Why don’t you take your next vacation by yourself?
When you take trips with others, you have to make sacrifices. Everyone has an opinion about everything. Where to eat, what to do, where to go. You don’t always get your way. When you travel alone, you can do whatever you want. Are you tired and don’t feel like doing anything? Stay in bed. Do you want to go shopping all day? Go ahead. You want to sit and stare at a beautiful building for an hour? Stare away.
It sounds scary. But, as someone who has done it, I’ve had my most gratifying, memorable experiences, traveling all by myself.
I remember when I was in China and I spent hours looking for one building. I had the address, but it was in Mandarin. The street signs were in squiggly lines that meant nothing to me. I was about to give up when I finally found it! All by myself. I felt like the queen of the world.
When you travel alone, even the smallest accomplishments feel huge. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Before you go anywhere, always be informed. Have a plan B. Even a plan C. You can never be over prepared.
2. Use logic and instincts.
Don’t go down dark alleys at night. Don’t take a ride from a stranger. If you feel uncomfortable doing something, don’t do it. Follow your instincts. If you wouldn't do it at home, don’t do it away from home. The world is a much safer place than people think. If you are well informed and prepare for your trip, you will ace it.
3. Read up on the culture.
Look up the culture, customs, local food, music, traditions — everything. Don’t just research about restaurants and what to do. There are places where women can’t show their bare legs. Make sure you know these things before you get in trouble! When in doubt, do as the locals do.
4. Drink responsibly.
Don’t black out. Do not take drinks from strangers. Stay in control at all times.
5. Tell someone where you are.
Give someone your itinerary, flight, and hotel information. Tell them if there is a change in your plans. Check in every few days, even if you just to say “hi.”
6. It’s okay to get lonely.
This will be part of your trip, too. When you sit at restaurant in a table for one and you start feeling lonely … it’s only temporary. Keep in mind that you are doing something awesome for yourself. Either way, you will always strike up a conversation with someone. I promise.