Heading out on your first-ever solo trip? Preparing for this kind of experience can be anxiety inducing and feel like you’re taking a huge risk – because you are! And that’s the beauty of it. Certainly, though, there are more than a few tips that can lessen the anxiety of heading out as a first-time solo traveler.
1. Pack light – Bring what you need and only what you need. Lay out all the clothes you want to bring and then pack only half for the trip. You won’t feel so weighed down and your back will thank you.
2. Calculate the cash you think you’ll need, then bring double – It’s impossible to estimate how much money you’ll spend in places you’ve never been before and in situations you’ve never experienced before. Unexpected inconveniences often require money to fix, so have that extra cash on hand.
3. Don’t forget the backpacker basics! – Pack smart and there’s less of a chance that you’ll run into any material inconveniences along the way.
4. Do your research – Look up the destinations you’re headed to and the hotels you’d like to stay in. Planning ahead will help set your expectations.
5. Back up your phone – Though many people procrastinate doing this, the process is not that hard, and it will save you lots of grief if your phone disappears and you lose all your photos.
6. Plan plan plan – Remember, you’re new to this! Make the trip easy and smooth by having a solid plan for every step of the way. Your future self will thank you. But allow yourself to derail from the plan here and there.
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7. Get a solo traveler guide book – There’s no need to browse the web for answers to all your travel needs when someone has already compiled that information for you – accessible even if you don’t have wi-fi.
8. Take advantage of travel apps – Many applications are made specifically for travel. Lots are free!
9. Document your travels – Photos, journaling, scrapbooking – whatever your jam is for taking those memories with you. These are experiences you’ll want to revisit down the road.
10. Make sure someone knows where you are – And at all times! This is one tip that could save your life in any scary or tough situations. If nothing else, it will give you and your loved ones some peace of mind.
11. Take advantage of downtime – Have a book to read, podcasts downloaded, a movie, or whatever strikes your fancy for portable entertainment. When you don’t have a friend to chat with, it’s nice to have something else to do.
12. Stay safe – No one has your back, and you can’t have your own back, so make sure you stay vigilant and cautious. With new situations, surroundings and people, don’t ignore red flags! Trust your intuition.
13. Make friends with locals – The best way to get to know the culture is from a local perspective. If you have a question, chances are your local connects will have the answer.
14. Keep an open mind – Be open to new experiences and meeting new people. Remember, these travels are for you, and you alone, so make the most of your solo trip in whatever way you define that.
15. Enjoy – Take advantage of probably the best time of your life. Feel the freedom and the excitement of exploring new cultures and environments. Realize that soon you will be back home struggling with a ‘post-travel syndrome‘.