Solo travel can be immensely rewarding. With no companions to compromise with, you get to travel solely on your terms. Do what you want to do, eat what you want to eat, and handle everything on your own schedule. It can also be a time to get to know yourself better and develop your independence. But making the leap to traveling alone can be daunting. Here are a few tips to make your first solo trip run smoothly.
When you’re traveling by yourself, you can’t just ask a companion to watch your luggage while you go to the restroom or grab a coffee. There will be many times you need to lug your bags with you wherever you go. Make it easy on yourself and pack light. It’s far easier to haul a carry-on into a bathroom stall with you than it is to drag two suitcases and a large purse behind you.
A key to staying safe when traveling solo is to know where you’re going. Look up directions from the airport or train station to your accommodations before arrival. You may want to download an app that allows you to use maps offline. If you’re loyal to Google Maps, search your destination and then type in “OK Maps” to save the area for offline use.
Stay in hostels
Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely. Hostels aren’t just inexpensive. They can also be very social. Your fellow guests may be a grab bag of personalities, but if you’re an extrovert, hostels can easily become your go-to for meeting new friends on the road. If you don’t want to stay in a dorm room, most hostels also have private rooms available for rent. You can have your own space, and still enjoy access to the common areas of the hostel. Many hostels even have organized social activities and events to help travelers break the ice.
Look up solo diner friendly restaurants
Eating alone can be a huge anxiety point for solo travelers. If you’re feeling nervous about asking for a table for one, do a little research in advance. Search for restaurants or cafes that are welcoming to solo diners. Blogs and travel forums can be a huge help in this. If you can, get a windowfront or outdoor table. Having plenty of people watching can help distract you and keep your mind off any anxieties about dining by yourself.
Splurge on day tours
Hostels always have lots of travelers passing through, but suppose you don’t hit it off with any of your dorm mates. Staying in the same hostel isn’t always enough of a commonality to forge a friendship. Work a few day tours into your budget to get around this. Whether you love musical theatre, food and wine, literature, or history, you can find a fun day tour in any destination. Indulging one of your interests and hobbies for a day won’t just be fun; it will put you in the path of other like-minded travelers. Day tours are an incredible ice breaker and worth the expense.