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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

This past summer I decided to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to Spain. It was my first solo trip, so I spent countless hours pouring over travel blogs looking for any useful tips or tricks I might need. Some advice was better than others, but here’s what worked for me!

Pack Light

I have to admit I’m always a last minute packer, like a 3 hours before I need to leave type of packer, and my trip to Spain was no exception. Instead of a suitcase, I opted for an Osprey Backpacking Pack which already limited my space. After taking the contents out a few times, I finally managed to reduce my load. I didn’t even end up wearing all the outfits I packed anyways! The point is you never need as much as you think, and if you’re in a pinch, you can always get something there. Also, you want to save some space for souvenirs! 

Learn Local Lingo 

If you’re not familiar with the language that is spoken in the area you’re going to, learn some new words. At the very least, learn how to introduce yourself, order at a restaurant, and start a basic conversation. Locals will appreciate your effort and be more willing to help you. 

Keep Valuables Close 

One of my biggest fears when traveling abroad is losing my valuables. Before traveling, I always make sure I have photocopies of my Passport and ID at home and one copy on me in case I lose the original. When it comes to valuables, make sure they’re in front of you at all times and can’t be easily taken from you. 

Walking Tours

Researching ahead of time is key when going to a new place, but it’s good to have someone familiar with the area show you around. On the first day, I recommend finding a free walking tour so you can get a feel for the area and figure out where you wanna visit. Then afterward or the next day you’re there, you have an idea of where everything is and what you wanna see. Another nice thing about walking tours is they give you facts you would’ve had to look up or stumble across otherwise. 

Create an Itinerary 

Having an itinerary, at least a rough one, is good for staying on track and safety. At the minimum, you should give someone you trust a list of dates with the places you’ll be. Having an itinerary also helps you plan what you need to bring and sights you can’t miss. Even though having an organized itinerary is nice, make sure to allow for time to explore. Some of the best experiences happen by accident when wandering around. 

Trust Your Gut

Traveling solo will take you out of your comfort zone, but it’s important to make sure you still feel safe. If you feel like something is wrong, then get out of that situation! Your gut instincts will become sharper as you have more experiences, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

While this is only a few tips and tricks I used on my solo trip, the best advice I can give you is to be open minded. Being open minded will allow you to fully appreciate your trip and have the experience of a lifetime. Good luck on your next solo adventure!

Leah Lindemeyer was formerly the Community Outreach Director and an editor for Her Campus as MSU. She helped HCMSU remain active in the community and give back to East Lansing. Lindemeyer graduated from Michigan State University in spring of 2024 with a bachelor's degree in communication and minors in media photography, public relations, and global studies. After graduation, she will go to Ohio State for her Master's in communication. Lindemeyer wrote and edited for her high school's journalism program for all four years she attended. For her work, she earned the James L. McCann "Excellence in Journalism" Award two years in a row. In her free time, Lindemeyer enjoys water skiing, traveling, watching romantic comedies, and taking photos.