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

For lots of people, the idea of taking a solo trip can be scary. It means having to do everything for yourself and by yourself for however long you’re away. I have so many friends who refuse to go to restaurants, the movies, parks, museums or anywhere else by themselves. It’s not always any actual danger that keeps them from going solo, but the idea that people will see them alone and think that they don’t have any friends. It can be difficult to get used to being alone, but being comfortable with yourself is the ultimate reward. If you’re going to start going places by yourself, start small. Here’s everything you need to prepare for a day trip on a budget.

Pick a location.

Personally, I am a big fan of parks. Being alone in nature leads you to take more notice of local plants and wildlife. It’s a great way to clear your mind and get some fresh air. If you’re more into museums, historic sites or shopping districts, that’s fine! Just make sure your location is safe and not too far away from civilization. I would start with somewhere that’s two hours or less away from your starting location. Later, you can work your way up to bigger trips.

Pack a bag.

For me, this looks like an extra change of clothes (if I’m going hiking or kayaking or anything else that would make the drive back sweaty and unpleasant), my wallet with $40+ and my driver’s license, a picnic blanket, bug spray and sunscreen in the warmer months, a water bottle, pepper spray and some snacks. I also bring a cooler with a packed lunch if I’m trying to save money instead of trying out new restaurants. In my car, I always keep my spare tire, my car jack, a wrench, my car owner’s manual and jumper cables. If you get really into road tripping, I suggest getting a membership with the American Automobile Association. If you visit one of AAA’s offices, you can also request travel guides to any state! I do this a lot in preparation for trips or when I’m looking for new local things to do.

Download GasBuddy.

GasBuddy finds the cheapest gas stations in your area for you. It also has a fuel saver program called GasBack that I have never used, so I can’t vouch for it, but saving money on gas is always good.

Share your location with someone you trust.

I constantly have my location shared with at least two of my friends, but if you’re going somewhere new by yourself then make extra sure to let someone know where you’ll be and during what time frame. If something were to happen, then you’ll have someone waiting for you back home who’s ready to call for help if needed. 

Day trips are one of my favorite ways to spend my time, but the number of trips that I go on would be drastically reduced if I always waited for someone else to go with me. It’s good to get used to going places by yourself and college is the prime time for it! Just make sure you stay safe, prepared and hydrated. 

Lauren Textor is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City who is studying English. She is one of UMKC's Campus Correspondents. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, painting, and sight-seeing at possibly haunted locations.
Krit graduated with English and Chemistry degrees from UMKC. As the President and founder of UMKC’s chapter, she hopes HC UMKC will continue to create content that inspires students. Some of her favorite things include coffee and writing.