Traveling alone doesn’t have to seem lonely. Personally, my solo travel jaunts have always been very fulfilling experiences, where I’ve learned a great deal about myself. Nothing gives you quite the same chance at self-discovery as travel, and when you’re setting off by yourself that opportunity doubles. Solo travel does mean that you’ll be facing every little bump and challenge by yourself, but relying on your own ingenuity also means realizing how capable you really are! Keep these tips in mind to help you discover your best self on the road.
Have a Plan
While it’s not necessary to fully map out every minute of your travel vacation, it is good to know your basic itinerary in advance. Make sure you know important data like flight info, your hotel address and phone number, and any emergency contact information beforehand, and that you have access to one or more copies of it. Keep the information in your phone. Print a copy and keep it with your important documents. Being prepared now helps avoid complications later.
For added support and security, give a copy of your itinerary and contact information to a loved one at home and check in regularly by phone or email.
Don’t Panic When the Plan Changes
Trains will be late. Your suitcase will break open. You will get lost and be wholly unable to find your hotel in the maze of unfamiliar streets. It’s okay. Complications and chaos are a natural part of travel. Even though solo travel means less baggage to manage and less people to corral, it won’t fully eliminate the risk. The difference between a travel horror story and an exciting adventure to share later is all in your willingness to adapt in the moment and your attitude in hindsight.
Take a deep breath, find somewhere to sit and think (preferably with WiFi access) and come up with a new plan. You’ll get there when you get there and it will still be enjoyable.
Remain Open to New Opportunities
One of the best parts of traveling alone is that you don’t have to stick to the itinerary if a better opportunity comes along. With no one to coordinate plans, you’re free to change them! This can be as simple as deciding which activity to pursue in the moment, checking out of a hotel early, or even staying later if you’re having too great a time to leave! Just make sure to adjust your itinerary’s important information and to let anyone who might be expecting you know about your change of plans.
Always Carry Important Documents
Always, always, always carry your emergency documents hidden somewhere on you. Hidden travel wallets are perfect for this purpose. I also keep a photo of my passport on my phone and in my email, just in case.
Include identification (your passport or a photocopy), emergency cash or a credit card (make sure it will be compatible with local currency or ATMs), and contact information for the hotel where you are staying, as well for anyone who you might be checking in with regularly. This will not only help you in case of a minor trouble (pointing at an address is much easier than trying to speak a foreign language if you end up lost) but can also be used to keep your loved ones informed in case of an emergency such as unplanned hospitalization.
For more information, see our checklist for overseas travel and tips for keeping your valuables safe while traveling.
Have you taken a solo trip?