Solo travel is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. And while it may seem uncomfortable at first and push you out of your comfort zone, the activities you try, the people you meet, and the culture you experience are all an immersive part of the adventure. In fact, it’s rather freeing to not be tied to anyone else’s schedule and to be able to do exactly what you want when you want without compromise. Give it a try – I bet you’ll find it rather addictive.
Solo travel is a way to get to know yourself better. It’ll make you more reflective and in tune with your feelings. But that’s not to say it’s all sunshine and rainbows. There are certain considerations to keep in mind when you’re on your own. Be vigilant and trust your instincts to stay safe, sane and able to fully enjoy the experience. If you’re looking to have the adventure of a lifetime by yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Enjoy Your Own Company
There are tons of guides on ways to make friends on the road (like staying in hostels because they’re more social), but you should also embrace the rush of being on your own. Eating at restaurants alone can be intimidating with many resorting to hiding behind books or devices, but being alone doesn’t have to mean lonely. Really make an effort to be present. It will make you more acutely aware of your surroundings and more in touch with your feelings.
Traveling solo also offers the opportunity to be selfish. Spend as much time (or as little!) in each place. Order as many gluttonous dishes as you want and people watch to your heart’s content. You’ll find making up their backstories is quite entertaining, as is chatting with the local bartender. Plus, it’s a huge confidence boost and freeing once you realize no one is actually looking at you or cares what you’re doing.
Stay Well Rested
Getting a healthy amount of sleep will improve your mood and ensure you’re ready to conquer both the day and your destination. If you’re one of the lucky ones that can sleep on planes, take advantage of the long haul hours and catch up on those zzzs. If not, no worries, you’re on your own schedule.
Want to get a lazy, late start to the day, slowly waking up and enjoying a leisurely brunch? Sounds perfect. Want to nap by the beach all day? Do it. Need a mid-day siesta? No one’s there to judge. Your vacation time can be as structured – or unstructured – as you like. It’s “me” time.
Don’t Sacrifice Comfort
Traveling solo can be more expensive because you’re not splitting the cost of meals or hotels with anyone so if you’re looking to save money on travel or meet people on the road, hostels are the obvious choice when it comes to accommodation. But after a long day of exploring, the thought of having a private room to unwind is a thing of dreams. It’s also a more secure area to leave your stuff if you don’t want to carry everything with you.
If you’re traveling to regions such as Asia and South America, you’ll find beach bungalows and plush hotel rooms cost a fraction of the price of places like Europe and America. Otherwise, check out Airbnb or other vacation rentals to ensure you’re considering all possible options.
Arguably one of the most exciting things about traveling alone is how you can act on impulse. One of the main advantages of traveling solo is you are only accountable to yourself.
Want to switch up your destination last minute? No one’s stopping you. Stumble upon a bar that looks amazing? Pop in. New friend wants to go skydiving? Heck yea. Want to treat ‘yo self to an amazing splurge meal? You deserve it. Being impulsive is a trait you often can’t take advantage of in day-to-day life. It’s a way to balk at routine and improve your decision making. You may not know what’s going to happen next, but it’s guaranteed to be a good story and an even better memory.
But Schedule What’s Important
If you have specific bucket list activities you’re dying to hit, it is in your best interest to schedule and book them ahead of time. The last thing you want to be doing is be wasting time in lines, battling the heat, fighting crowds, or worse, miss out. While you can still maintain some freedom in your schedule, it is best to book the must-dos to avoid disappointment.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Make sensible choices when traveling alone. Do your homework and research that particular area to identify any potential hazards or threats before you arrive. Look at travel warnings and CDC alerts. Don’t walk through dark alleys at night or get so inebriated that you put yourself in a precarious situation. When you only have yourself to rely on, you have to trust your gut and listen to your intuition. Common sense prevails, so use it to stay safe and you’ll have the (solo) time of your life.
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