Traveling is an addiction. Once you’ve started, the world seems even larger than you imagined it to be. Every day, you discover new places you’d like to visit. An infinite number of wanderlust destinations keep adding up on your bucket list. Planning these trips with friends and family always seems like so much fun, and it is, who would deny it? But traveling alone? Now that can be scary! Adventuring into the unknown with no one but yourself. Well, that’s definitely a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Solo travelers, though, have increased in popularity over the last few years. Many people are doing it now for many different reasons. Among them, you can find solo travelers in search of self-creation and discovery; solo travelers looking to relax and unwind; solo travelers that travel alone because it’s easier and they prefer not being attached to anyone else. Regardless of the reason, traveling alone is certainly something that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime. Because why not? To travel, in general, always enriches every aspect of your personality and to develop the grace of enjoying your own company can also strengthen your character and make you a better person for others around you.
So, if you’re traveling alone for the first time or if you’ve done it already and would like to experience it again, here are 8 tips that will help you make the most of your solo trip:
1. Define your destination based on your needs
The first step for your vacation alone is deciding where to go. There are tons of places to travel alone, but you should first consider why are you doing it? What’s the reason behind your travel? Based on your answer, choosing a place will be much easier. If you’re doing it to relax and unwind, probably a busy and crowded place like New York or London shouldn’t be on top of your list. A calm beach or somewhere in the countryside would be more suitable depending on your taste. Your chosen destination should fulfill your true needs to genuinely enjoy your vacation alone.
2. Do your research
Now that the destination is chosen, do a little digging. Inform yourself properly of the place you’ll be visiting. Based on the location, find out what you can do there. Identify the must-see places, the local food, and activities you’d find attractive. By this, I don’t mean to prepare a fully packed schedule for your whole holidays. Leave room for spontaneity. But traveling by yourself and not having any idea of what to do might result in frustration and make you anxious if you’re a beginner.
3. Travel light
It doesn’t matter if you’re going away for a weekend or for a couple of weeks, pack light. Make sure you have everything you’ll need but don’t over do it. Go for simple, instead of fashionable. The less you need to take care of, the lesser your worries will be. Besides, remember you’ll be alone so taking more than you can handle will only cause a headache.
4. Connect with your surroundings, not with your phone
Yes, our phones, social media, and the internet are fundamental elements of our everyday life. But when traveling alone, try to disconnect a bit. By this I don’t mean, forget about your phone and don’t contact any of your friends throughout the whole journey. The Internet is a necessity, even while traveling. Google maps always comes in handy when in a foreign land. But control your urge to upload pictures or stories of your every move to social media. Maintain basic communication with your loved ones and then forget about what’s happening back home. Enjoy your here and now wherever you are. Appreciate your environment, observe your surroundings and explore. You can’t have a meaningful and immersive travel if you’re body’s there, but your head is somewhere else.
5. Pamper yourself
The whole idea of traveling alone is about enjoying yourself. Consider it as a present for you. So within your defined budget, treat yourself. Buy yourself a nice dinner one day, enjoy a bottle of wine, do something you’ve always wanted to do. It can be anything you want, just pamper yourself and don’t go cheap on it. It’s you we’re talking about, and you deserve it.
6. Leave the comfort zone
While you’re on this journey, don’t let fear, embarrassment, and expectations limit your experience. Push yourself and try something new. Something you wouldn’t normally do. It could be an outdoor sports activity, trying a new local dish, going to a bar alone and starting a conversation with a stranger. There are plenty of options, so don’t give it too much thought and just take your pick. Be creative. Pushing yourself a bit is healthy and it’ll boost your confidence. Leaving your comfort zone will make you feel comfortable with being uncomfortable and it’ll help you welcome the unfamiliar in a positive way.
7. Smile more
Have you ever heard this popular phrase “If you don’t know what to wear, wear a smile”? This perfectly applies to all your traveling alone adventures. Even if you don’t feel like it at first, with a smile you’ll have a positive aura surrounding you. You’ll be more easily approached and helped out. It’ll be easier to make new friends throughout your journey. Just because you’re traveling alone, doesn’t mean you need to be by yourself all the time. On your way, you may meet new people with different backgrounds and interesting life stories. Exploring the unknown not only refers to destinations, you can also experience it by engaging with people from all over the world. A smile always opens you to possibilities.
8. Embrace your own company
Travelling alone includes plenty of time for “me, myself and I”. This might be the scariest part of it all, but don’t be shy. Face your demons. Don’t bury yourself in distractions. For whatever reason you decided to travel alone, allow yourself the time to just think. Think about your life, your goals, your relationships, your dreams. Everything. Take the time to answer all these uncomfortable questions. One of the keys to happiness is having a clear purpose in life and a trip alone is the perfect occasion to analyze and re-orientate your path.
These are some traveling alone tips to guide you in your next solo journey. There’s no “right” way of doing it. The important thing of it all is to enjoy. Open up to new experiences, be grateful for being there and make it count. It will allow you to know yourself better and to trust yourself more. It will open up your mind and change your perspective. Go travel, whether it’s alone or with someone, traveling is the only thing you can buy that will make you richer in every way.