True life: I love to travel. The travel bug is real and once you have been bitten, there is no going back. The one thing I hate about traveling is rounding up your fellow travelers and waiting for everyone to make a decision. I mean, if there is an Expedia deal, I am going for it! My impulsive tendencies finally got the best of me last year when I booked my first solo trip abroad. While Facebook reminders have been flooding me with memories all week, I thought I would put together some of my top solo travel tips for my fellow passport stamp fiends out there!
1. Airport Pickup
This was a huge mental lifesaver for me! After the 27 hour trip, it was the biggest stress relief to have a ride straight to my hotel waiting for me. Most hotels offer airport transportation, but you can also schedule a ride through a taxi service. Book this ahead of time to avoid the stress of navigation in a foreign city and focus on what you want to do AFTER your settled and rested.
2. Copy the Important Stuff
Leave a copy of your itinerary and identification documents with loved ones back home. This is just as much for them as it is for you! My family and friends were a bit nervous while I was traveling alone, so giving them a itinerary with my activities was a great way to give them some peace of mind. It was also a relief for me because I didn’t feel the need to find wifi and check in with others constantly. Plus, if anything should happen, you have a contact back in the US who can help!
3. Meet New People
Don’t get me wrong, traveling solo is a great way to force yourself to get comfortable with your own company. However, part of traveling is immersing yourself into the culture and meeting new people can be a huge part of that. This can be easier said than done, especially in an area with a language barrier. However, I encourage you to go outside your comfort zone! Strike up a conversation or join in on a game at the beach. I was lucky enough to hit it off with a couple British woman who let me tag along with them for a few days. They knew the local area well and I got to see a different side of the island that I probably would not have. We still talk often and we are planning a reunion trip soon!
4. Dine Out
This was something I wish I would have done more of. When traveling alone, dinnertime can be intimidating. Grab a seat at the bar or a communal table if you are in the mood to meet new people. I also tried scouting spots with live music or dancing for some entertainment as well. Bring a book along if you are worried about being uncomfortable! Just because you are traveling alone, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy meals out.
5. Be Confident
Most people’s first concern when it comes to traveling alone is safety. And it should be! You never want to put yourself in a situation where you don’t feel safe. But, don’t let this fear keep you from living. Doing your homework helps. Check for any modesty requirements or cultural differences that you should be aware of to avoid putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Listen to your intuition and know your strengths. Your gut keeps you alive and well at home and should be doing the same job abroad. Confidence is always key!
I hope these tips were helpful. If you ever have any travel questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Now, go grab your passport and your selfie stick and hit the road (or sky)!