Many people love the idea of traveling solo, but traveling alone doesn’t mean just hopping on a plane and taking off. While there’s definitely freedom in exploring new worlds and cultures on your own, it pays to balance that free-spiritedness with a bit of common sense.
Your goal may be to traverse the globe, a lone traveler exploring the universe, but you still will want to make sure that people back home will be able to get in touch with you in case of an emergency. Make sure that your phone will work at your destination, or get a temporary phone that you can use while you’re there. If you’re getting a temporary phone, make sure that your loved ones have the number in case they are trying to reach you. Be mindful of what your phone rates will be while you’re on vacation. While domestic rates are usually the same across the board, international travel may saddle you with sky-high per-minute rates and fees. Load up your phone with travel apps that can help you easily find things like last-minute hotels or the best places to eat in your destination city.
As a lone traveler, you’re probably comfortable with the idea of eating alone, and in your own city, that’s probably really easy for you to do. Check out dining options in your destination city ahead of time. If you like being around large crowds, find out where restaurants catering to boisterous, friendly crowds are located, and add them to your itinerary. Some cities are famous for having laid-back residents that go out of their way to make visitors to their cities feel welcome, while other places are notorious for making outsiders feel like, well…outsiders. If you’re a person with a tough skin, a closed-off crowd won’t prevent you from enjoying a great meal alone, but if you’re painfully shy, you may want to seek out places that are more welcoming.
There’s something truly fun and free about an impulsive spirit. A free-spirited person is open to new experiences and ideas. If you’re traveling solo, however, mix a bit of that free-spiritedness with more ‘mundane’ planning. Make a list of the places that you’d like to visit and how you’ll get there. If you’re traveling with an equally free-spirited partner and you get lost, there’s safety in numbers as you try to find your way back to civilization. If you are a solo free spirit and you get lost, you end up putting yourself more at risk. Make a list of the places that you want to go, and make note of how to get to those places and back.
If you don’t speak the language spoken in the country that you’ll be visiting, figure out ahead of time if that will be an issue for you. Many countries around the world have citizens that speak English beautifully, so it may not be an issue if you visit those countries and can’t speak the language. In other countries, you may be out of luck if you don’t speak the language and its citizens don’t speak yours.
If you’re trying to get an idea of how the locals live, check out hotel alternatives. Maybe in addition to booking a hotel, you can spend a night or two at a local apartment or house vs. staying the entire time in a hotel. You may also decide to bypass a hotel entirely. People around the world use services like Airbnb.com to rent out their homes to visitors. Staying in an actual home will allow you to live amongst the locals and get a true sense of what it feels like to be a resident of that city.
Traveling solo can be an awesome way to go. Whether you’ve always traveled the world alone or if you’ll be heading out on your own for the first time, following these few tips can help make the experience a rich and rewarding one.