Aside from loving to share my stories, I blog because I hope to inspire others to get out and see something new outside of their comfort zone. I think the one area I get asked the most about is solo travel. Ironically enough, one year later, I find myself writing some more solo travel tips.
I am a firm believer in solo travel and will continue to take trips alone even after I get married (you see how I'm speaking it into existence, right). I've mustered up some of my favorite strategies that I use to ensure that I have a great time during my solo adventures.
- Arrive to your destination during daytime hours. Naturally, you are going to be a bit thrown off when you arrive to a new location. As a woman, I'm more comfortable if I arrive while the Sun is still up and I can observe some landmarks and how the streets are operating. If I have to pay a bit extra to book an earlier flight, that is fine by me, because at least I'll have better piece of mind.
- Memorize 3 Important Phone Numbers! I'll be the first to say I love my iPhone, so much that I have two, but it's scary to know that I don't have important numbers memorized (like my job). It's funny to me that I can still spit out the phone number of my middle school crush, but that was because I dialed that number religiously. God forbid, there's an emergency abroad, you will need to be able to spit out some numbers quickly. For me, I have my mothers's, my aunt's, and one of my best friend's. If you really don't think you will remember them, make an index / business card and stick it somewhere.
- Handle your affairs. This includes: setting a travel notice for your bank, getting travel insurance, living wills, register with the embassy, etc. You should do this for any trip, but when traveling by yourself, you don't always have someone to remind you.
- Learn some words! You don't want to look crazy walking around talking to yourself, do you? Aside from a safety standpoint, it will boost your experience if you can have small talk with locals and other travelers in the native language. While you're at it, use the local currency too.
- Talk to some locals! Sure, you might have a list of places you want to visit while you're on an adventure, but experiencing the local scene is just as amazing. Whether it's food, beaches, a club, locals will usually give you some honest feedback about where to visit. When in doubt, consult Yelp!
- Keep some momentos. I don't do it as well for every trip, but I do keep a travel journal with me to document my tales and to assist me with my posts. But, cute little trinkets like metro cards, maps, foreign money, and postcards will be fabulous additions to a memory box or a travel scrapbook.
- Share, but not too much. YES. I love solo travel because I never meet a stranger, and have met some dynamic people throughout each of my adventures, however, you still need to operate with a level of discretion. Never ever tell individuals (WOMEN INCLUDED) your hotel room number. I never share details on which hostel / hotel I stay in until after I have checked out. I'm also pretty vague about sharing my trip itinerary because you never know who is listening / watching your moves.
- Try something new. This is the time to branch out without your loved ones potentially judging you. Do you secretly geek out at art museums? Want to try scuba diving? Have a love affair with an ethnic cuisine that your bestie hates? This is your time. You are already living in a moment that you will never get so make the most out of it. I try to have a "first time" activity for each trip I take. That has led to me water tubing, paddleboarding, and more.
- Start small. If you have yet to take a trip to another US city alone, perhaps it might not be the best of ideas to take a trip to South Africa alone first. I have done each of my solo trips in baby steps. I started out with the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and one year later I'm finally ready for a big trip.
- Be PRESENT. Sometimes, it's just nice to unplug. I love having wifi to connect and check in, but I also enjoy being away so that I can be still. As I said for #9, you are never going to have this moment again, so soak it up. Embrace the smells, music, lights, people, and anything else that may be around you. You already took a leap and booked that trip, so live it, enjoy it, and find out the latest gossip when you get back.
Check out some of my favorite memories from my solo trips.
Hopefully, you have found some of these tips helpful! If you know of somebody that's getting ready to take a solo trip, be sure to send my tips along. Do you have any suggestions for me to add to my list or are you getting ready to go anywhere alone? Leave a comment and let me know. As always, traveling mercies and have the time of your LIFE!