5 Tips for Solo Travel
I am usually most comfortable cuddled up on a couch or in bed, wrapped up in a million blankets, reading a book or binge watching the latest Netflix show. While this can be quite enjoyable, it doesn’t really allow me to go out and try these new adventures on my own. Sure I can watch all of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, but watching it is definitely not the same as living it.
Over the years, I have slowly gained the confidence to just go out and try things by myself. I found that if I was constantly waiting for someone else to live these experiences with me, I was never going to see all the places I wanted to see. So traveling on my own became something that I grew to appreciate (psst. stay tuned for another post all about that). But in the mean time, here are 5 tips and tricks that I learned along the way to make solo traveling easier and more attainable for people.
DON’T BE AN IDIOT - You would think that this wouldn’t need to be said but alas, here we are. Trust your gut. If you feel like you shouldn’t be going somewhere, don’t. If you think that you aren’t feeling well, stay inside. Remember that there isn’t anyone there to take care of you so you HAVE to take care of yourself. Drink your water, pack some medicine, always put yourself first.
Do your research - Have a plan of where you wanna go and what you want to do. If you want to have some time to aimlessly wander, put that in your schedule. Sure you aren’t traveling with other people so it feels like you can do what you want, when you want it, but it’s also important to have some sort of a schedule so you can let the folks back home know what you are up to. Taking it back to the ‘don’t be an idiot’ tip, if you tell someone your plan, you are putting your safety first so they know you are ok. Trust me, your mom (or in my case my grandmother) will appreciate it.
Stay in hostels - They are usually located close to city centers and used to people traveling alone. They can give you tips on where to eat, what is most affordable, and you can usually find people who are traveling alone or in small groups too. They also usually provide you with a way to lock up your valuables while you are out adventuring and give you a place to keep your suitcase before it’s time for you to check in.
Don’t be cheap - Safety before frugality. This is probably the biggest mistake you can make. I always figure out a way to have internet access at all times. Usually, this involves purchasing a local SIM card for your phone. These days, most phones come unlocked but you can always call your service provider before you leave just to double check. I personally think that having cell phone access while traveling is important because it helps you look like you are blending in and are local. Most 20 somethings are walking around looking at their phones all the time. They don’t need to know that I am actually looking at a map or a translator. When it is late at night, spend the money to take a taxi home rather than walking by yourself. That sketchy looking hotel a million miles away may be the cheapest, but it probably isn’t the safest either. Don’t be cheap, be safe.
Sign up for group tours - Just because you are traveling by yourself doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your time alone. Group tours give you a chance to meet people with similar interests and you get to avoid awkward small talk because you can talk to them about whatever you are on the tour for. It is a nice thing to do when you have spent enough time on your own and feel the need to socialize a bit. Most of the time, hostels also have great connections to group tours and bar crawls that give you an opportunity to socialize as well.
Obviously, there is a lot more that goes into traveling on your own and it changes depending on where you are visiting. But as I was sitting eating breakfast, planning my next trip, I figured I would jot down these VERY generic tips just to get your mind thinking. 5 quick tips, there ya have it folks.