Did you decide to travel alone for the first time and are now worried what might happen to you? Traveling alone can be the greatest experience ever and it will be the time in which your personality will grow the fastest. All your mistakes are your own as well as all the success. Here are our 85 tips for traveling solo!
Before You Leave…
- Research as you don’t have a friend or partner to help you
- Decide on your destination – Enjoy the freedom traveling without a partner/friend and go anywhere you want
- Know your budget – Decide on your budget before you leave to pick the right destinations or the length of the travel
- Cut down on your costs at home to save up more for your travel abroad
- Try learning a few basic words of the local language before entering the country – Effort to communicate in the local language is always well respected
- Pack light – It will make your travels much more enjoyable
- Get your vaccines depending on the destination
- Take a kindle with you for the many hours on a plane/bus
- Create a new bank account ( with 0 fees when being used abroad, if it exists in your country) and add a limit to avoid overspending
- Let your bank know that you are traveling to several countries to avoid your account being locked
- If you don’t own a bank account with 0 fees abroad, ask them about the exact costs
- Take important medicine with you
- Check if your home looks unattended – you don’t want anyone to know that you left for a long time
- Rent out your apartment back home (Airbnb) for some extra cash if you live alone
- Check the political situation of the country
- Buy a travel insurance – It seems wasteful until you need – Think about it!
- Don’t forget your adapter and an extension plug! Socket plugs are rare if you decide to stay in a hostel
- If you are a US citizen, sign up for the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) – They keep you updated about the current situations in the countries you are traveling
- Know how you’ll get internet overseas. With My Webspot, you can get mobile internet abroad without any roaming charges in more than 100+ countries! Alternatively, you can get a SIM Card with SimOptions that operates in 70+ countries.
Safety Tips When Traveling Alone!
- Safety first – always!
- Stay modest – avoid wearing expensive jewelry or displaying anything of value for you
- Know your limits – It’s okay to say “No”
- Ask the hostel/hotel staff if the trip you are planning is worthwhile and if it is safe for tourists
- Drink very responsibly so that your common sense always stays with you
- Protect your identity – Identity theft is a common thing around the world. Make sure you are logged into a secured WiFi or use a VPN before doing online banking or using other private info
- Be patient – Don’t make any rushed decisions
- It can be difficult arriving in a new city alone. Take your time. Take a day to relax, watch the city function, and settle in.
- Leave a note in your hotel room with your plan and the estimated time of arrival back at your room
- Keep your valuables safe – Use lockers
- Learn about common scams around the world
- Write down the emergency contact of the local embassy
- Don’t tell the public on Social Media that you are traveling for a long time
- Never fully trust anyone
- Display confidence when walking in public but avoid looking like a tourist
- Be extra careful especially at night
- Pay attention to your intuition – Many times it will be right
- Just lie sometimes – Tell people you are waiting for a friend or when asking for direction, just say “Where exactly is […] again? I’m meeting a friend.’
- Don’t make it obvious that are you lost if you can’t find the way: Easy targets for scammers or pickpocketing
- Be a bit coy. If a conversation starts, introduce yourself with your first name only. Leave by yourself and by taxi and don’t tell people where you’re staying.
- Check the visa requirements
- Check the validity of your passport
- Keep copies of your travel documents in multiple places
- Note down all important phone numbers in case it gets stolen
- Always carry an ID card with you
- Buy refundable plane tickets in case your plans change
It’s all about the money
- Check the ATMs if they are safe to use before cashing out
- ATMs inside a bank branch are the safest to use
- Cash out only small amounts of money
- Don’t count money in the public
At the Airport
- Board early so you have no trouble putting your carry-on luggage in an overhead compartment.
- Always confirm that your flight is on schedule before leaving for the airport.
- At check-in, ask if the flight is ‘full’ or ‘light.’ If it’s light, you may be able to jockey for a better seat.
- If you have a connecting flight, get all the information you need before boarding your first flight to make the connection easily.
- Bring light snacks with you. If there’s turbulence there won’t be any service during the flight. Gingersnaps are a good snack and they settle the stomach.
- Don’t put anything you are willing to lose in checked luggage
- Know which way is up. Study a map of your destination. Get to know it and get a sense of direction. This will help you explore cities safely.
- Be proactive. If you’re unsure of yourself, ask for help. Go ahead, smile, and ask for help.
- Walk! There is no better way to get to know a city and understand its culture than walking. It slows you down so that you can see the nuances of the society and understand how the city is designed.
- Take day tours – You might find your next travel companion
- Join a night tour. Many cities have evening tours whether it’s a cruise along a river or a walking tour of a ghostly area.
- Hiring a local tour guide can be essential for certain trips
- Be willing to immerse yourself in the culture
- Dress accordingly
- Smile. It means the same things in every language. It means you are happy, friendly, approachable, kind. A smile opens many conversations.
How To Meet New People
- Go far off the beaten path. Travelers who find each other where there are few tourists are more inclined to talk to each other.
- Establish a routine. Visit the same café, fruit stall, or restaurant every day. You’ll get to know the people and they’ll start to watch for you
- Take a book. It will not only occupy you but also signal to other solos that you travel alone.
- Go to a local, independent coffee shop. Look for coffee shops with large communal tables or coffee bars along the window and sit near someone.
- Stay at places that encourage talking. Choose a hostel or a B&B. Such places have common rooms and are great places to meet people.
- Go communal dining. They may be hard to find but look out for restaurants with communal tables to meet new people.
- Connect with a local. You can join couchsurfing.com to meet and stay with locals
- Try a Meetup. You’ll meet people who have similar interests
- Use tinder (Google Play Store | iTunes Store) not as a dating tool but chat with locals about the city – things to do – what to see
- Choose a counter seat or a seat at the bar
- Be obvious. Place your camera, travel guide, or map on the table, making it obvious that you’re a tourist. Some people might be keen to talk and help you.
Don’t Know What To Do?
- Go for a walk. Some cities are great for walking at night. It’s a great way to spend an evening but remember safety first.
- Go to where the action is. Whether it’s a night street market or a local festival, check out what’s going on watch the locals in action.
- Talk with the staff of the hostel, hotel or B&B
- Look out for events in the countries you are visiting
Other (random) tips
- Always have a Plan B if things go wrong
- Don’t worry about the things that are not really important
- Be flexible
- Ear plugs for a good night sleep
- Stay in touch with friends and family
- Most importantly, have fun!
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