The things I wish I would have known before I chose to travel solo for the first time.
1. Having “too much” time
The first time I chose to travel solo I was astounded with the amount of extra time I had! However, never feel like you’re “doing it wrong.” There is simply no wasted time trying to decide where you want to go/eat because there is no one to bicker with! If you need a mid-day nap after walking 10 miles through Paris, take that nap! Do what you need.
2. Creating your itinerary
Create your personal itinerary by reading travel bloggers you trust, and starting way ahead of time. Through your favorite travel bloggers, you will learn what exactly you want to do and what you don’t want to do (because typically your favorite travel bloggers will share travel traits with you)! They may also have tips- like the post you are reading- about travel solo and what it is like at your destination. By starting early, you will have time to buy your tickets to museums/monuments.
3. Be open to making friends
As many solo travelers do, I recommend staying in a well-reviewed hostel (many travel bloggers also review hostels)! Here, you will meet so many new people! While you travel solo, you really should consider making a friend or two! They might be from Australia, or Canada, or Spain, or California! Honestly, my favorite night I have ever spent when travel solo was with friends from my hostel in Paris, drinking wine along the Seine river (photo below!).
Also, don’t be so stuck in your itinerary that you miss out on an amazing opportunity, that you may not have known about when making your itinerary! If a new friend asks you to come somewhere cool, and it sounds better than your plans, go for it! Be spontaneous!
Being alone, safety is what everyone first worry’s about when they travel solo. This topic deserves it’s own piece (and it will get one, stay tuned). Until then, remember these important tips:
- Don’t walk down allies or streets that are empty and far away from others
- If you feel uneasy, literally walk into the middle of the street. Cars will stop and no one wants to assault/mug someone who is walking down the middle of a street.
- If someone approaches you with drinks, food, or drugs, do not take any.
- If you do find yourself alone, tell someone that you trust where you are and that if you don’t text/call within the next 5 minutes, to send for help. Avoid this resort at all costs.
- The golden phrase for safety is, “I don’t know you, stay away from me!” or the country’s language equivalent to this. This phrase will never be taken as a joke by any passerby’s and will bring you the attention that might save you!
5. How to Dress
If you travel solo, one of the most enjoyable parts is being able to fit in with the ‘locals.’ Research the place you are visiting well, if your clothing is close to the typical trends of the locals, you will be more comfortable and safe. (check out this packing list for Paris, to fit in with locals there!) Another tip, brought to you from one of my great traveling friends, is to remember that “some clubs don’t let you in if you aren’t dressed nicely.” So always pack at least one nice outfit if you plan to go clubbing!
6. Taking Photos
How do you get photos (other than selfies) of yourself when you travel solo?! This topic was one of the hardest to navigate for me, the firs time I chose to travel solo. Here is a list of people who are safe to approach and trust your phone/camera with, in my experience (note: this list also requires your best judgement. If a situation seems odd, avoid it):
- A family
- A group of young/teenage girls who speak the same language as you
- A worker or civil servant
I hope this helps you with all of the times you travel solo! Did you learn something new? Is there something that I forgot? Let me know by replying to the post!