Tips and Tricks for Traveling Alone
Although traveling alone can seem intimidating, it is a worthwhile experience and a great way to immerse yourself in a new culture. When you’re traveling by yourself you can focus on what you want to do and why you want to do it. The ability to make choices solely on what you want to do is liberating and fulfilling.
No matter where you’re headed, there are some things you can do to make the experience as easy as it can possibly be. Here are some tips and tricks to help you plan your solo adventure:
Tip #1: Have someone to check in with while you travel.
Even though most people who travel have perfectly lovely experiences, it’s a good idea to make sure someone knows where you are when you travel. That’s not to say that you need to prepare for the worst as solo travel is a generally safe endeavor. However, it’s a good idea to have someone you can text every so often to let them know you’re okay. It will help your peace of mind and help assure your family and friends back home that you’re safe.
Tip #2: Have some emergency cash and anti-pickpocketing gear.
While it’s best to avoid getting pickpocketed on most days, it’s especially crucial while you’re traveling by yourself because if your money gets stolen, it may be difficult to recover whereas when you’re traveling with a friend, they can pay for a taxi or help you find your missing money. You can buy anti-pickpocket bags, or certain straps and belts that have little compartments where you can store money, keys, and your identification.
Tip #3: Stay at hostels!
If you don’t have a place to stay already, you should consider staying at a hostel. Hostels are great places to stay when you’re traveling alone as you’ll meet so many people who are traveling alone as well. You can make friends and meet people who are in the same mind space as you. This is especially helpful if you’re traveling alone for the first time or are new to a region. You can pick up tips on where the best places to go are from people who have actually been there as a traveler.
Tip #4: Take advantage of every opportunity and be flexible.
While you may be the type to have a concrete plan in place when you travel, it’s a good idea to be open to new experiences and say yes to adventure. If you stumble across a really unique historic site, or the opportunity to go on a beautiful hike arises, go for it. You can make incredible memories and focus on what you want to get out of the travel experience. It might sound strange, but when you’re traveling alone you have the opportunity to be selfish which is a good thing once in a while!
Tip #5: Make sure you don’t rely 100% on technology.
While there are many apps you can use while you’re traveling to keep yourself safe and organized, it’s always a good idea to have printouts of relevant information or a page in a notebook where you have information about your hotel or hostel, important phone numbers, and other things you would need to know.
Tip #6: Download some apps for solo travel.
While you shouldn’t rely only on your technology, there are some great apps you should download before your trip to elevate your experience.
Here are some apps to consider:
SoloTraveller: (iPhone and Android)
This app allows you to connect with others who are traveling alone. It can be a great way to make friends and meet travel companions.
Backpackr: (iPhone and Android)
Backpackr is similar to SoloTraveller, it’s just designed for backpackers.
BonAppetour is a great travel app if you’re a foodie. Not only can you find incredible food when using this app, but you can find incredible culinary experiences as well! Maybe you’ll get a chance to eat a cozy meal with a family in Italy, or maybe you’ll be able to take a cooking class in France. Whatever your idea of a good meal or food experience is, you’ll be able t o find something like it on this app.
MeetUp (iPhone and Android)
MeetUp is a great app for meeting people in certain locations with similar interests. Do you want to go hiking with a group? There’s probably a MeetUp group for that. Do you want to watch a certain soccer game at a bar with other fans? Check MeetUp for groups and events. Even if you’re not traveling, MeetUp is a great way to meet people and make friends.
Tip #6: Pack light.
Before you leave on your trip, you should practice walking around with what you’re planning on bringing. It might sound silly, but it’s an important step because you need to know that you can carry everything that you’re bringing without any assistance. You might be able to lift something really heavy but remember that a small amount of weight can start to feel like a lot if you’re carrying it for a long period of time. If you have a good backpacking backpack this is a perfect opportunity to use it. Not only can you fit a lot, but that type of bag often has pockets that are easily accessible while you’re still wearing it which can be beneficial while traveling.
Tip #7: Capture the memories on your own terms.
Do you like to be in pictures? Then take selfies. Do you prefer not to be? That’s great too! Take plenty of pictures on your own terms without worrying about what anyone else wants. If you hate group pictures, solo travel will be great for you.
It’s also great to document your adventure to look back on it later. Traveling can be a whirlwind and certain details might be forgotten. Take some pictures, keep some mementos, and remember your solo adventure for years to come.