The idea of going on a vacation alone is daunting for a lot of people. Many of us have wild misconceptions about what traveling solo is like before we experience it for ourselves. But you may find that taking a solo trip is actually very enjoyable if you are willing to take the first step. I won’t bore you with all the amazing reasons to take a trip alone, but if you are considering it, here are some tips on how to make it a hassle-free and enjoyable vacation.
Go somewhere familiar
There are a lot of considerations when planning any kind of vacation, but especially a solo vacation. If you’ve never traveled alone before and you’re hesitant about it, I suggest you go somewhere you’ve been before. Maybe you and your family took a trip to New York when you were young but you haven’t been since. Or maybe you spent a couple of days in LA but didn’t have enough time to see everything you wanted to. Going somewhere alone that you’re at least somewhat familiar with can ease you into solo travel. If you’re already been somewhere, you’ll remember the places and have a general idea of how to get around. This will prevent you from feeling as lost by yourself.
Know the language
On your first solo trip, you should try to go somewhere you speak the language. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with traveling to places where you can’t communicate in their native language. However, for your maiden solo voyage, it helps to not have that extra barrier, especially since you won’t have a buddy there to help elaborate when you need to talk to someone. Once you’ve taken one trip, either to another city in your country, or to a country where you can communicate effectively with everyone, you’ll feel more comfortable taking solo trips to other places.
Find ways to make friends
Another good way to ease into solo travel is to increase your chances of making friends abroad. One of the easiest ways to do this is to go on a group tour where you are sure to find other solo travelers or small groups of people who you can spend time with on your trip. If you want a little more freedom on your vacation, you can stay at a hostel in a shared dorm with as many as 12 or 20 other people. You may find that you and your temporary roommates have some of the same interests and while it would still be a primarily solo vacation, maybe you and your new friend from the hostel can go see a show or enjoy a meal together.
Bring your own entertainment
If you really want to spend your time alone, you should take a few things to keep you entertained when you’re back at the hotel for the night or sitting down to dinner. Think about what you like to do on your own at home and bring some of that with you on vacation. A good book is a must for long train rides, flights, and coffee shop stops. If you want to document your trip, you can take a journal or a tablet so you can journal when you have some down time. You probably will also do well to pack a rechargeable battery for your phone. When you travel by yourself, you use your phone more, because you’re the only one that can look up directions, take pictures, and text your friends and family back home during your trip. Make sure to have a way to stay connected while you’re out.
Plan ahead to keep things smooth
A little bit of planning can go a long way on your first solo trip. Do a little research before you head to your destination to get at least a rough idea of what you want to do and how to best go about it. You might be able to find the most safe and reliable transportation to that museum you really want to visit or find the best areas to go out at night by yourself. You can also bookmark restaurants and bars that you want to visit and plot attractions near your hotel to give you a better of idea of the area you’ll be staying.
Remember, there are different types of vacations and everyone is different. If you are the kind of person that hates flying and just the idea of flying somewhere alone gives you anxiety, then considering taking a different kind of trip altogether. Maybe take a train or bus to a nearby Metropolitan area. Or drive a few hundred miles away from home and enjoy everything nearby cities have to offer. There’s almost nothing more enjoyable than a long drive by yourself. You can stop whenever you want and sing at the top of your lungs along to your radio. Even if you think there’s something stopping you from enjoying yourself, like a fear of flying, remember that a solo vacation can be whatever you want it to be. So take the first step and pack your bags. If you don’t fall in love with traveling alone after your first solo trip, at least you can say that you did it once and survived.