Was your last girls weekend your last girls weekend? Do you need a vacation from your family vacation? Or are you just someone who values your alone time? If so, it may be time to explore the joys of solo travel. Here are some tips to get you started on your journey.
What to Bring
This part is not too much different from what you would bring on any trip. Pack your clothes and toiletries. Pack your medications and documents. Bring your camera, electronics and phone. These last two are perhaps more important when traveling alone. You want to be connected at least in part. You may want to bring rebtel capabilities as well. Bring some reading material. You’ll have more downtime than usual. If you are a diarist, bring your journal as well. You’re making memories here.
Where to Go
Perhaps the greatest joy of solo travel comes at the beginning of the trip. The planning. Where to go? Wherever you want to, of course. There’s no negotiating, no arguing for why your choice is the best choice. Just the idea “I’d like to see Rome.” And a few minutes later, you’ve booked a plane ticket and you’re planning your trip to Rome – incidentally, Rome was my first solo trip every. Eminently do-able.
You may find you are relying more on the kindness of strangers than you are used to. You will want to be sure that you can communicate with taxi drivers, tour guides, and nice people on the street when you get turned around. If you are really stuck, use your WiFi calling app to find out who to call to get you back on track.
Where to Stay
This depends on your goals. If you want to meet other travelers like yourself, a hostel or bed and breakfast is the way to go. If you want to meet the locals, try staying in a neighborhood hotel – Hotel Travel has options in over 180 countries – or try a reputable apartment or house rental service. If you are looking for solitude, you can get lost in a big hotel or resort, or stay at a campsite. Rentals can also be a good option for the solitary solo traveler.
Well-meaning and/or jealous friends and relatives may try to scare you out of traveling alone with horror stories about what happened to their sister’s best friend’s cousin’s uncle when he had the audacity to attempt solo travel. Don’t let them succeed. While it can be true that unsavory types look for the easiest mark, that person does not have to be a solo traveler. Using some common sense tips will help you to stay safe.
Trust your instincts. If a situation makes you uncomfortable, get out of it. Try to fit in. Save the cap with your host town’s logo on it until you get home. Look over your map before you head out onto the street. If you must ask for directions, do not offer the information that you are on your own. Leave copies of your documents in a safe place. Familiarize yourself with the location of your nearest embassy.
With that said, remember that most of the people you will meet will be nice good people. Stay safe, but not paranoid. Then come home and swap stories with your sister’s best friend’s cousin’s uncle. Maybe he’ll come around.