Traveling solo can be pretty daunting, especially when you’ve never done it before. Luckily, I’ve done it enough that it’s become second nature to me—and I’ve picked up some great tips along the way. Here’s how to make traveling solo a breeze!
Luggage is a serious hassle to deal with. And there’s no one to help you lug your bag to the hotel after you decided to pack the entire contents of your closet. For a 10-day trip it’s entirely possible to pack everything you need in your carry on. It may be hard to narrow things down, but you definitely don’t need those 8 pairs of shoes you planned on.
Wear your bulkiest shoes and clothing on the plane ride there, that way there’s more room in your bag. Things like shorts and pants can totally be worn more than once so minimize those as well. Bring a sink plug with you as well and you can wash clothes in the sink if you want to wear them again. Also, depending on where you’re going, you can buy your toiletries there or they’ll be available in your hotel room. Do some research and only pack what you absolutely need.
Book In Advance
You’re going to want to book your plane tickets 1-4 months in advance to get the best prices. I thought that waiting until the last minute would help me find a deal, but all the cheap flights were filled by that point. Plus, booking ahead gives you time to weigh all your options and decide exactly when you want to get there to get the most out of your trip.
The best prices for hotels also involve booking about a month in advance. It’s a great idea as well for you to let someone know at home where you’ll be staying, just in case. Giving them a vague itinerary of your trip if you have things planned is helpful in case anything should go awry. Plus, if your friends or family are anything like my mother, they’ll want to know exactly where you are at all times so they don’t worry as much.
I’ve experienced firsthand that pickpocketing abroad is something tourists should be wary of. I entered Spain with a nice digital camera, and left without half a trip’s worth of pictures because it got stolen. Nothing screams tourist like a camera around your neck, so unless you’re a professional photographer, stick to a little one that isn’t obvious. Take a few pictures and then put it back in your bag, never leave it out.
Before you go, make photocopies of your passport and other important documents. Bring copies with you and leave some at home with someone in case they need to send them to you. Constantly keep your bag in your sight and secured, and don’t bring a flashy name brand. That Louis Vuitton is just waiting to be taken. Take precautions to make sure nothing you’re wearing screams “I have some money” or you’re more of a target.
Traveling alone means you get to make new friends! One of the best ways to meet new people is to consider staying in a hostel. People from all over the world stay at these places and you can take on this new country together.
If you’re a bit nervous about hostels, there are plenty of apps and other ways to get social. If you want an authentic experience, Party With A Local is a great app for an insider’s view of the city you’re in. The best way to learn about a country is to immerse yourself in the culture, so try to skip the obvious tourist bars and restaurants and find the little places frequented by locals.
Think about being flexible with your plans, too. If you meet an awesome crew on night two, see what they’re going to be up to the rest of the time you’re there. Maybe they have something awesome planned that you never even thought about doing.
Overall, the absolute best thing you can do while traveling solo is to just go with the flow. Don’t be panicky and uptight about being by yourself. Use this time to be selfish and see what you want to see. Wander around and make the most of exploring somewhere new!