If you’re a fan of Law and Order: SVU or Lifetime movies, then you will understand the paranoia around solo travel especially for women.
Everyone is promoting solo travel (including me), even with the dangers lurking in the streets.
It’s ok to be afraid to go solo. Haven’t you wanted to hop on a plane and go somewhere with friends, but no one was interested in or had the money? When you and some friends were planning a trip, it was only you on the day of travel? Right?!
Yes, it’s frightening, but it’s also exciting. Solo travel IS just what you need. I’m not saying every trip must be alone but focus on your desires and your means to go for you and not based on everyone else.
Are you Nervous to take your First Solo Trip? Here are some tips to get you in the mindset:
Take it easy. You’re not the first or the last person who wants to take their first solo trip. There are plenty of resources that will help you feel inspired, plan, and travel. Here’s your guide to solo travel.
Take an Overnight Trip
Go somewhere within driving distance. Get comfortable navigating a brand new space and place. You are already equipped to solve problems like where to eat with Yelp, how to get places with Lyft, and where to sleep Airbnb. Allow yourself to explore a new place as you would overseas. Then you can progress to shorter trips farther than driving distance.
Tip: Review the Airbnb Guide here.
Go to Events Solo
If you’re not sold on going solo, not even an overnight trip, then try going to some local events alone. Traveling solo is like a skill. It takes practice to improve and strengthen if you want to put it to use. So try picking events where you’ll have less anxiety and don’t need to socialize as much. Or, join a crawl or a walking tour.
Address Your Fears
Most times anxiety builds when there are unknown circumstances. Like where to stay, where to eat, what to do, how to get around, etc. But, guess what? There are tons of resources on the internet. I like to rely on my friends and family opinions. I’m sure you do too. If that’s impossible, check out these facebook groups in this Solo Traveling Guide. The members share tons of advice about destinations around the world.
So now that you’ve sought out advice, tips, and ideas for your first solo trip, now it’s time to prepare the details. Having concrete details, at least for portions of your trip will help you deal with some of those first-time solo jitters you’re experiencing.
1. Flights: Your flight details are almost always saved in your calendar with Gmail. In case it isn’t, then make sure to write down your flight dates. Tip: Forward them too to your family and/or friends. They’ll want to know where and when you’re embarking on your first-time solo trip.
2. Where to stay: Where would you be comfortable staying during your travels? Are you focused on maintaining your budget or are you willing to splurge a bit on lodging? Answering these questions will give you some ideas on where to stay.
3. What to do: Plan for must-see locations and even a bit of hidden gems in the town or city you’re visiting. Remember those groups I suggested above, check them out for what to do and see.
4. Where to eat: This might be a little bit scary since more than likely you’ll be dining alone. Don’t be thought. With so many solo travelers around, you’ll find several travelers doing it. It’s empowering.
5. Weather: Look up the weather that way you’ll know what to pack. It’ll be pretty frustrating to pack summer clothing when it’s going to be cold.
6. Money: Focus on your finances before you leave for your trip. Before you use your card abroad, inform your bank where and when you’re going. You wouldn’t want to be in another country, and your bank blocks future transactions on your card. Also, if you plan to use your debit or credit card, speak with your bank about international and ATM fees. These fees rack up each time you swipe and/or withdraw money. Plan to take some cash abroad with you. You never know what may arise while traveling. At least you have some emergency cash that you can exchange at the airport, bank, or exchange store.
7. Safety: If you’re traveling abroad, enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. You’ll receive notifications of any emergencies happening in your area. The US Embassy will provide assistance during your time overseas. It’s free to create an account. Log your current or upcoming trip to stay alert to what’s happening around you while traveling. Also, you may want to buy some travel insurance in case you get sick or worse. *knocks on wood*
More safety tips: Know the local emergency number (i.e. police, fire, etc) when in another country
8. Don’t over-prepare: Sooo, this may sound hypocritical, but adventure comes naturally. Not everything will work in your favor. I’m not trying to jinx you, but an adventure is being able to adapt and discover things on your own. If you’re using every bit of advice found, then you’ve defeated the purpose of a solo trip. Solo = You. Don’t overwhelm yourself with every Youtube video or article on your destination.
Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you don’t get butterflies while doing something, then are you really taking a risk? Risk doesn’t mean dangerous or extreme. Risk is subjective. What is risk to you? One or two days in Greece? Hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro? If you wait for family and friends, will you ever get started?
First Time For Everything
The first time is the hardest. You must persuade yourself to commit to your plans. Book your flight. Hit confirm. Now, plan the rest of your trip. And, when you do, show up for your flight, at your hotel, at your scheduled tours or events.
1. I recommend before purchasing your flight, you ask and plan for the following:
- Is it safe for me to travel (insert country)? Check out the Travel Advisory
- Do I need a visa? Use Travisa
- Do I need a travel immunization? Find the nearest Passport Health
- Am I traveling internationally? Enroll in STEP
- How to purchase international insurance? Find coverage here.
Single and Childfree?
Who are you waiting for? You can pick up and go as you please. Well, that’s if you don’t have any familial or medical obligations. Travel solo at least once in your life. I always ask myself this one question when I want to know if I should do something: “Will I regret it when I’m 65 years old?” If the answer is yes, I do it.