I’ve always considered myself to be a bit of a loner, a solitary person who prefers to go off and do her own thing rather than go along with the group. This personality trait has carried over to my travel style. For a while I traveled with friends or family because that was always the most convenient option. But after living on my own in Spain, I decided to plan last minute trips to Paris from Madrid, and when I couldn’t find anyone to join in I decided to go alone. Since then, I almost exclusively travel by myself.
While solo travel might not be for everyone, many people will at some point be confronted with the opportunity to travel alone. Whether for family or business or fun, if you’ve never gone a trip by yourself before, the prospects can be daunting.
Before embarking on a solo trip, it’s important to ask yourself some questions, like how can I prepare to travel safely by myself and am I comfortable doing this alone? Once you’ve really decided that you’re ready, it’s vital to plan out some key things to make sure everything goes smoothly.
1. Give someone your itinerary
Fairly obvious but overlooked more often than you would think, if you are traveling alone, it’s really important that someone somewhere knows your schedule and plans in case something were to go wrong. This isn’t just for solo travel of course, but becomes more important when you’re traveling alone.
2. Be cautious
Nine times out of ten, if you follow common sense and your gut feeling, nothing bad will happen to you. Don’t wave your money around at an ATM. Don’t tell strangers where you are staying. Don’t go out for a night on the town alone. The best tip though is that if a situation feels wrong, it probably is and you should take immediate action. We humans have pretty good instincts; we just have to learn to trust them.
3. Join in group activities
I really enjoy traveling alone because I tend to meet new people and make a lot more friends than I would otherwise. Whether I am staying in hostels, joining in on a city tour or hopping around on a local pub crawl, I make an effort to meet new people so I am not alone the entire trip. Some of the best memories while traveling will come from these moments, so it’s important to be proactive and outgoing on the road if you want to have these kinds of experiences.
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