When someone travels alone for the first time, they often have a life-changing journey. Solo travel easily becomes a drug of your life. That you are afraid to go on your first adventure on your own? Read on and nothing will stop you.
Why try solo travel
Solo traveling has become extremely popular in recent years and we are not surprised at all.
If you travel alone, you will get to know not only the country you are visiting, but also yourself. You are your own master and you are not attached to anyone.
If you decide in the morning to spend the day under the duvet or, on the contrary, go on unplanned hike to the volcano, you will simply do so.
You will find that your limits are much further than they seem, and that you can overcome many difficult situations yourself and still enjoy it.
You will immerse yourself more easily and much deeper into a foreign culture and get to know the visited country from a more authentic point of view.
In addition, the much feared feelings of longing or boredom that can occur often lead to unexpected creativity. This, combined with the newly charged courage in a place where no one knows you and no one expects anything from you, can lead to amazing ideas and experiences.
And last but not least, only when you are separated and distracted from the well-known environment will you appreciate what you have at home.
Where to start
Your passport is already on your desk, your suitcase in the corner of room, and now you need to take the first step? Start on your own.
Sit back and think about who you are, what you love, what you feel good about. Especially for the first experience with solo travel, it is important to choose a place that will bring pleasant challenges, but not insurmountable obstacles.
Are you more of an introvert than an extrovert? Choose a country where not all passers-by will talk to you.
Do you feel better on busy streets than in nature? Don’t go to the deserted mountains, but visit some of the beautiful capitals. By the way, they are a great first choice for solo travelers.
What pleases and attracts you? A country with fantastic local cuisine? A sunny island with white beaches? Start fulfilling your dreams slowly.
What language do you speak and where can you handle even unexpected situations?
Think about not only your hobbies, but also what your real options are that will make your journey easier. Respect yourself and don’t try to immediately choose a country where you need ten different vaccinations just to prove you have it.
Solo travel is a challenge in itself and the main goal still remains – to enjoy it.
For your first solo travel experience, choose a safer and friendlier place with fewer challenges.
If you are going on your first journey, do not leave anything to chance and plan everything in advance.
You don’t have to have a scheduled hour by hour, but by buying flight tickets, train tickets and accommodation from the comfort of your home, you will save a lot of unnecessary stress.
To make your initial journey as smooth as possible, choose a safe country and, ideally, a city or populated area to begin with, where you will be able to cope with any feelings of loneliness or unexpected complications.
Travel for a few days first and don’t underestimate security measures – arrange suitable insurance, find out any emergency contacts, print out all the documents, plan your financial budget and inform someone at home about your plans.
And last but not least, find information about the destination you are going to, write down the places you want to see unconditionally and others that you might be in the mood for.
And remember, you don’t have to go straight to South Africa to become a real traveler. Great and friendly places for the first solo trips include Ireland and Spain.
What to pack
The travel plans are complete and now you need to pack your suitcase. Wherever you go, some things are good for every journey.
Definitely don’t forget to take a camera so that you can properly document your adventures and return to precious memories. For the same reason, take a free notebook or travel diary in which you can write down your observations, experiences or feelings you have when traveling. And that there will be plenty of them.
Remember for long train or plane trips and evenings in the hotel room and pack a book, tablet or other entertainment. And try to leave it at the bottom of the trunk as an emergency option and rather take to the streets to get to know the local culture and new people.
One of the best things about solo travel is getting to know local and other travelers, and it’s easy in hostels, for example. However, you will also appreciate the earplugs and the sleeping mask over your eyes.
A travel first aid kit, cash in local currency, hat or cap, raincoat and good shoes are a must. If you still have a pinch of space, you will also love the adapters for local socket, duct tape, plastic bags and travel sewing kit.
How to overcome loneliness
Whether you are a skilled solo traveler or you are going on this adventure for the first time, feelings of loneliness can catch you at any time. However, there are several solutions to deal with them and not be afraid to travel alone.
Sit down at the computer and check out the social networks before you leave. Search for groups on Facebook and various discussion forums about the country or city you are going to.
Today, you will find a large number of groups focused directly on solo travelers, where you can arrange meetings with other adventurers before the start of the trip.
When your sadness falls in the middle of the road, you will feel like staying stuck under the duvet and skype with friends, but you better try our recipe.
Take a deep breath, kick off the duvet, get dressed and go outside! Whether to random or in a pre-arranged place, for a concert or a performance, in short, somewhere where you meet like-minded people rather than in a hotel room.
Meet local people or travelers through facebook groups, discussion forums or couchsurfing.
One of the most beautiful experiences is also taking local courses. Whether you enroll in local cuisine, dance or language lessons, you will suddenly find yourself in a group of positive people who share with you the least enthusiasm for local culture.
Meet others and save! Group tickets are often cheaper than individual tickets.
Try to look in advance on social networks to see if anyone is looking for a group ticket, or gather courage and address a nice-looking group right at the station.
The same goes for accommodation – do not be afraid of hostels and hostels, in the evening you will be very happy for the company. You will make new friends, listen to fantastic travel stories, be inspired and maybe even join someone for the next part of the trip.
And if you want to get to know the locals, one of the easiest and most pleasant ways is couchsurfing.
Before the trip, don’t forget to pack a friendly item, whether it’s a favorite book or a pillow, with which you will feel like at home everywhere. And if you don’t spend all day making phone calls, chatting with friends or a partner via Skype will definitely lift your spirits once in a while.
Longing and feelings of loneliness often frighten us and prevent us from traveling.
However, they can be overcome relatively easily and on the contrary will wake you up to another adventure.
And after all, if you miss it, it means that you like what you have at home. And it’s beautiful to remember.
Even if you do not go straight to dangerous countries, you should respect certain security measures that will save you from any inconvenience. In the case of a solo traveler, these recommendations apply twice as much.
Make sure someone at home knows your travel plan and expects to contact them regularly. Agree to write at least a short report no later than every two days, and don’t forget to report any spontaneous changes to the plan. Also leave them a contact to the local security services.
Learn to say no! Don’t worry about insulting someone if you refuse to get in the car.
Trust your instincts, and if you don’t like someone, thanks them decently and firmly and don’t try your luck.
Get ready before you leave. Whether you have a specific allergy or suffer from stomach problems, don’t rely solely on local health care and equip yourself with your own medications and products. If you are going for a longer period of time, go to the dentist and general practitioner before leaving, get yourself examined and also prescribe a basic set of antibiotics.
If you are planning to travel in a cheap style and rely on hitchhiking or couchsurfing, take the time to explore before you leave. Only accept accommodation with couchsurfers with excellent ratings and find out on the discussion forums about the personal experience of travelers with hitchhiking.
Investigate any additional risks of the country, such as specific infectious diseases or the vagaries of the weather.
Learn to say no, read the safety advice well and trust your instincts!
It is certainly possible to travel for little money, but make sure you always have some financial security in your account and in your pocket. You never know what situation you will get into and when you will need a backup.
The last but no less important point is insurance. Consider well what activities you are going to do and adjust the insurance type accordingly.
If you are only going to taste the delicacies of the streets of Paris, the basic insurance is enough for you, but if you are going on alpine trips or extreme sports, do not try your luck and pay extra for specialized insurance.
What mistakes to avoid
Many travelers gradually learn from their mistakes. However, you don’t have to repeat some, just read about them here and avoid them in advance.
Don’t underestimate safety!
Wherever you go, keep in mind all the points we mentioned a moment ago. Do not leave your personal information on a public computer. Ideally, don’t use credit cards and online banking anywhere else on your own device, and if you’re entering sensitive information somewhere, make sure no one sees it when you leave.
You do not have to have exact daily program, but a information about evening connections from the airport to the accommodation will save you a lot of wrinkles. Write down basic information, addresses, contacts and transport options and find all the important and interesting points in the city on the map at the local information center. You will be more time efficient.
Trust, but check.
Not all photos and descriptions on the internet are necessarily true. Book your accommodation only with trusted-looking reviews and also check the building via Google Earth.
It is not always possible to choose your arrival time, but if possible, prefer the early hours when you arrive at your destination. Accommodation will be much easier, the frequency of transport will be higher and the first impression of the place more friendly.
Keep travel documents, flight tickets, cash and other valuables in a safe place. Keep them locked in the hotel safe, or carry them at the bottom of your backpack under other things and keep a close eye on them.
Especially in some countries, losing your passport can lead to serious inconveniences.
For your peace of mind, it is also good to make copies of all documents and have them in a different place than the originals.
We hope we have dispelled much of your concerns. Now all you have to do is read the articles about the countries that attract you and decide which one is right for you!