Solo traveling is pure bliss. If you’re new to the idea, this may sound outlandish. Imagine planning a trip to your favorite destination according to your own schedules, budget, and interests without having to string neither family nor friends along. No disappointment, no restrictions, no boundaries! Just you, ready to experience nature and the world at its finest. What could be more thrilling?
While traveling alone comes with sweet perks, the thought of it might scare you a little as a black woman. It can become rather overwhelming because there’s so much to consider. The good news is, you don’t need to stress because I’ve got you. No more missing out on travel opportunities simply because you’re unsure of how to plan. Now is the best time to plan your first solo trip. Here are my personal tips and faves that’ll guide you through everything you’d need to plan and experience your solo trip.
As a beginner, the first step before setting out on any solo trip is to get the essentials ready. Your flight tickets, accommodation, rental car and restaurant reservations are some of the essentials you should sort out before getting to your destination. You sure don’t want to arrive at your destination and end up without a roof over your head for the night. Your pre-trip essentials should include:
1. Picking a country
Naturally, before you embark on a trip you need to have an idea of your destination spot. Luckily, there’s a wealth of resources online that can help you pick a cool spot within your budget that works best for your personality. Here’s a few:
But don’t forget to check if you need a visa:
2. Flight Fares
Flight fares will snatch a huge chunk of your budget. You’ll have to make the most of it by frequenting websites that offer great deals prior to your trip. But before you go anywhere to book your trip, see which travel site is the best:
The following will also help you get the best flight deals:
3. Travel Insurance
Sometimes, black people get nonchalant about certain things such as insurance. Don’t take chances. It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. A few travel insurance vendors you can check out to select which works best for you include:
Usually when we think of travel accommodation, what comes to mind is hotels. While this is a cool option, there are equally more affordable options for those with a slimmer budget. Try these:
Check out my guide on How to Survive Your Airbnb Stay
Alternatively, you can opt for solo vacation packages which have all your essentials catered to in a single package at a subsidized price. Save some money with less stress, easy peasy. Find them here:
5. Restaurant reservations
If you’re big on luxury or you have a unique preference, then you might want to have this settled before you get to your destination. Otherwise, you can just dine with the locals and get accustomed to their way of life. Finding the right restaurant shouldn’t be a problem using these:
6. Pack your bags
By now, you know where you want to go and you’ve made all necessary reservations. Next up is to jump right into backpacking. You don’t want to forget something that will end up making your trip a disaster. Ensure that all the documents required are complete. Also, pack outfits that suit your pre-planned activities such as hiking boots, swimwear, etc. It’s best to work with a checklist. The resources below will be helpful:
For a black woman on a solo trip, safety is one of the major issues you’ll have to keep in check always.
Trust your instincts. If your gut says something is off, it most probably is. Stay polite and kind to the locals. Ensure at least two people know your location at every point in time. The following apps can check in your location so your friends know where you are at every point:
Whenever it’s getting late or you feel like you have had a little too much alcohol, hail a cab to take you to your destination. Popular cab-hailing platforms available which can be downloaded on your mobile phone are:
2. Make new friends
Traveling solo doesn’t mean you have to be by yourself all the time, it’s going to get lonely. Good thing is, it doesn’t have to be. There are apps that can help you meet new people and make friends while traveling. These apps can also link you with a local that can serve as a travel guide:
You can also join travel groups on Facebook. Here are some of them:
3. Book a tour
Solo traveling in an unfamiliar territory can be confusing. You may need to book a tour to relieve you from the burden of having to discover everything by yourself. There’s really no point in reinventing the wheel. Simply book a tour where you get to sit back, relax and enjoy the experience without any worries. Here’s a few tour sites for your perusal:
*If you participate in a walking tour, be sure to download the Charity Miles app. It pays to move.
4. Document your travel experience
One beautiful thing about traveling is that it gives you stories to tell and we know that stories shouldn’t be hoarded, they should be shared. Asides the commonly used social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, there are many platforms that are specially designed to allow for travel journaling. You don’t have to wait till you’re back because you might miss out on some juicy details. Here are a few examples you should check out:
5. Give back
We all travel for different reasons, but one common factor is that we don’t leave the same. We amass memories and friends that can last a lifetime. This is why you should strive to make a positive impact and give back in some way. Join the sustainable travel movement.
Unsure about how to travel sustainably? These should help:
There are also organizations that support and work on making travel more sustainable. You can join in and see how you can be a part of the movement here:
Still skeptical about traveling solo?
You are not alone. Some fellow black girls have become experts in traveling solo and willingly share their experiences to motivate other girls to savor the experience of solo travel. Feel free to look through this list of black women travel blogs and communities:
Here’s to an amazing solo trip!
P.S. Be on the lookout for a downloadable guide!