Many people are intimidated by the idea of traveling solo. Traveling on your own for the first time may feel scary, but it’s also empowering and freeing.
It’s all about perspective and preparation. Every person should take at least one solo trip during their life. Start off on the right foot! Here are a few ways to feel more confident about stepping out on your first solo trip:
1.Redefine and Repurpose Fear
What are your fears about solo travel? What puts you on edge? Are you afraid for your safety? Don’t know the language? Scared you’ll look silly on your own? Address your fears and prepare to meet your needs. Solo travelers are savvy and have fun, too.
Why travel alone, right? You look stupid eating by yourself. There’s no one to see the sights with and share the experience. Wrong. The beauty of traveling solo is that there will be other solo travelers carving their own paths as well. When journeying by yourself, you don’t have anyone to hold you down, and the possibilities for what want to see, and can see, are endless.
It’s time to unpack your fears. You don’t need worries weighing you down, when it is hard enough to decide what to literally pack, anyway.
2. Pack Economically and Efficiently
Packing is difficult, especially when it’s your first solo trip. You pack more for the possibilities than for the actual itinerary.
Pack multi-purpose items, and leave what isn’t necessary. For products, choose items that have a 2-in-1 function, like shampoo and conditioner in one bottle. Instead of a curling iron, braid your hair at night.
Will the weather be cold or warm, or temperamental with sudden chills in the evening? Do you need to pack a cocktail dress for going out on the town or for a special event? For clothing, select items that may be dressed up or dressed down. A good pair of walking shoes and a light jacket will see you through most sight-seeing perils. Layering will be your chilly weather war strategy.
Are you flying? Do you think that you can fit everything into a carry on bag? If so, that will save you a lot of money on checked baggage. Yes, it is possible to pack a two-week trip into a carry on.
3. Make Your Flight Easier
Whether you’re an experienced or first-time flyer, the whole process of flying gives anyone a migraine. Fortunately, there are hacks to make flying easier before you even step on the plane:
- If possible, book your tickets one to four months before your trip. On average, the cheapest days to travel are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The best times to fly are between 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. or after 8 p.m.
- Check in online, instead of at the airport. Avoid those lines!
- Always get to the airport at least two hours in advance. You never know what will alter your flight plans.
- For carry-on, you may have one bag and one personal item. For checked baggage, the allowance is 50 lbs. Sometimes, your first checked bag is paid for, but many airlines have changed that policy. Check the airline’s policy on the allowed volume for liquids for your bathroom products.
- Are you a frequent flyer? In some cases, you may be able to take advantage of a TSA pre-check program to get you through security faster.
While you are waiting to board, scout for snacks, and grab a nearby outlet to charge your cell phone or laptop. Enjoy watching a few animated short films and eating chips while everyone else scurries around you.
4. Tell Family and the Government You’ll be Traveling
It’s important to let your family know that you’ll be traveling, including the how, when and where. You will all feel safe once they have a copy of your travel insurance, passport, health records and travel itinerary. If an emergency pops up, your family has a back up of your information.
For similar reasons, it’s also important to register with the government as you travel abroad. Sign up for alerts and find out where your nearest embassy is located for the United States, Canada, the UK and other countries in most cases.
5. Become a Bit of a Local on Your Trip
One of the best ways to feel more confident about traveling solo is to fit in to the area. Get to know the town. Where is the best coffee? Is there a cozy restaurant you will try dessert at, with an amazing view and a good book? Find places that you may retreat to after a long day of sight-seeing. At home, you probably have your go-to hangout. Why not find a personal hangout on your trip?
To become a local, get to know a local. Do not be afraid to ask for directions or strike up a conversation. People are more connected than they have ever been. So, ask friends and family if they know someone who would be happy to show you around and perhaps grab dinner. A little familiarity goes a long way when you are far from home.
Solo travel dares you to get to know yourself outside of your comfort zone. It’s normal to feel less than confident when venturing out into the unknown on your own, but you aren’t alone.
This is your opportunity to taste new foods and try new things without anyone holding you back. Only your fears threaten to hold you back, if you let them. With perspective and planning, your worries will be transformed into excitement. You can do this!
Author: Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.