Solo traveling can be an amazing and liberating experience. People travel all the time, but they very rarely do it alone if it is not for business reasons. The hardest part about traveling alone is getting adjusted with the feeling of loneliness, but once you have learned to embrace the experience, you will definitely come to crave it. A lot of wonderful things can happen when you travel alone, and it will ultimately help you open up to life-changing experiences. So if you are thinking of setting off into the sunset, and embarking on your first solo travel adventure, here are a few traveling alone tips that you will definitely appreciate. We will talk about everything from finding the best locations and prices, to safety issues and connecting with other like-minded travelers.
Why Choose Solo Traveling Over Group Trips?
Before we begin, there is an important question that we should answer. Why choose solo-traveling over group trips? There is nothing more exciting than leaving your comfort zone and exploring the world. If you travel with a group, chances are that you will spend more time with them, but when you are alone you have the opportunity to connect with interesting locals and fellow travelers. In addition to this, you have the freedom to plan your trip as you see fit. You are the one making all the decisions, and this sense of autonomy will help you get past your insecurities and loneliness.
1. Where are the Best Places for First Time Solo Travelers?
The first thing you should know if you are a first time solo traveler, is to focus on destinations with strong tourism infrastructure. Areas which have a history of political conflict or less developed infrastructure might become a hassle. Before you embark on a journey to such a country, you should conduct proper research, and learn the language. The fact of the matter is that everything on this planet is worth visiting at least once. But how to decide where to travel? We have a few suggestions from renowned glob trotters.
Julia Dimon from TravelJunkieJulia believes that Southeast Asia is an excellent destination for first time solo travelers, because it is home to exotic destinations and lots of English speaking, friendly locals. More importantly, food, hotels, activities and domestic flights from this tropical paradise are affordable and safe. Another excellent location would be Peru or Argentina. These locations are dotted with spacious, clean and welcoming budget hotels. If you are looking for something off the beaten track, then Australia is definitely the number one choice. Not only are they oasis of nature, but they are also extremely safe and have amazing infrastructure for travel. Whatever you choose, remember that the key to a successful trip is being comfortable and confident.
2. How to Connect With Like-Minded On the Road
If you are planning to travel around the world, it's not enough to choose a location and pack your bags. The most important thing about traveling alone is meeting new people. It' all about getting the courage to leave your comfort zone, and reach out to like-minded travelers. If you are a little shy, there are easier ways to socialize with people. For example, if you are staying in a hotel or B&B which organizes group outings, to local restaurants and sightings. This is an excellent occasion to share your contact information with someone. Nevertheless, the most efficient way of making friends quickly is by joining a world-exchange program like WorkAway.info or WWOOF.org.
Another option for adventurous travelers would be to enroll in a couch-surfing or global freeloaders program. The great thing about this is that you don't necessarily have to live with them, because they will be more than happy to show you around or drink a coffee with you either way. Since we live in the digital era, we will also list the social media and virtual outreach methods. If you don't feel prepared to set out and face the world, you can always exchange some emails with a local that is interested in you.
3. Be prepared to Spend More
It probably started with a : “I need to plan a trip on my own”. Now that you have booked your flight, and finished your bags, it's time to establish your total budget. You might be inclined to think that traveling alone is cheaper, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Studies have shown that travel plans international and booking solo gives the flexibility to opt for better accommodations and travel standards.
You will most likely be tempted to spend more time out in town (to meet new people), visit more places for the simple reason that you are not bound by anyone. There's no point in wasting your vacation indoors anyway. In addition to this, group activities like trekking or kayaking, for which you would normally split the cost, will now be paid in full. This is also why we have suggested Southeast Asia as a solo-traveling destination: because with 100$ a day you can truly pamper yourself.
4. Don't Plan Too Much
When it comes to travel, people usually plan to much. Besides your basic travel items checklist and general route of cities and sites that you want to see, you should not worry about more. The point of a solo trip is not stressing out over which clothes you should take in your baggage. While it is OK to check Google Maps Street View for your desired locations, you don't have to stick to your plan like glue. Every traveler will tell you that their trips rarely go exactly as planned, and it is the unexpected surprises that make it worthwhile. Be open to new experiences and let things happen. Who knows, you might just fall in love on a sunny beach, and decide to see a local festival you had no idea about.
5. How NOT to Attract the Wrong Kind of Attention
People who travel alone automatically attract some attention to themselves, so it is important to keep a low-profile. In order to do this, one should dress modestly, never go out alone late at night and learn the rules of the area. We won't even mention not getting drunk or visiting the beach alone at night, as they are common sense. Depending on the area that you are visiting, you might have to respect some rules. For example, if you are in a Muslin country, you will have to cover your arms and legs. The best thing that a solo traveler can do to protect himself is to avoid conversations with shady characters, and try to not put himself in risky situations.