I’m back this week with a very important (and very relevant) topic: solo travel. While studying abroad last semester, I knew I wanted to take at least one trip alone for a few reasons. First, I wanted to have a very productive and busy weekend, which was definitely easier to plan without having to coordinate a schedule with others. Also, there was a part of me that just wanted to prove to myself that I could plan and go on a trip entirely by myself. You might remember that this first solo trip was a long weekend of “backpacking” (it was only four days) through Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. I have another semi-solo trip coming up soon, so I thought I would share some of my tips with you all for solo travel, since it’s definitely something most people avoid!
- Do your research! Your trip will be a lot more comfortable and less stressful if you plan where you’re staying, your transportation, activities, etc., in advance, so that you know you’ll have things to do and you’ll be safe while traveling. Look into the hotel, airbnb, etc., that you’re staying at to make sure it has good reviews, and try to get local recommendations from friends/family of things you can do/places you can visit.
- Plan to be busy. Especially since you’ll be by yourself, it can get boring if you don’t have much to do. It might be an exhausting trip, but you’ll be much happier staying occupied than sitting around relaxing (for the most part!)
- Pack a lock for your things – especially if you’re staying in a hostel or a more public residence. This will keep your things safe overnight, and will also be useful if you’re doing activities throughout the day and don’t want to carry everything around the whole time.
- Plan your meals ahead of time! From my experience, breakfast and lunch are pretty easy to figure out, but it can definitely be weird eating dinner alone, so making sure you have somewhere to go will be helpful.
- Plan dinner dates – going along with my previous point about eating meals alone, it can be nice to have a phone call or facetime date planned so you’re not really eating alone.
- Figure out transportation ahead of time. You don’t want to get stuck without a ride home or to the airport, so research transportation options in the area you’re traveling ahead of time and see what’s available near you. Whether you need to book a taxi in advance, or confirm that Uber operates in your city, this will relieve lots of stress while traveling!
- Be careful at night! Especially if you are a girl (unfortunately), be aware of your surroundings, and try to stay in groups/in public places if possible. Be responsible and try to avoid any potentially dangerous situation. While I was in Eastern Europe alone, I completely avoided any danger and simply stayed in after dinner (which helped me start my days earlier anyways!)
- Keep track of important belongings, especially when you’re alone.
In general, you should keep tabs on your phone, wallet, and passport, but when you’re by yourself, you don’t have a friend to fall back on if something happens to these. Keep them in a safe place and be careful of pickpockets!
- Know where you’re going. Of course you won’t know exactly how to get everywhere you’re going, but having a general idea of landmarks and names of sights or restaurants can help in the case that your phone dies or you need to ask for directions. Quickly mapping out your day before you head out can help a lot.
- Meet new (or old) friends! Lots of people are trying solo travel nowadays, so it’s likely you’re not the only one where you’re going who is alone. Especially if you’re staying in a hostel or similar residence, there are always lots of young people who you can hang out with. Similarly, if you know someone who lives in the area you’re visiting, plan to catch up!
Personally, I think everyone should try solo travel at least once while they’re young, because even though it can be scary/uncomfortable, it’s definitely a great learning experience and truly shows you how independent you can be. Not only that, but if there’s somewhere you really want to explore and can’t seem to get a group to go, this is a great way to completely design your own schedule and your own trip so that you can accomplish everything you’ve been wanting to.
During my first trip alone, I learned the hard way that I really don’t like being alone. That being said, I wouldn’t change anything about the experience, because in the end I had a great weekend and it made me more comfortable doing things on my own. I packed so much into those four days which I don’t think I would’ve been able to do otherwise, and I’m now looking forward to planning more solo trips so that I can enjoy traveling alone.
I hope these tips are helpful and that this encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone when it comes to traveling. I’m excited to finally be taking a couple more trips soon, so I’ll have some new content for you in the future. Subscribe below to come along with me, and I’ll see you all next week!