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Solo travel is one of the most rewarding things you can do. It can also be extremely daunting – especially the initial adventures you embark on. There are many things you must consider such as your safety, planning, dealing with loneliness, and using your initiative. Once you have become accustomed to solo travel, however, it is hugely rewarding.
Pursue your wishes
Always embrace the unknown and use solo travel to fulfill your wishes. Moreover, use your time wisely to pursue your interests and wishes. You must use your initiative and remember that you do not have someone else to rely on – your safety, and your personal belongings are your responsibility – take care, and always stay alert. It is also important to try and avoid risky situations and needlessly placing yourself in potential danger.
Finally, when solo traveling you may want to seek company and find fellow-minded people. A perfect way to do this is to stay in hostels or join group tours.
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Where to start
Solo travel is liberating. You get the chance to see the world and do exactly what you want. It builds confidence and allows you to grow as a person. I have traveled on my own extensively – it has opened my eyes to new opportunities and meant that I have visited epic locations such as Antarctica, Jordan, Greenland, and Svalbard.
If you love to travel, I wholeheartedly encourage you to give solo travel a try at least once. Yes, it is a daunting experience. Anyone can do it though. The world isn’t as scary and dangerous as people would have you believe. Providing that you act sensibly and use your brain, you can travel the world on your own in relative safety. If this is something you would like to do, I have provided a list of 10 solo travel tips below for your benefit!
1. Embrace the unknown and push yourself to try new things
The best solo travel tip I can provide is to push yourself. This whole experience will test your character. You will have to deal with new circumstances and rely on your noggin. Aside from pushing yourself to travel alone, push yourself to try new things, and visit places you wouldn’t consider when traveling with friends, loved ones, or family.
2. Look at booking organized tours to find fellow travelers
Joining an organized tour is a great way to meet other people, but also to add some structure and security to your trip. Most big cities have tour operators who provide excellent half-day and full-day trips. I have joined many organized tours and have found that they provide company and a convenient way to explore.
3. Try hostels to meet like-minded solo travelers
Hostels are THE best place to meet people as a solo traveler. You will usually find other solo travelers who just want a little company too. I have met some truly interesting people during my travels – always in a hostel common room, or a hostel bar. Aside from the company, you can share stories and learn some fascinating things about our world.
4. Always take a padlock for your case and keep your items safe
This tip is essential even if you are just stopping in a hotel. A padlock can be used to secure your luggage. Furthermore, if you stop in a hostel, a padlock can be used to secure your personal locker. Yes, someone could steal your luggage, but it acts as a deterrent and stops any petty thievery. Also ensure that you take care of your money, bank cards, and passport – never leave them unattended.
5. Always stay alert and aware of your surroundings
If you travel with friends or family, you have their backup and reassurance. There are multiple minds to assess situations and to remember things. When traveling alone, you must rely on your wits, common sense, and memory. You should, therefore, stay alert and be completely aware of your surroundings. Plan and think about what you are doing including important events and timings.
6. Force yourself to be social at least once
I am a confident person – I will socialize and talk to anyone. Solo travel has helped this immensely. Traveling on my own has enabled me to develop my skills in communication. Even if you don’t want to find a travel buddy, I would advise pushing yourself to make a few friends and socialize at least once during your adventures. Socializing opens a world of possibilities and helps you develop as a person.
7. Use the experience to fulfill your dreams and wishes
I have found that solo travel enables you to effectively be selfish. If you want to go to Borneo to see Orangutans in the jungle, then do it! Maybe you want to travel through Europe and see the historic architecture – what’s stopping you? Solo travel allows you to fulfill your dreams and aspirations – you don’t have to placate anyone else or accommodate anyone else’s whims.
8. Avoid taking risks and placing yourself in unknown situations
When traveling alone, you need to find a balance between exploring and embracing new things, but still being safe. You should be able to gauge when a situation seems risky. Moreover, you should be able to assess the risk. If something seems wrong, walk away and don’t put yourself in that situation! Ultimately, you are on your own and have no one to help.
9. Unless in a group, don’t overindulge with alcohol
Alcohol can leave a person vulnerable. This is magnified for solo travelers. If you get blind drunk in a bar on your own in a foreign country, who is there to look after you and make sure you get back to your accommodation safely? No one. I am not saying don’t have a drink – just be sensible; hostels often have bar crawls and host nights out, for example.
10. Don’t feel obliged to seek companionship
I sometimes find that it is usually assumed that solo travelers MUST seek out other people to converse with. This is not the case. If you don’t want company, and you are perfectly fine on your own, then do it! I have had several solo trips where I haven’t spoken to anyone at all – it was bliss! Travel in a way that you are comfortable with.
Choose a short city break first, in a relatively close location
Whilst some people may jump straight in at the deep end, I advise taking small steps. Solo travel isn’t for everyone. To start, book a long weekend away in a city that isn’t too far away. For example, for my first solo adventure, I booked a city break to Bruges in Belgium. It was perfect – it allowed me to explore on my own but also test how I coped with solo travel.
Analyze your first experience and use it to improve your next solo venture
Once you have taken the leap you will feel ecstatic. It is important to capitalize on this and look at what worked for you during your first solo trip. Did you enjoy stopping in a hostel? Were you able to find things to do and explore properly? Analyze your trip and use your findings to make better choices during your next adventure.
Book something adventurous to test the water
Finally, you must eventually book something grand – something memorable that will truly test your mettle. Once I had traveled alone to Bruges, I booked a trip to Antarctica. I went from a simple European city break to a three-week expedition to the Southern Hemisphere – it was the best thing I have ever done!
About the Author
Paul specializes in travel and photography. His passion for travel spans back to his childhood and has been a life-long obsession. He has seen much of the world including cold climate destinations like Antarctica, Greenland, Svalbard, and Iceland. This combined with a thirst for knowledge, and a love of literature, has allowed him to craft a successful career as a writer. Through his writing, he loves to empower readers to see the world just as he has.
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