Traveling with family or friends can a great bonding experience; or, as any roadtrip movie has shown us, it can tear you all apart. Personally, I’m only up for group trips if someone else is picking up the room service bill; otherwise, I like to hop on a plain and head out oversees on my own. I have to research everything myself and prepare all my bookings on my own, but it’s truly fulfilling experience to have your own personal itinerary. It’s like breaking new ground.
Over the years myself and fellow travelers have picked up a few tips just for solo travelers that’d we like to share with you all for your next big trip.
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. We always advice that you research your destination before traveling and be aware of the risks so you know what to expect. And even if you just want to grab your backpack and go, make sure to let your friends and family know your itinerary and check in every few days so they know you are safe.
If you do find yourself in a precarious situation, say you’re meeting up with someone nearby and you’re running a bit late, and never hesitate to go to the police or, if you’re oversees, your country’s embassy. 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 be intimidating, especially when you are sleeping alone in a place filled with strangers. Hostels can be a great place to meet other solo travelers, but if you want a more comfortable 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 gives you an insider’s guide the best bars, shops, and underground hot spots that most tourists miss.
4. Hostels Are Solo Travel Hubs
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. 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 day trips and walking tours that’ll introduce you to both the must see attractions and hidden gems.
7. Be Street Smart
This goes along with travel safety, which really stresses you research your destination beforehand. There are loads of tips on how to act and what areas are safe new city.
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. If you can, pull a Jason Bourne and pick up so local attire when you arrive; it helps with blending in.
Another key way to not look like a tourist is to act like you’ve been here before. Walk with confidence and determination and people will be less likely to stop on you on the street.
8. Bask In Your Alone Time
Traveling alone can be one of the best ways to recharge your mind and personal well being, i.e. turn off your phone! You may be tempted to Snapchat and Instagram your entire tripe, but traveling is also a chance to disconnect.
Instead, 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. 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. Make Friends And Save Money
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
Alright, now take out your phone! 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.
If you’re looking for more reasons to travel solo, check out our Six Simple Pleasures of Solo Travelers.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences! Share them in the comments below or head over to our Tours4fun Facebook page.
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