10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your First Solo Travel Experience
It can be scary to venture out on your own to a strange place where you don’t know anyone, and if you travel overseas, you likely don’t know much about the culture or the native language.
While the initial thought of traveling somewhere completely on your own is one of major hesitation, you should stop yourself and really consider it.
Traveling on your own can be a really liberating experience.
Learn to step outside of your comfort zone, meet new people and learn new things about yourself. Everyone should have a solo travel experience at least once in their lifetime. One of the best parts of flying solo is that you travel on your own terms. Do what you want, see what you want, eat what you want, sleep in if you want – you get the idea.
The trick to traveling solo is to prepare yourself beforehand. Read on for ten tips to get the most out of your solo travel experience.
1. Save Your Money
Save, save, save. Don’t go on a trip unless you can pay for it out of your bank account. You don’t want to return home fully refreshed from a great vacation, and then have to stress over your next credit card bill. Make yourself work towards your dream vacation by budgeting and planning ahead for it. Set a financial travel goal so you have an idea of how much your trip will cost.
2. Set a Travel Budget
Anytime you travel, you should put together a travel budget beforehand so you don’t have to waste time worrying about if you can afford to do this or that. Do your research and have your accommodations, activities and meals planned out beforehand, then create a budget for your trip. All you’ll have to do is follow your plan.
Make sure you leave some wiggle room for flexible spending, just in case.
3. Choose the Right Destination
Whether you have somewhere in mind or just need to get away — anywhere — there are great sources available for your destination planning.
Read recommendations from other solo travelers to find out some of the best places to visit. This way you learn ahead of time what to expect, and therefore get a better idea of what you’re looking for.
4. Carefully Decide Where to Stay
Get the most out of your stay, and choose a hotel with a variety of amenities like free wifi, dining options, activities and events, a concierge who can answer questions, etc. It’s worth it to research available Airbnbs because sometimes they offer more amenities, convenience and pricing.
Stay with local homeowners when you Couchsurf, an option similar to Airbnb but free. Wherever you choose to stay, make sure you’re able to find multiple positive ratings and reviews.
5. Don’t Over Pack
Remember, you’ll have to lug around whatever you pack, so don’t weigh yourself down with unnecessary baggage. Be practical, and only pack what you need.
It’s ok to repeat outfits, wear the same pair of shoes and keep it simple. You may think you’ll need multiple options of everything, but once you get to your destination, your focus will shift to where you are, not what you wear.
It’s ok to update your friends and family every once in a while on Facebook with a cool selfie or check-in, but don’t become too wrapped up in social media or your phone’s camera. See things through your own eyes, and put the camera down every now and then. Same goes for Instagram — log off, and put your phone away so you can live in the moment.
7. Explore As Much As You Can
Don’t get too comfortable at your hotel or Airbnb. The world is your oyster, so venture out into the unknown and explore. Take a walk around town, find a hiking trail, hop on public transportation and ride around to see different things, and don’t be afraid to get a little lost so you can make the most of your surroundings.
8. Talk to People
Get out on the town and meet the locals and other travelers who are also looking to connect with new people. Go out to a local café or restaurant and sit at the bar.
Sign up for tours to meet other solo travelers like yourself and get to know your neighbors. If you’re in Italy, Thailand or another country with ethnic cuisine, sign up for a cooking class to meet people and also make an authentic dish.
Don’t be afraid to get out there and introduce yourself, and remember, people are inherently kind.
9. Say Yes and Try New Things
Put yourself out there and try new things — just say yes...if it’s legal. Take a trip to a local deli or restaurant and order the most popular dish on the menu without worrying too much about what it is.
Attend a party alone to meet new people. If you’re afraid of heights, make this the trip where you face your fear. Solo trips are all about life-changing experiences, so let them happen.
10. Keep a Travel Journal
There’s no doubt you will have a different mind-set from the time before you leave for your trip and the time you return home. Journal about your trip to your destination, then about the different things you do and explore, then trip back home.
Write about the people you meet, the foods you try and the things you learn about yourself. You’ll love to look back on your adventures and relive the memories.
Don’t knock solo travel just because it sounds intimidating and scary. Some of your greatest experiences will come from a trip abroad by yourself — where you can step outside of your comfort zone, face your fears, try new things, meet new people and really venture out into the world. With these ten tips, you’re sure to get the most out of your first solo travel experience.