As a traveler, you want to get the most out of your experience. See new places, eat new cuisines, experience different cultures and meet new people. Traveling not only educates, but can help you become more empowered and confident as a person. Especially if you travel solo.
Whether you’re a world class traveler or new to travel, below are 10 tips to keep in mind for your first solo trip.
Once you’ve settled on a destination, it’s time to crack open your computer and travel books. A simple search on google can tell you the top attractions to see, places to eat and what tour companies and other scams to avoid.
Part of your research should also include what mode of transportation you’ll use while traveling. You may have a lot of options with local transportation or you may find that traveling by foot is the best way to go. If you’re planning to rent a car while traveling, look up your insurance options. There are many options on the web that will give you free car insurance quotes.
2. Have backup options
Part of traveling includes learning to be flexible. When doing your initial research, start brainstorming backup plans in case of cancelations, inclement weather, transportation issues, etc.
Remember, when things don’t go according to plan—don’t get discouraged, instead, learn to go with the flow. You may end up having a better experience than you initially planned.
3. By plane tickets on weekends
After initial research, your next step will most likely include buying a round trip airplane ticket. Be sure to give yourself enough time to research and purchase airfare, three to six months in advance. According to a recent study by Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation, the best time to buy a plane ticket is on Sunday.
Also, the study found that bundling your travel products, such as a flight and hotel, can provide big savings.
4. Start a preparation checklist...and stick to it
Create a checklist of tasks you’ll need to accomplished before you head out on your trip. This is more than just a packing list, research to see if you’ll need to receive shots, visas, passport, certifications and other miscellaneous items that need to be done well in advance.
Remember that with passports, certain countries require that your passport be valid for at least 6 months prior to the expiration date. So if you’re traveling in June and your passport expires in December, you’ll need to renew it.
5. Inform family and friends of your itinerary
Once you’ve created an itinerary, be sure to share it with friends, family or significant others. This will help ensure your safety and be helpful if you find yourself in trouble. Social media is another great tool to help friends and family know not only where you are, but that you’re doing well.
6. Be smart with your money
Before you leave, be sure to call your bank and let them know you are traveling outside of the country. Most will ask which specific countries you’ll be visiting. Also, make photocopies of the credit/debit cards you plan to bring abroad, in case they get stolen and you need to report it to your bank.
In addition, be aware of money withdrawal fees when abroad. If your bank charges you a certain percentage each time you use your card, plan to withdraw the amount of currency you need.
7. Pack less
Before you start putting clothes in suitcases, lay everything out that you plan to pack and then put away 25%. You probably won’t end up wearing everything you pack, so instead, pack some travel size detergent so you can wash your clothes, if necessary. When packing, be sure to include comfortable clothes and shoes that are durable. Also be sure to leave enough room for your souvenirs.
8. Learn simple phrases
If you’re traveling abroad to a country with a different language, try to brush up on common phrases to help you navigate better. If you have a smartphone, Google Translate is also a helpful tool. Locals will also appreciate your effort.
9. Know your surroundings and be safe
As a solo traveler, you’ll need to take extra precautions when traveling. Besides being aware of your environment, leave your valuables at home and keep your smartphones and cameras hidden when exploring. This will help you avoid theft. Just remember to act confident and to trust your gut when traveling.
Also, be sure to check travel alerts and warnings before traveling.
10. Put yourself out there and meet other tourists
Lastly, smile when exploring and don’t be afraid to go out of your way to meet other people/tourists when traveling. Especially when traveling alone, try staying at sociable accommodations, like B&Bs to meet other travelers. It will make your travel experience much more enjoyable.
All in all, keep these 10 tips in mind when you embark on a solo trip.