I’m no expert, but I’ve picked up a few things along the way that I think will help you as you venture into the realm of solo adventures.
This is the most tedious part of the process, and for some, the mere thought of order may seem almost paradoxical to “adventure,” but the way you plan (or don’t plan) can make or break a highly anticipated trip.
Figure out the when, where, how, and how much of your trip beforehand, so you won’t waste time doing so during your excursion. I’m referring to necessities like transportation and accommodation, you can wing all the other stuff if you’d like.
Create a Travel budget
One of the perks of traveling alone is that it’s usually quite inexpensive to sustain one person. Nevertheless, it’s still wise to create a budget that will sustain you for the duration of your trip, and this should not include your emergency/backup funds (see my next point). Trust me, being broke and stranded in a foreign place is NOT fun.
Always Make a Plan A, B, C, and…
Okay so you obviously can’t plan for all of the things that can possibly go wrong, but you can at least make a backup plan for one or two of them. This includes effortless things like: photocopying your passport and storing a copy somewhere in your suitcase (or basically anywhere that you aren’t keeping the real thing, so both won’t get lost at the same time); determining alternative travel routes and modes of transport; and most importantly, traveling with a backup debit/credit card in case you lose either your cash, or your primary card.
Do Your Research
From current political/social events, to the best ice-cream spots, it never hurts to know a bit about the place you’re visiting. It also gives you an idea (and just that) of what to expect when you arrive at your destination.
Common Sense is Great, Street-smart is Better
- Don’t accept rides (or any other strange, suspicious things) from strangers.
- Don’t make a spectacle of yourself by wandering around aimlessly (it’s okay to wander, but at least try to make it appear as though you’re doing so with a purpose or destination in mind) like a lost, gullible tourist. If you get lost, find somewhere public, like a cafe or transit station to sit and determine your next steps. If that fails, my go-to is usually an official, like a train conductor, or a police officer (I’d be careful with this one depending on what country you’re visiting).
- Always, always keep important things like your phone, money, bank cards, passport, and ID in inconspicuous places when you’re visiting crowded areas (also keep this in mind when traveling on crowded trains and buses). NEVER keep them in the back pockets of your clothing, or the front pockets of your bags. Store these things on inside/hidden pockets of your jacket, backpack or handbag….areas that are not obvious to anyone who doesn’t know their way around your belongings. This way, you’ll most likely notice if someone is trying to pick-pocket you, which brings me to my next point….
- Be mindful and observant of both your surroundings, and the people therein.
- Don’t be naive. I’m not saying to assume the worst in everyone you meet, but also don’t assume the absolute best.
- If possible, try not to arrive in unknown, secluded places (this is the type of information you should research prior to your trip) during the night. Finding your way around a new place is already difficult in the daytime and is even more so when it’s dark outside. Think, bus stop in the middle of nowhere vs. JFK.
Don’t go Ghost
There might come a time when you want to be PettyMcPetterson and just take off, leaving certain people on “seen.” I’m not judging (cus LOL), but make sure you inform at least one person of your whereabouts. And if you’re extra like me, give them important details like your Airbnb address, flight number etc.
It’s all fun and games until you actually do “go ghost.”
Keep an Open Mind
Don’t be afraid of the unfamiliar. This will only hinder you from experiencing amazing new things.
Just because it looks weird doesn’t mean it tastes weird….
Just because it looks scary, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll die (I’m referring to things like “weird” foods, rollercoasters, and zip-lining).
Just because it smells bad…. actually, I wouldn’t recommend this one, but you go ahead if you’re into that sort of thing….
My point is, looks can be very deceiving when it comes to acquainting yourself with new places and faces…. give em’ a chance.
Dear Fellow Americans….
If you are visiting other countries just to critique and compare everything to the States, just stay home. No one wants to hear why your country is “better,” or more worthy of being visited. Not only is it obnoxious, it’s downright disrespectful and gives us all a bad name (trust me, I have experienced the effects of this).
Own Your Independence
And don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed of it.
This portion is especially for the women reading this because there is a bizarre stigma around those of us who do things like travel, eat out, and go to the movies on our own. The most common (and most ANNOYING) assumption is that we do these things because we are pitifully lonely, single, and blah blah blah.
The notion that one should wait to be in a relationship before they do the things they desire is unhealthy. Encourage your friends and family to go after their dreams, with or without a partner. Alternatively, just keep the immature, borderline sexist assumptions to yourself.
So there you have it. Now you can travel like a true boss.
Thanks for reading Xxx
What scares you the most about traveling on your own? Comment below!