If if this is your first time (or tenth time) traveling alone, you may be anxious. Maybe solo travel has always been a goal of yours. Or maybe there’s a specific reason you want to try it out. We’re going to practice getting you comfortable enough to be all on your own.
Traveling alone is extremely rewarding, giving you photos to look back on and say “I did that because I wanted to”. However, it is always best to be prepared and research how to stay safe before hopping on a plane to somewhere new.
Solo Travel Pushes You Out of Your Comfort Zone
Don’t let the idea of you being away from home stop you from experiencing something beautiful. Uncomfortable experiences help us learn and grow. By being pushed out of your comfort zone, you are also gaining independence and creativity. You can learn to make decisions on your own and solve problems easier. You may be put in a situation to where you have to ask for directions or assistance from your cashier, hotel staff, or a waiter. This can open many doors in communication and ideas!
Many solo travelers claim to feel inspired and creative from their trip. This can be from being able to completely submerge in their thoughts and ideas. Traveling expands your knowledge and can give you ideas that you never would have imagined in the company of others.
“I did it!”
You may feel accomplished after your adventure. This is because you were willing to take the step in doing things that you would normally do with others! Traveling alone enables you to discover not only parts of the world freely, but also parts of yourself that you never really focused on.
It is Easy to be Safe
You can still use your phone to get around without Wi-Fi. With an iPhone, pin your accommodation on Apple Maps and load the city’s map before leaving. You’ll still be able to see the map even without Wi-Fi. Keep a spare phone charger and a portable charger on you at all times.
It is also best to not get too drunk if you’re alone. Of course, sitting in a bar and people watching is a great way to pass an afternoon, but safety should be your main goal. Leave the drinking to the chaperoned bar crawls at night.
No matter where you travel, pickpockets will be roaming. As long as you do your part to keep safe, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. A purse or fanny pack with a flap that you wear backwards (flap side touching your body) is a lot harder to sneak into than keeping your phone in your pocket.
If you think you may feel lonely, traveling alone is never really traveling alone. Hostels are great for solo travelers—they plan group activities like walking history tours or bars crawls, and they will check in with you. It’s easy to find hostels to stay at in, especially using Hostelworld.com. Many have one-gendered rooms if staying in a mixed gender room isn’t comfortable and will have lockers to keep your personal items. There are also hostels with individual bedrooms if needed. These are great for extroverts and introverts alike, giving you an opportunity to meet new people while getting your own space. Solo traveling will push you towards many incredible experiences that you would never have had before.
Staying in hostels and using their free activities will help you make friends and find people to explore with while staying in a new city.
If you need some quiet time, you can find a nice café or park to soak in the new environment. Calling friends and family is always an option if you’re starting to feel homesick. The idea that you will miss your home should not stop you from seeking the world.
If you’re staying alone, you can always meetup with a group of strangers for events, activities, and community gatherings. There are numerous apps and websites that allow you to go to group outings with strangers!
Apps for group activities: Eventbrite, Meetup, Airbnb
Try To Leave the Material Items at Home
Traveling solo is not the best time to accessorize or wear your most expensive looking clothing, especially if you’re wondering around alone in a market square. Limit how much jewelry and excessive designer brands you wear. As a solo traveler, you may want to limit the unease of potential threats. When walking around with your expensive camera, make sure you use the neck strap to carry it. Depending on your destination, you can also cover expensive gear with a jacket.
Research Where You’re Going
In addition to the Apple Maps hack, ask your hostel candidly what parts of town should be avoided (this is a fact of every city in every country—but don’t let it scare you away!). You may want to see the red-light district, but if you do adventure alone, going in the daylight or with a guide can make you feel safer.
Traveling solo is an incredible way to push your limits and find yourself. This is your trip and your time away—make it the best trip ever!
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