What to Know Before Traveling Solo- What I Wish I Knew
Are you considering traveling alone and not sure if you’re making the best or worst decision of your life?
I know exactly what you’re feeling because I went through the same thought process as you.
During my first solo trip (ever), I was in the airport of Iceland about to call my taxi for the first time. It was late, I was cold, and I remember thinking, “Am I making a huge mistake”?
After that trip, even up to now, after taking multiple trips across several different countries in Europe and Africa, I can tell you that traveling solo has been one of the best decisions of my life.
However, knowing how to travel alone comes with its own unique challenges and obstacles and here I want to share with you my experiences so you can learn from my mistakes and be prepared for your first or next big solo adventure.
Here is what you need to know before traveling solo:
1. It’s Difficult to Explain to Others Why You Want to Travel Alone:
When you first bring up the idea of wanting to travel solo, your friends and family simply won’t understand why you want to travel alone.
They may think that you’re crazy, or even beg for you not to go.
Especially, if they have never traveled alone before or you’re traveling internationally for the first time.
However, it’s important to address all of their concerns and show that you are taking action to have a safe trip.
Most likely, your loved ones have concerns over your safety.
Show them that you know all the essential safety travel tips when traveling alone, and plan to take all the proper precautions.
Try to include your family within your trip planning process and show how you will get to the area, where you will stay, and the type of activities that you plan to do. Before you leave, make sure to send your family detailed itineraries of all your important travel documents, accommodations, and transportation information.
This way, your loved ones can stay informed throughout your entire trip and do a healthy check-in on you.
If you or your family are worried about navigating a foreign country alone, then look into one of these best tour groups to travel alone. I have used tour groups in the past to travel across Europe and Africa and I have had amazing experiences with it and it provides tremendous peace of mind to myself and my family.
I also recommend traveling with a tour group if it’s your first time traveling alone to a foreign country. You have the opportunity to meet other solo travelers and enjoy the highlights of destinations (with barely planning anything), and you can ensure that your transportation, accommodation, food, and even your safety are accounted for at all times.
However, despite how much you plan to address all of your friends and families’ concerns or explain the benefits of traveling alone, they still may not get it and won’t want you to go.
Which is okay, but you should follow your heart and do what feels right and safe for you. Even if that means taking a solo trip that other people won’t understand until after you share your amazing experience.
2. You May Cry…. And That’s Okay!
Traveling can feel pretty overwhelming and emotional at times. And those feelings only intensify whenever you travel alone, especially for the first time.
As I was standing alone at the airport during my first solo trip, I felt a mix of nerves and excitement. The emotion hits you all at once. The realization that you’re about to step into a new country, all by yourself.
You feel scared and excited, and yes, you might even cry. And that’s perfectly fine. It’s part of your journey.
But when you start to overcome those initial fears, you will realize that you are stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing something incredibly brave.
And for me, it was a powerful moment of growth and self-realization.
When you feel every small task completed turns into a larger sense of achievement and increased self-confidence.
So, embrace your feelings, whatever they may be. It’s a sign that you’re growing, learning, and becoming a more confident version of yourself.
So embrace your adventure and the emotions that come along with it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
But trust me, it’s an experience that will shape you in ways you never imagined
3. You May Get Lonely
No one ever talks about the harsh realities that it’s common to feel lonely, especially during your first trip alone.
Which is why I want to share my experience with you.
When I first started traveling alone, I found it challenging to do activities or events by myself. I found myself staying inside the comfort zone of my hotel room, instead of doing fun and adventurous activities.
But, I mentally had to push myself to walk downtown and enjoy a couple of local museums. As I started doing more activities by myself, I felt confident talking to strangers and forming meaningful conversations with others.
To cope with your feelings of loneliness or solitude, try planning an activity that will force you to go outside of your hotel and comfort zone.
Especially, if you’re an introvert, then you should join local tours.
You can even join one of the best tour groups for women that will allow you to bond with other like-minded ladies. By participating in a local or group tour, you can explore fun adventures, easily connect with other travelers, and get an insider perspective of the best places in the area from the local tour operators.
I know that taking the initial step can seem intimidating, but I promise as you start immersing yourself in the local activities and culture you will feel yourself surrounded by good positive energy.
4. You Will Meet the Most Incredible People:
Traveling alone opens up a whole new world of potential friendships in the most unexpected ways.
Especially if you’re traveling in a large group, you may only stick to your friends and never form new relationships that you otherwise would when traveling by yourself.
For example, every time I have traveled with my family, I always stuck to them and never made any new friends.
However, during every single one of my trips alone, I made at least 3-5 new friendships that are still strong today.
In fact, we check in regularly and even make future plans to travel together!
These people are friends that I cherish deeply and would have never had the opportunity to meet them if I was not traveling by myself.
So as you start on your solo journey, just know that you will be amazing people.
But you should also keep in mind these few tips to ensure that you are prioritizing your safety during every encounter:
Safety Travel Tips When Meeting New People:
1. Trust your gut:
If a situation or a person doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to step back and leave. You never have to explain yourself to someone and if you feel like something is off, simply state that you are not interested and safely leave.
When I was traveling alone in Nairobi, I struck up a fun and friendly conversation with a local who offered to show me around to some local hangout spots.
While it was tempting, I decided to join an organized group for a tour instead. While there were no particular red flags, I trusted my gut and decided that I was going to stick with the group.
2. Never give out your personal Information:
When you’re meeting new people, it is so easy to give out personal information, even as simple as where your hotel is located.
But please never give out this information.
If you plan to meet up with new friends, always tell someone that you trust where you are going and meet up in public places. While it’s okay to exchange social media, try to stay away from giving out your number experience during the first encounter.
Keep an open mind to the potential lifelong friendships that you will make, but also trust your instincts and prioritize your safety.
If you are traveling alone for the first time, then make sure to know the solo travel tips for beginners to ensure that you know all my best tips and tricks.
5. Once You Start, You Won’t Be Able to Stop:
Solo travel is addictive in the best way possible. The freedom of being on your own, making your itinerary, and stepping out of your comfort zone is exhilarating.
Literally, after every single one of my trips, I always find myself planning my next big adventure.
If you are looking to explore the best destinations for solo vacations then I encourage you to take the plunge and do it.
Once you start traveling alone, you realize the world is full of endless possibilities and adventures waiting for you. Trust me, it’s an experience that continually calls you back.
I hope that through my experiences, you can get a deeper understanding of the realities that you may face when traveling alone.
So you now know the good, the bad, and the bottom line when traveling alone.
Traveling alone is scary and sometimes intimidating, but it is so worth it.
If you’re on the fence about taking a solo trip, let this be your sign to go for it. Sure, you may feel awkward at first, but you find it your new favorite way to travel.
Join the community of travelers, who share your passion for adventure and exploration. And who knows where this first step will take you…