1. Be Spontaneous
One of the best parts about traveling solo is that you get to travel by your rules. That means you get to set the pace, pick the locations, and decide if you want to spend the entire day sleeping on a sunlit beach, gallivanting through the rainforest, or learning some local slang in the town marketplace. Since you are the only person you need to accommodate, why not seize the day? Jump on the public bus to explore some spots outside of the touristy city center, accept that invitation from a local to have dinner with their family and learn about each other’s cultures, or catch an impromptu tango lesson in a Barcelona church square. Whatever you decide, take advantage of this freedom you have as a solo traveler, and make it a trip worth remembering.
2. Who Said Safety Is Only In Numbers?
The number one thing solo travelers worry about before embarking on their trip is safety. Be aware of the risks of your travel destinations beforehand so you know what to expect. Be sure to let your friends and family know your itinerary and check in every day so they know you are safe. If you ever feel like you are in a precarious situation try to get out of it by saying you are meeting up with someone at another location. It’s also never a bad idea to invest in some travel insurance in case things do go awry during your trip.
3. Stay With Friends or Couch Surf
Sometimes staying in a new locale can seem sort of intimidating, especially when you are sleeping alone in a place filled with strangers. Hostels can be a great place to meet other solo travelers (see tip 4), but if you want a more intimate experience, try to stay with friends you know in the area or grab a couch on couchsurfing.org. Staying with people who live in the area will give you an automatic look into the best bars, shops, and underground hot spots that most tourists miss.
4. Hostels Are Solo Travel Hubs
Hostels are a great place for meeting fellow backpackers and solo travelers. Many hostels also offer a variety of group outings and activities that are geared towards intermingling among guests. These offer a perfect way to make new friends while seeing some of the local sites. Utilize the common areas to join a game of cards or swap stories about the amazing spots you stumbled upon that day.
5. Learn the Language
Learning the local dialect will get you far, especially when traveling alone. Traveling with friends can sometimes provide you with an unconscious crutch from immersing yourself in a brand new culture. By traveling solo you’ll seek new conversation away from your native tongue. The less you’re tempted by speaking English, the more inclined you’ll be to order your next glass of Prosecco in Italian, or challenge someone to a game of chess in Hungarian. Not only will you test your linguistic memory, but others will see you as being open and enthusiastic about their culture. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get some insider tips!
6. Join a Group Tour
Making your own itinerary every day can get tiring, so why not take a day off and join a group tour to regain some mental traveling energy. Tours4Fun offers a variety of one-day tours that can show you the most of a city you might be unfamiliar with. By taking a tour you’ll avoid the sometimes complicated public transit, and get a chance to really sit back and enjoy the sites. If organized tours aren’t your thing, maybe try an hour long excursion or go see a show.
7. Be Street Smart
Looking like a solo tourist can leave a red target on your back, so take the necessary precautions to blend in and look like you know what you’re doing. Don’t look at your map unless you are in a private area where you feel safe. Always be aware of your belongings, especially when you are in a crowd. Wipe the clueless look off of your face when you have no idea where you are and play it cool until you get your bearings.
8. Bask In Your Alone Time
Traveling alone can be one of the best ways to recharge your mind and personal well being. Bring along that book you’ve been promising yourself you’d read, or bring a journal to jot down your thoughts and experiences so far. There’s something very soothing about sitting in a bustling café surrounded by new people, but also being alone with your own thoughts. Take the time to observe your surroundings and slow down time to appreciate things that may have gone unnoticed in your normal day-to-day rush.
9. Save Money With A Travel Companion
Who said traveling alone was cheap? Sometimes it seems that places cater more towards couples than those flying solo. If you don’t agree, try eating an entire plate of Spanish paella on your own, and you’ll find out quickly what I mean. There are plenty of ways to meet up with other travelers on the go, whether you want to share the cost of a room or just need help finishing those heaping meal portions. Finding a Travel Companion these days is pretty easy, especially with free online forums like Tours4Fun’s Travel Companion, which helps like-minded travelers meet up and share costs.
10. Practice Your Photography Skills
Not only does taking photos give you a visual memoir of your adventures abroad, but taking someone’s picture is a great conversation starter. You’ll find that in some countries people will flock to the camera spotlight and even ask for you to take their photo. Taking photos is also a great way to ease some initial awkwardness you might feel when roaming the streets alone.
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