The idea of solo travel is a combination of thrilling, terrifying, and freeing. You’re in charge of planning every aspect of your vacation—which means that you actually have to plan every aspect with no one else to lean on for decisions. The thought of visiting a new place on your own can seem a bit intimidating. I know that’s how I felt before my first solo adventure! But, with some forethought (realistically, a bit more than you’d put into a trip with friends or family), you can plan a trip that’s all you ever dreamed of from a solo journey.
Choose the location
When it comes down to it, choosing where you’re traveling solo to is the most important factor. If it’s your first time traveling alone, consider testing the waters with a long weekend road trip. You’ll get a taste of solo travel but will still be in more familiar territory and have access to your car. Then, if you like the feel of a solo trip, you can get more ambitious when picking your next destination (an overseas adventure, anyone?).
Beyond that consideration, go where you want. This is a trip designed solely around you, after all. You don’t have to worry about traveling to someplace your friends and family will also enjoy. This adventure is all about you—embrace that! Have you always wanted to go to Japan, New Zealand, or Germany? Well, this is the time.
Before embarking on your solo journey, make some concrete plans. Most importantly, figure out where you’re staying and book a room ahead of time. Since you’re on your own, the last thing you want is to get to a new town and have nowhere to stay your first night. Also, when you’re traveling, keep the address of the hotel/hostel/etc. you’re staying at on you, and that way you’ll always be able to make your way back.
For safety’s sake, also think about arriving at your destination during the day. This will keep you from wandering around an unknown place at night when you aren’t familiar with any of the streets or landmarks. No one wants to start their travels stressed, and this is a good way to decrease the likelihood of unneeded worries.
While you don’t have to plan everything in advance, it’s good to have some activities scheduled. After all, you don’t want to waste your solo trip sitting in your room debating with yourself about what you could be doing. It might be worthwhile to plan a few tours or events before you even leave home.
Keep in contact
Give friends and family a copy of your itinerary that goes over exactly where you’re staying with specific dates. I’ll often even give people specific dates that I’ll check in—just as an extra precaution. This way, at least someone always has a general idea of where you are at all times.
Do what you want
The best part about traveling solo is that you can do whatever you want whenever you want. You can eat at the restaurants you want. Check out the landmarks and sights that interest you. Shop at the stores you love. Get the day started as early as you want—or sleep in if you prefer. It’s all about you designing your own dream trip. Here, your imagination is the limit because you don’t need anyone else’s approval.
One suggestion: Go on some guided tours. This will ensure some guaranteed time around other people. Sure, this trip is all about you, but it’s good to take a few steps so you have an easier time meeting new people wherever you go.