Adventure. You want it, but should you go on a trip alone?
Let’s start with the fact that you can do anything alone. But when you are traveling alone, here are 5 tips to consider during your solo travel.
Choosing Your Destination
I’ve traveled solo both internationally to Paris and domestically to Seattle. I think that if you are traveling to any major metropolitan area, you should travel alone. But, I also have friends that take solo trips to the forest with their toddler or bike from Florida to California by themselves.
Pick an adventure that excites you.
Choosing a Place to Stay
When I travel alone, I like to stay in a hostel or in an Airbnb. With Airbnb, you not only get to stay with someone who might take you out for drinks or have dinner with you, but they also have great tips for getting around and secret spots to explore.
Airbnb also helps you plan for your trip ahead of time. Past travelers leave reviews and will let you know how they got around (i.e. we took $8 Ubers) and places nearby.
Lastly, a lot of people open their homes through Airbnb and you get to stay in unique places. I recently stayed in a mansion in Seattle.
In Chicago, I volunteer at Hostelling International, and hostels will put together outings and tours and have great guides to help you navigate the city. I stayed in a hostel in Paris and the same week I was there another guy was there for the week. While I was at fashion shows during the day and he was trying to become a chef in Paris, at night we did check-in on each other and share a few meals.
Of course, if you are traveling alone to get away and be pampered, I won’t judge you for staying in a hotel room and enjoying a Jacuzzi. On my first business trip, there was a Jacuzzi in my room. And, I’m not complaining about the experience.
It took awhile for me to perfect packing. And though I understand the value of always being prepared, I realized that I didn’t need to pack heels.
When you are traveling alone, you are also carrying your suitcase alone. So, travel light. Roll your clothes. Bring one less pair of shoes. You find that when you travel, you don’t need to bring your entire skincare system or excess outfits. The only thing you really need is a phone and a charger and your wallet. Beyond that, try not to pack too many valuables. Travel light.
Read Travel Magazines to Plan Your Trip
Planning what you do on vacation is probably the hardest part. If you are traveling and working, you want to find hotspots or cafes for Internet access. But beyond that, when you travel there are parks to see, museums, and then restaurants. So, how do you know what to see?
When I went to Seattle, I picked up a travel guide and discovered a lot about the city. But then it also had great recommendations for restaurants and insider tips like when to go there and a bit of depth into the ambiance. Travel magazines are great tools to find a local’s perspective and learn about travel apps and cheap flights.
But also, reach out to friends and see if anyone else has traveled where you are going.
Share Your Adventure
One of the most important things about traveling alone abroad or domestically, is to let someone know that you are going. When you travel alone, you may meet strangers and be staying in their homes, you may get hurt and you may lose your ID. It’s always a good idea to let a close friend of relative ave a copy of your passport or ID and then also know where you are going.
But beyond that, share your story. There are some great Snapchat travel bloggers who share their adventures.
My friend’s solo bike trip across country was one of the most inspiring trips to read about. He started a Facebook page and updated it so it felt like we were traveling with him.
“I was a boy who spontaneously grabbed a bike and although not touching one since my days in middle school, set out to cross the united states on it, sleeping in stranger’s homes and camping in five different states. I have swam with wild dolphins, sprinted up lighthouses, greeted the founder and owner of Chick-Fil-A, walked around the Kennedy Space Center, visited the gulf coast on the fateful day of Katrina’s landfall and still being able to observe Katrina’s aftermath five years later, explored a battleship, rolled through a handful of colleges, hiked up half a dozen mountains … and will soon see the west coast for the first time, after inexperiencedly biking close to 3,000 miles to get there,” – Kevin Willaman from his Facebook Page, Follow My Bike Adventure Across America.
You learn a lot about the world, about yourself, and about what you value when you travel alone. So, whether it’s a weekend getaway, a semester in Europe, or a year alone, I encourage you to share your travel story and connect with other travelers.