Travelling solo can be one of the most eye opening and positive experiences that you can have. When planning my first solo trip I remember thinking that I had done all of the required research and had all bases covered. When in reality, I hadn’t. But over time, through experience, the more travelling that I did and through listening to other peoples advice, I have managed to pick up and learn a few helpful tips that have stood me in good stead along the way. So if you are contemplating your first solo adventure but are a little hesitant and daunted by the whole thought of it that is fine- do not worry! Most people feel like that when traveling alone for the first time but I implore you to take that leap of faith and go for it as it will probably be one of the best and most exciting things that you ever do. To help you along your way and save you from making some of the mistakes that I first made, I have put together a quick list of 10 tips for planning your first solo trip- I hope you enjoy reading and find this helpful.
1)Get comfortable and confident with doing things on your own
If you are a little apprehensive about travelling alone for the first time then try getting comfortable and more familiar with doing things on your own before you leave. Going for a day trip or overnight stay somewhere in your own country first, whilst doing smaller things like eating out alone or grabbing a coffee by yourself can all be great ways off helping you to become more comfortable and confident spending time in your own company.
2)Do your research
Travelling solo means that the onus falls upon yourself to do everything. So before you leave I would advise that you do as much research as possible about the destinations that you are planning to visit. What visas and travel documents do I need? What is the local currency and language? What are best and safest neighbourhood’s to stay in? What travel links will be available to me? Do I need vaccinations? What is the cultural etiquette and do I need cultural appropriate clothing? All of these questions and many more need to be researched before leaving. So check travel blogs, read books, research online and seek advice from people who have travelled solo before so that you are ready and well informed before you leave.
3)Arrive during the day
Speaking from my own personal experience, I would always advise arriving during the daytime as it is always easier to compose and familiarise yourself with new surroundings during daylight. It is also a lot easier to manoeuvre your way around transportation, find your accommodation and stay safe during the day.
4)Plan how you are going to reach your accommodation
Research how you are going to reach your accommodation once you arrive at your destination. Whether you are arriving via train, plane or bus, do the necessary research on what transport links are available to you upon arrival and how much they cost. That way when you arrive you will have one less thing to worry about and will know exactly what is required to reach your accommodation.
Since you are travelling alone you will have sole responsibility for your luggage and will have to carry it everywhere that you go. That means you will want it to be as light as possible. Trust me, there is nothing worse than having to haul around heavy bags with clothing and equipment that you are probably never going to use. So streamline what you are going to take and only pack what you need. If you are unsure on whether to take something or not, then don’t. You can always pick items up along the way if you find that you need something that you don’t already have.
6)Choose accommodation that fits your needs and you are comfortable with
Decide upon accommodation that is tailored towards what you want and your needs. If you would appreciate your own space then book a single room or an Airbnb. If you would like to have company and meet people then consider booking into shared accommodation or a hostel. The bottom line is do what you are comfortable with and not what you feel as though solo travellers should or have to do.
7)Do what you want to do
It’s your adventure so do what you want to do. There are no right and wrongs when it comes to solo travel, so don’t feel as though you have to follow a perceived set of guidelines that you feel solo travellers must follow. Whether you want to relax with a coffee and book, explore with your camera, or meet new people and seek adventure, it’s entirely down to you and you should feel comfortable and confident with what you want to do.
As a solo traveller you will need to make sure that you stay vigilant. Be mindful of local crime and scams whilst you should also keep your valuables carefully hidden out of sight. Carry your accommodations address with you at all times, that way if you become lost and your phone loses battery you can find your way back safely. It is also a good idea to make a photocopy of your passport and travel documents just incase you lose or have them stolen, making it is much easier to obtain replacements. Make copies for yourself and keep them somewhere separate from your original passport. Whilst sending a copy to a relative or friend and letting them know your itinerary along with your plans is also advisable, and a good idea.
9)Have a backup plan
It is always a sensible idea to have backup cards and money in case of emergencies. Whether your bank blocks your card, you misplace it or have it stolen, you want to make sure that you have a couple of backup options at your disposal should such a situation arise. Store them in a separate location from your wallet, this way if your wallet gets stolen or lost, you are still able to have access to money during your travels. The same applies with cash, don’t keep it all in one place and that way you have a spare reserve to fall back on in case of an emergency.
Solo travel is a great way of broadening your horizons and learning more about yourself. You will realise that there is a whole world out there waiting to be discovered. You will encounter new cultures, meet new people and sample new experiences; all of which will help to open up your mind in a way that will help benefit and shape you as a person for years to come. So embrace the moment and enjoy yourself!
Considering traveling alone for the first time? If so where are you thinking about going on your first solo adventure? Leave your comments below.
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