Everyone, at some point in their lives, should try traveling completely alone. It's a whole different way to experience new places, people, and cultures, and you can learn a lot about yourself in the process. It can be hard and sometimes lonely, but overall, it's an amazing way to reflect and spend some time doing things your way - how and when you want to. If you're planning an adventure alone, here are some tips to make it the best trip ever.
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- Plan your itinerary beforehand. Give a copy to someone back at home so a person knows (generally) where you will be at any given time. Schedule a set check-in with a friend or family member.
- Choose where you're staying carefully. Especially if you are staying in hostels, couch-surfing, or renting an Airbnb, you should choose the place based on those with a lot of good reviews and transparent websites.
- Pack light. Since you won't have an extra hand around to help you lug your bags from place to place, pack lighter for your trip to allow yourself more mobility.
- Take a walking tour of the city you're in. When you first arrive, try to get in a guided walking tour of the city so you get a better idea of your surroundings, which will make getting around a lot easier for the rest of your trip.
- Bring a portable charger. Avoid finding yourself in an unfamiliar place or situation with no way to navigate out of it. Make sure you start the day with a fully charged phone and keep a backup portable charger (or two) on you at all times.
- Meet new people. When you're with someone else, it's easy to interact just with your partner or group. When traveling alone, be open to meeting new people so that you have companions along the way throughout your trip.
- Bring entertainment! At least some of the time, you'll be dining alone, taking transportation alone, and touring new places alone. Make sure you have a good book, some novels loaded on your Kindle, and your favorite travel music downloaded to your phone. Use a language app or book to pick up phrases in your location's primary language, or use a guide book to plan your next adventure.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Single travelers are more easy to target, so travel smart. Keep your money in a safe place, and always be aware of your surroundings - especially at night. Research the neighborhoods you plan on staying in and visiting as well!
- Embrace your outgoing side. If you're looking to meet new people, take the initiative to introduce yourself to those you encounter, and be willing to adopt a "go with the flow" attitude if you connect with them for any outings during your trip. If minimal human interaction is what you're looking for in your solo travel, that's OK, too! Instead, embrace your outgoing side by challenging yourself to try activities, food, drinks, and experiences you haven't had before.
- Don't parade the fact that you're alone. Be cautious about letting strangers know that you are traveling solo. For safety's sake!
- Accept that sometimes it will be awesome, and sometimes it will be hard. While there are definitely pluses to traveling alone (you can do exactly what you want, when you want!), be ready for some inconveniences along the way that you may not be used to having only traveled with others. You might feel lonely at times, but when you do, that's the perfect excuse to get out and meet fellow travelers or locals.
- Keep the address of where you're staying on you at all times. In case you get lost or end up somewhere you don't want to be, have a copy of the place you're staying written down so that - particularly if you don't speak the language - you can show to cab driver, who will be able to get you to where you need to go.
- Be adventurous! You're getting to call the shots, so don't be afraid to go off the beaten path and try something you maybe wouldn't if you were traveling with someone else.
- Give yourself time to reflect. It's not often that we get time completely to ourselves to think and take everything in. Solo travel is the perfect opportunity to go at your own pace, enjoy the moment, and experience everything in a unique way.