Hey there! Today I have a great post by Michelle Laury, an aspiring writer who enjoys cycling, fitness, researching healthy life choices and trying to implement them. She loves spending time in the fresh air, in Hogwarts and the Shire, daydreaming about faraway places and, most of all, visiting them. You can reach her via Twitter and Facebook.
Michelle has some great tips for preparing for your first solo trip – read on to make sure you’re on point!
Have you ever woken up from a dream and felt like something was missing? You don’t really know what the dream was about, but suddenly you feel an emptiness you have to fill, your feet start itching, you can’t sit still or concentrate. You start daydreaming about faraway places and decide to visit one of them.
You find the time in your busy schedule, take time off from work and start planning. Everything seems to be going perfectly until you ask a friend to keep you company on your next adventure. The friend doesn’t have wanderlust, can’t find time, or won’t travel without her SO.
And then you get this daunting thought of traveling solo. You think how it will be simpler to make plans, you’ll meet new people, have a drama-free adventure, and spend quality time with the most important person in your life (you!).
Even though your first solo trip might be the best experience of your life, planning for it can get stressful and scary. You may feel lost wondering how to approach it and worried about getting lonely. Here are some tips that will make it easier.
Get in the Travel-Alone Spirit
Yes, this is a thing. If you hold onto your fears of traveling alone, you may never actually take that leap. You must change your mindset if you wish to take this adventure on by yourself. This means you must start focusing on the positive aspects of the journey. Don’t worry about what could go wrong, think about all the fun and exciting things you’ll see and experience.
Your journey begins at the end of your comfort zone. Consider doing things that aren’t your cup of tea before you leave for your trip. That way, you will get used to challenging yourself.
Appease Your Loved Ones
Sometimes it feels as though being doubted by friends and loved ones is worse than doubting yourself. Those who care for you will probably feel anxious and wonder why you want to embark on this journey alone. There are ways to settle their fears, however.
Start by making sure you can explain a solid plan to them. Write up an itinerary for their (and your) benefit. Provide them with contact information and the names of the places you’ll be staying. Keep in touch with them when you go, as this will not only alleviate their fears but yours as well. Set a precise time when you’ll definitely call them and create a Facebook group where you’ll post every day.
Choose the Destination Wisely
You are already stepping out of your comfort zone, don’t make it harder. Choose a destination you are familiar with – either a place you visited a long time ago or you know from friends’ stories. Also, some places will automatically be safer for a solo traveler than others.
Use social networking sites to find people who live in the chosen destination. Ask them about the safest areas, so you can steer clear of the danger zones. They can also be your tour guides for a day or two when you get there. Find out where the best pubs and restaurants are, where to shop for food, how to travel around. Learn some useful phrases of the local language.
Book the Right Accommodations
Finding a safe, secure, and affordable place to stay on your solo journey is extremely important. Solo travelers mostly opt for hostels for their affordability. They are a great choice if you want to meet other wanderers.
If you, on the other hand, want to meet locals, you can choose to stay with a local family in their house. You will have your family away from family, but you will depend on their schedule and won’t be as free as you might have wanted. Couchsurfing is the cheapest option – you can sleep on someone’s couch for free. Besides the couch, you’ll get company.
However, you are traveling alone, so it’s safe to assume you want to relax and de-stress. To be the master of your time, renting a room off AirBnB is a fantastic option. These are usually affordable and safe options, but err on the side of caution when booking a home or room with any host. You don’t want your safe haven to cause you even more stress.
Whichever you choose, make sure it has great reviews by regular contributors, check if the property has WiFi, all the amenities you need, and that it is close to the city center or a public transport station.
One of the most important parts of traveling alone is safety. Take precautions. Leave phone numbers and addresses with family and friends in case they need to get a hold of you. Keep an emergency card in your wallet, one that has your name and an emergency contact person listed in case something happens to you. Consider investing in travel insurance and download safety apps on your phone.
When traveling solo, you’re going to want to pack as light as possible, since there will be no one by your side to assist with your bags and luggage. Bring clothing that can be layered to keep up with the weather. Pack travel size toiletries so they’re convenient and can safely be taken on a plane.
Bring a journal where you’ll write down your thoughts every now and then. Don’t forget a book to keep you company while eating alone. Bring a tablet so you can watch movies on the days you don’t feel like going out.
Traveling solo is easily one of the most exciting, invigorating things you will ever do. You’ll experience things that so many people never will, and you’ll learn things about yourself that you had no idea you were capable of doing. Plan well, pack lightly, be safe, and make your dreams come true.