Solo travel – one of the great ways to strip away the extra layers and look within. Ask nearly any seasoned traveler and they’ll tell you everyone needs to at least try it once in their life. The world, and the way you interact with it, is inherently different when you’re entirely alone in a foreign land. Nobody else to rely on, nobody else to blame when things go wrong, either. You don’t have to account for others, or plan for others, you can just be you. You can try out new things without anyone to judge, you can go wherever you please, whenever you like.
Want to live entirely on chocolate and coffee for a month and spend three hours a day browsing bookstores? Do it. Want to go to the beach in Biarritz every single day until you either learn to surf, learn French, and/or find love? Why not?
The greatest benefit of travelling alone is exactly as it sounds. You are alone. There’s nobody to be accountable to. Your plans and timeline are yours and yours alone.
The reality is that at home, most people think nothing of being alone quite often. We go to work, go grocery shopping, grab a coffee, and maybe even a movie totally alone. But, for some reason, travelling alone is a scary thought. Often people will actually avoid going on vacation simply because they don’t have someone to travel with. We hope with a few helpful tips, you can find the inspiration to take that trip. And who knows, maybe that perfect person to travel with is already out there!
Plan ahead (A bit)
Regardless of whether you’re going for a weekend, a month, or have no end date in sight, it’s important to have a strong footing to get started. Give yourself a week or so of booked nights so you know where you’ll be sleeping and a few sights to see or spots to keep you entertained as you get used to this new experience. If you’re a big planner, you can certainly plan further out, but if you’re more spontaneous, a week should be just fine.
Share your info with someone you trust
Whether it’s a parent, best friend, or a favorite aunt, have someone at home who can help you out. Leave them with pictures of all your important documents such as your passport, travel tickets, schedule, and even your bank cards, if you feel comfortable. This is all just to be safe, and hopefully you would never need it, but if you do happen to leave your passport on the train, or your bank card in the ATM then you will be glad there’s someone to call who can help.
Share your trip ,too
It’s important that someone knows where you are. Maybe you’re fine with your mom having your bank details, but don’t want to share your exact whereabouts with her. That’s totally fine. But you should consider picking someone you can trust with this info. Share where you are, and where you are going next. Ideally hotel names and room numbers, etc, but at least what town you are in and when you intend to move on to the next place. If you get a little lost on your big hike and are stuck in the woods with a broken ankle, you really would benefit from someone knowing that you went on the hike, and haven’t checked in since. While this is unlikely to happen, it doesn’t hurt to have someone to share tales of your journey with. Someone to talk to about your escapades. Just because you don’t have a friend along for the journey doesn’t mean you can’t share your journey with someone important to you.
Trust your instincts
Make friends, but keep your head on your shoulders. Most people you’ll meet on your travels are just like you. Just people that happen to live in a different place. Some people don’t have great intentions, but if you just trust your instincts and follow the same rules you would at home, you should be just fine. Don’t be afraid to have fun and meet new people. But if someone walks up to you and is eager to meet you, speaking your own language and feels like they are trying to sell you something, but has nothing to sell, get on your way. They are likely up to no good.
Hostels, bed and breakfasts, and small hotels are great places to stay if you’re looking for other travelers. These accommodations are nearly everywhere you want to be, inexpensive, and a great source of local information. Most people who work in the locations are travelers themselves, so they know your needs and the kinds of events and sights you’ll want to see. Some hostels are quiet and more like hotels, others are more like party houses with a bar that also rents rooms. It is usually quite obvious which kind you are at, and the staff will let you know as well. Choose accordingly. Both have their value, but be warned, you may not get much sleep at a party hostel.
Bed and breakfasts and small, boutique lodging is a great way to have your own private space, but also a built-in location to meet others and share a coffee or breakfast.
Leave room for new plans
One major selling point for solo travel is you can live in the moment and experience life as it happens. Leave room for that. Meet a cool group at breakfast who are taking the train tonight to Budapest and they invite you? Why not! Decide three days of Amsterdam rain is too much and want to hit the beach in Ibiza tomorrow? Do it. Don’t box yourself in too tight once you have gotten comfortable with your solo travel. Certainly don’t plan the whole trip before you leave home. Solo travel can be the most free you will ever be. Don’t clip your wings before you leave the ground.
Ready to start planning a wonderful solo trip?
We could go on forever about the joys of taking a solo trip, but you get the idea. We have tons of recommendations about the best destinations for a solo trip that suit any desires. Get in touch with us, and let’s get planning!