Are you traveling alone for the first time and you don’t know where to start? Or are you feeling nervous or overwhelmed by the idea of traveling alone?
Well, you’re not alone. In fact, many people feel this way, especially before their first trip (including myself).
Trust me, traveling solo may seem scary at first, but it is also extremely exciting, freeing and will probably be one of the best things that you do. As a traveler myself, I have used these solo travel tips to travel alone across North America, Europe, and even Africa!
So I am confident that these solo travel tips can also help you!
So whether you’re traveling alone and don’t know where to start or are an experienced traveler, there is something in this article for everyone.
So let’s get started!
Disclaimer: The solo travel tips shared in this article are based on my personal experiences. While I hope they prove helpful for you, please remember that these tips might not cover all scenarios. Your safety is vital and for tailored advice, please consider consulting a travel agent or local authorities before your trip.
1. Acknowledge Your Fears
Fear often stands as the first hurdle when traveling alone.
You may have fears of traveling solo, worried about feeling lonely, doubts that your unable to plan a great solo trip by yourself, or feel like you can’t have fun by yourself.
But acknowledge those fears and kick them to the curb.
Solo travel isn’t about pretending you’re not scared—it’s about giving fear a nod and saying, “Watch me do this.”
And you can do it!
Before I even stepped foot into the country I was traveling alone too, I had so many initial fears and doubts that taunted me. I had concerns for my safety, fear of the unknown, and doubt of my capabilities that I could even travel by myself. While it’s safe to have a healthy amount of caution, I found myself completely doubly my strengths, intelligence, and abilities.
But as I started to embrace my fears, I realized that I am more capable than I thought. Which made me more self confident into realizing that I am a strong person, capable of anything.
By acknowledging your fears and knowing some solo travel safety tips, you can enjoy your vacation experience to the fullest!
2. Plan And Prepare
Preparation is key, especially when traveling abroad.
Whether you are an experienced traveler, or traveling solo for the first time, try researching the best solo travel destinations that you should visit. During your first time traveling solo, you should review the affordability, safety, and fun activities that are available in your dream destinations.
One of my best pieces of advice for all travelers, is to register with the STEP Program offered by the U.S Department of State. You will be able to sign up for alerts from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans. It can also help the U.S. Embassy contact you in case of an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
Also, it is essential to know how you are going to protect yourself and your belongings. So the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to protect yourself is to get travelers insurance.
From flight delays, lost luggage, trip cancellations, medical emergencies, damage to your electronic equipment, travelers insurance can help protect you from common to extremes issues.
As a frequent traveler, I never leave home without insurance, so you shouldn’t either.
When you research and plan for your travels, you may have a more enjoyable time because you know what to expect and how to prepare if an emergency does arise.
You can still go on carefree spontaneous adventures, but by knowing the key components of where you are going, where you are sleeping, and how you are moving throughout the country is a great baseline for an amazing journey.
3. Secure And Comfortable Accommodation
As a solo traveler, your safety and comfort is essential!
While researching your accommodations, you must prioritize your safety and choose accommodations that are centrally located and have positive reviews. You can call your hotel to ask about their safety precautions which can also give you a feel of the place’s responsiveness.
Once you arrive, take a moment to assess your surroundings and trust your instincts. You can also try to strike up conversations with your hosts and staff. By establishing a good relationship, it can create a welcoming atmosphere and you can get valuable insight on the best local activities to enjoy.
As an extra layer of assurance, consider women-only hostels or well-established hotels in safe neighborhoods.
Bonus Tip: As you travel and met people, never share where you are staying. If you are going to meet up with new people that you met, make sure to meet in a public spot and have your own method of transportation, even if that’s using the public transportation system or taxis.
4. Research And Stay Aware Of How You May Be Treated
While it is sad to admit, not every country views or respects everyone equally.
Whether it’s based off of your religion, relationships, sexual orientation, or other factors, it is essential to research how you may be treated.
You have the choice to only visit places that you feel comfortable in, and skip out on the ones that you don’t.
If you ever feel hesitant about traveling alone, another great option is to travel with a tour group. There are plenty of travel tour groups exclusive to women or solo travelers in general that will fit your itinerary, your traveling style, on your budget. You can get pick you up from the airport and have all your accommodations, transportation, and activities planned out for you. So you can simply arrive and enjoy the area!
I will admit, initially during my trip to Kenya, Africa, I was a bit nervous on how I would be treated or viewed as a solo female traveler so I decided to book a group tour. During my trip, I felt extremely safe with my tour guides and felt that I was always being well taken care of at all times. I also learned how to embrace local customs and respect cultural differences which enhanced my trip to a whole new level.
I had the best time of my life while in Kenya, and most of it is due to the amazing people that I met along the journey! In fact, in the photo above, I am actually crying saying goodbye to my travel director, due to the huge impact he had on my life.
I am proud of myself for overcoming my fears of traveling solo and growing intro a stronger person because of it.
Travelers, you should proceed with caution, but do not let fear hold you back from experiencing something beautiful.
However, if you are traveling alone and feel hesitant about traveling out of the country for the first time, then try visiting some of the best solo travel destinations in the US. This way, you can build confidence traveling in your own backyard prior to traveling half way across the globe.
Pro Traveler Trip: Try researching cultural norms, etiquette, and dress codes in advance, it can demonstrate your respect for these communities and ensure you are not caught off guard when traveling.
5. Trust Your Instincts
As in everything in life, you should always trust you gut instinct. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation you should remove yourself immediately and remember that you do not need to explain yourself.
Sometimes us women, (at least for me) have a hard time saying no or breaking away from something that feels uncomfortable. Especially if we are trying not to be “rude”. However, when you travel alone, you have to start feeling comfortable with saying no and putting clear boundaries.
For example, if you’re approached by someone and you have a bad feeling, you can simply excuse yourself and do not stay in an uncomfortable situation.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can also try learning a couple of self defense moves or get some of these essential items for solo travelers, that includes great safety items.
I do not want to scare you or make you afraid of traveling, however, I want to give a harsh reality that anything can happen in life (at any point in time) and not just when you’re traveling alone.
So I encourage you to take the necessary precautions to prioritize your safety and trust your instincts at all times. Plus, learning self-defense moves is not just about physical protection; but it can also empower you to feel secure in your own skin.
6. Connect With Others:
One of the best things about traveling solo, is the ability to expose yourself to new cultures and make new friends that you otherwise would’t have the chance to.
Instead, it’s an invitation to create new friends across different area and in the unlikeness of places.
During one of my solo trips waiting in line to check in my luggage at the airport, I met an older couple and another solo traveler. During this time, we had fun and friendly conversations and even chatted the entire flight, which was an 11+ hour flight! To this day, we are still friends and we check in often!
This would not have been possible if I did not step out of my comfort zone and engage with others as a solo traveler.
I get it…..
It may seem intimidating at first to start up a conversation with a complete stranger, but believe it or not, you will grow this self confidence within yourself.
Connecting with others, may even be the best part of your trip!
Pls, traveling solo, does not mean traveling alone! In fact, you can join group adventures for solo travelers that allow you to make new friends while you’re traveling.
This is what I have done when traveling internationally. I will schedule a group tour and before the tour dates, I will travel alone before or after the trip.
This way, you get the best of both worlds! The ability to gain the confidence of traveling alone while having a fun and memorable time traveling with others!
So regardless of how your travel solo, you’re never alone.
7. Embrace Yourself:
When you first start traveling by yourself, you should try to embrace every aspect of yourself. The good, the bad, and the fun quirky sides of yourself.
Don’t feel like you need to pretend to be someone you’re not or participate in activities that you’re simply not interested in.
When you travel alone, you can give yourself the complete freedom to be unapologetically yourself (and you don’t have to feel guilty about it). Not only will you start to learn new things about yourself but you will start realizing that you are a fun and interesting person.
When I first started traveling alone, I felt like I needed to have friends in order to “go out and have a good time”. But I realized that I wasn’t just going to sit around and wait to have fun, but that I was actually going to do the things that I was interested in, which allowed me to have fun by myself.
I challenge you to simply go out to the movies, eat dinner alone, or participate in an activity by yourself. You might feel awkward at first, but as you embrace yourself, you enjoy your company (which is sometimes the best company).
As you start traveling solo, embrace every moment, learn from every experience, and savor the beauty of your own company.
While traveling solo may be new for you, it should not be scary. As these solo travel tips are here to empower you during your first solo adventure!
It’s not just about reaching your destination; it’s about the journey itself. The resilience you build and the growth you can celebrate. As you can continue to grow into a strong and independent person!
So go forward and take on solo traveling in a safe but adventurous way!
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