease the awkwardness of eating alone and can even push you towards meeting others who are in the same situation. And if all else fails, it’s fine to take a book as your dinner date.
4. When You’re Sightseeing
Get oriented. Know where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. Plan out your days so that you don’t feel bored or lonely. Your schedule is entirely up to you! Take advantage of that and hit the town, stopping whenever you feel like it. Walk around to get the most out of your surroundings and take local transit to get a good feel of an area.
Take pictures! It’s important to document your trip and it’s easy to forget to do so when you’re on your own. Your friends and family will want to see the great time you had once you’re back, and you’ll want to be able to look back on these memories for years to come. And thanks to social media, being able to instantly share pictures is a great way to feel less lonely while traveling alone.
5. When You’re Going Out At Night
Make sure it’s safe. Ask the staff at your hotel or the manager of your vacation rental if the area you plan on visiting is safe at night for tourists. Read reviews online to ensure you’re heading to a worry-free spot. It’s important to do your research beforehand so that you don’t find yourself in a rough part of town.
At bars and restaurants, it’s smart to connect with the staff. Let them know you arrived there alone and that you’re from out of town. Keep your wits about you and keep your valuables safe. Watch your drink and keep an eye on your bag. You won’t have friends around to help you out of a bad situation, so it’s important to be mindful of how much alcohol you consume when you’re on your own.
Plan your transportation wisely. Know how you’re getting somewhere and how you plan on getting back. Never get in a car with a stranger, confirm that all rides are legitimate and safe, and always be aware of your surroundings so that you know you’re heading in the right direction. You never want to be stuck in a taxi for an hour only to find out you were heading in the opposite direction of your hotel.
6. When You Get Back Home
When you get back home, you’ll be ready to travel alone again. Remember all the great things about traveling alone. You can go wherever you want, eat whatever you want, and you’re on your own schedule. You can change your mind on a whim and sleep for as long as you feel like. You’re on the exact trip that you want to take, all you needed was a passport and a positive attitude.
There’s a real freedom in traveling alone that should never be overlooked or taken for granted. And once you get used to taking trips on your own, you’re ready for unique ways to travel, unbelievable adventure travel experiences, and crazy trips that your mom definitely won’t support.