For some, traveling alone may sound more enticing than going on a trip with others. Whether it’s because you’ve experienced one too many group plans falling through, or are simply seeking some alone time, you've decided to book your first solo escapade – but what now?
While a departure from the familiar is new and exciting, venturing out on your own is also a little intimidating. Okay, very intimidating. For this reason, we’ve come up with ten things that will help calm your nerves for your next unaccompanied adventure.
Setting a Budget – and Sticking to It
There’s no worse feeling than knowing you’re low on money during a vacation. This is totally avoidable if you budget efficiently beforehand. One way to accomplish this is what we like to call “Grandma’s Envelope Method”: months before your departure, set a budget and take a pre-determined cash amount out of each check as if it were a “real” bill. Treat it as if it were part of your rent. Then, simply forget that it exists. By the time your solo trip comes around, finances will no longer be a worry on your mind.
Arriving During the Day
Most of us have made the mistake of flying into a new city in the dead of night at least once. Late arrival flights may be cheap, but they can easily turn into Instant regrets. The last thing you want to do on a solo trip is to stress about how to get to your hostel in a foreign place, and in the dark to boot. Try your best to set an arrival time during the day, as this allows you to become familiar with your surroundings right away. You’ll also have more transportation options available without feeling anxious and unacquainted.
Mobile Carrier’s Travel Options
The thought of not having contact with anyone at home may play a big part in why you’re slightly nervous to travel alone. Play it smart and purchase an international travel plan through your wireless carrier. The prices are reasonable and believe us, just knowing you have the option to call or text anyone at the palm of your hands, is one of the most comforting feelings to have in unfamiliar territory.
Hard Shell Suitcase
You arrive at your destination and plan on taking a bus to your hotel. It’s raining hard and by the time you make it to your destination, your baggage, along with everything inside, is soaked to the core. In instances like these, it’s best to have a hard shell suitcase that protects from spills, rough handling at airports and of course, wet weather. If you’re worried about limited space, try Delsey's expandable luggage; it’s extensible and extremely light weight, and one of the best in the industry we've ever tried.
Travel Bra Stash
This is one ingenious invention for the solo female traveler. Instead of exposing your valuables (no... not those ones – we're talking IDs, cash and passports) around your neck or waist for the world to see, this device gives you the ability to keep them tucked away. Simply snap it to your unmentionables and you’re practically thief-proof. Travel Stashes are also comfortable and come in different size options. If you're not a bra-person, there's also the brief version.
You never know when you’re going to be in dire need of a charger – we’ve all been there. Whether it’s your phone, computer, or camera, electronic devices can get the best of us. Play it safe by simplifying to one universal charger – this way, you won’t forget any of your chargers and you’ll be prepared no matter which device decides to fail you.
Choosing a Hostel
Hostels might seem like a daunting idea, but don’t let the negative stereotypes about these budget accommodations fool you. Choosing a hostel over a hotel is one of the best things a solo traveler can do. Known for their relaxing and sociable atmospheres, you’ll be sure to meet new travel buddies, save a ton of money – and most even offer local discounts and free, safe meals.
Connecting with Other Travelers
Meeting like-minded travelers is probably the quickest way to ease the intimidation factor of solo travel. You can learn travel tips from others and gain locals-only information – plus, good company never hurts. While beautiful scenery and unique cultural experiences are important factors in having an extraordinary trip, the people you meet will be the deciding factor in whether you end up having just another vacation, or an unforgettable adventure.
Organization is essential with travel, especially if you have a full schedule. And guess what – there’s an app for that, and it's one you'll actually want to download. Google Trips not only organizes your entire itinerary – flights, excursions, reservations, tickets – but it also helps you plan according to your interests. And because Google has our backs when it comes to travel, it’s even accessible offline. Be sure to download your plans ahead of time so you can utilize the Wifi-less benefits.
Keeping Note of Where You’re Staying
If you’re traveling to a country where you don't understand the official language, you should always have the name of where you’re staying written down in English as well as the local language. This will prevent any barriers from getting to your hotel or hostel. You should also be willing to learn a few phrases in the local language to help navigate your way around. “Do you speak English?” “How much is this?” and “Where is the restroom?” are good places to start – and these Japanese, Russian, German and Dutch guides make the job easy.