Solo travel is an exceptional way to escape your comfort zone and explore unfamiliar places on your own terms. Whether it’s a foreign location or a destination within your home country, traveling alone can give you a sense of empowerment and freedom. However, there are plenty of things that can go wrong when you’re in an unfamiliar area. To ensure you’re prepared for the best and worst scenarios, review these suggestions for an enjoyable travel experience.
Develop a Plan of Action
Before you endure a trip alone, it is imperative to create an itinerary: listing all of the places you want to visit, making your necessary reservations, detailing your transportation plans, and outlining your budget. Making these tasks a priority will lay out the information you need to avoid travel mishaps. Remember, it’s better to start as early as you can when it comes to planning. That way, you’re well-prepared and organized when it comes time to leave for your trip.
Depending on your desired location, packing can be tricky if you have a strong tendency to bring extra clothing and shoes with you. Bulky items can not only make your luggage feel like a bag of bricks, but may leave you less room for other belongings you want to pack with you. If you’re an overpacker, roll your garments, use packing cubes, or wear your bulkiest items when traveling to create more room in your suitcase.
Exchange Currency Before Arriving at the Airport
If you’re traveling outside of the country, it is always suggested to exchange your money. There are several ways to go about this, however, a few are recommended more over the others. Airport kiosks are provided for travelers who want to exchange their money before boarding their flight, but airport exchange fees can be quite expensive. Instead, consider a withdrawal from the ATM or ordering money through a conversion website. When you transfer your currency, always compare the offers on a variety of sites to confirm you’re getting the best deal.
Go Mobile With Your Bank Account
If you’re a frequent solo traveler, boost the convenience of handling your money by switching from an in-person bank to an online bank account. Most likely, your smartphone will be attached at your hip during the duration of your trip. For that reason, having a space where you can access your bank statements, payment alerts and other financial information will make it easier for you on-the-go. Traveling abroad can come with a lot of additional foreign payments, so looking into a mobile banking option that eliminates foreign transaction fees can save you additional money and lower financial stress when making purchases internationally.
Research Your Location and Its Culture
Before exploring an alternate destination’s stomping grounds, it’s important to research its culture. Adapting to another way of life can involve a language barrier, dress code implications, diet changes, or certain mannerism changes that may be okay in one place while violating in another. Some countries are stricter than others when it comes to visitors embodying cultural norms, but just in case, take the time to research the specifics to lower your chances of upsetting the locals.
Ask the Locals Some Questions
When building your itinerary, it’s common to plan a number of tourist attractions or find recommendations online from others who have traveled to the same place. If you want to fully step outside of your comfort zone as a solo traveler, communicate with the locals to find new or unique activities in the area. Most of the time, the hidden gems are kept secret, so connecting with a resident can make all the difference.
Don’t Trust Everyone You Meet While Traveling Alone
As someone traveling alone, there is not a doubt that you’ll want to meet people along the way. Unfortunately, there could be some dangers that come along with getting to know someone in a foreign land. To be safe, don’t share a lot of personal information about yourself, such as your hotel location or that you’re alone, and always trust your gut. If at any point you feel unsafe with someone you are with, follow your instincts with a goal to find a safer environment.
Take Advantage of Places With Free WiFi
If you’re traveling with any kind of device, such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet, scout spaces with free internet access to make using your technologies a breeze. Certain cafes, restaurants, and residential areas have charging stations and USB cords to provide for individuals who want to use their devices away from home.
Take Your Health Into Account
Along with the amazing experiences you’ll gain from traveling alone, it’s important to allocate some of your time towards your mental and physical health. Yes, traveling itself can be beneficial for your overall wellness, but exercising, meditating or maintaining your self-care routine should still be a part of your day-to-day lifestyle. If you need an extra health boost during your excursion, find community yoga classes, wellness retreats, or spas to relax and unwind.
Document Your Time (don’t be afraid to selfie)
When it comes to sharing your experiences, taking photos, journaling and vlogging are all great ways you can commemorate your time spent traveling. Along with this being a great way to share your explorations with others, make sure you are hopping in your own photos! In other words, don’t be afraid to selfie in front of a beautiful landmark or during a moment you never want to forget.