When someone says they are traveling alone, there are so many thoughts and questions that instantly pop into your head: “Why?” “Is it for business?” “Can’t you find someone to go with you?” “Aren’t you scared?” For some reason, travelling alone, especially if you are a single woman going to a far away land, has been equated with either using the trip for self-discovery or just a desperate cry for help due to loneliness. So many negative stigmas and connotations surround this basic concept and it seems unfathomable that someone would willingly want to travel by themselves with no ulterior motives. Be it a study abroad, weekend getaway, or vacation time, going solo to a new place can be a fun and exciting adventure. And if you happen to have a life changing experience while you’re at it, then just chalk it up to coincidence! Traveling alone does take a bit of preparation, especially if you have a Type A personality like myself, so here is a 5 step guide to successfully making the most of your solo adventures!
1. Plan ahead.
I am the type of person that likes to have a gameplan, and although everything may not work out the way you want it, at least you have some sort of direction to follow. Booking tours in advance is a great way to get around an unfamiliar city and see all the highlights, while also being with other travellers. Do your research and make an itinerary beforehand. That way, you are prepared and ready to go once you arrive at your destination. No time to waste!
2. Ask someone to take your picture.
Maybe you are more of the behind the camera type and just need those pictures of the views, but I am sure there will be plenty of Instagram worthy shots that you want to be in and you definitely should not miss those opportunities! There will certainly be other tourists or locals around and if you do not have your handy dandy selfie stick with you (which I hope you are not one of those people), then just ask someone to take your picture! More likely than not, they will ask you to take their picture in return. We all know the struggle!
3. Know your surroundings and ask questions.
This is not to scare you or make it seem like traveling alone is dangerous, but it is always better to be safe than sorry in any situation. With that in mind, always have the location of your accommodation with you and familiarize yourself with the surrounding area of where you are staying. Google Maps is always your loyal companion in getting you where you need to go. If all else fails, simply ask someone that works in a nearby restaurant or hotel.
4. Immerse in the culture.
Being in a new place means being in a new culture. Try new foods, meet new people, hear new languages. Instead of shying away from something that is different, be a part of it and you will be better for it. I know being in places by yourself can be intimidating, especially restaurants and cafes, but I promise no one will give you a second glance as long as you are confident in yourself (and taking a good book to read doesn’t hurt either).
5. Enjoy yourself!
Without sounding too cliche, you are literally young and free, and there is no one there to hold you back, so make the most of it! Just because you are alone, does not mean you are lonely. The memories you create will be the stories that people will envy (along with the Instagram posts).