There are many reasons to love solo travel. It brings the freedom to do what you want when you want, for an exciting and liberating experience. It’s a great way to boost confidence and relieve stress, perhaps after a major life change. You won’t have to worry about accommodating anyone else’s needs and it often brings more opportunities to meet new people too.
An increasing number of people are discovering the joys of solo travel. If you belong to any type of travel group, it’s something you might have noticed. It’s not something only young people do, in fact, it’s a growing trend among older women. Still, when traveling alone for the first time, it’s natural to feel a bit nervous.
Just before my first big solo trip, my anxiety was through the roof. But over time, I’ve learned that there are many ways to increase the odds of having an enjoyable experience.
Pick the Right Destination Keeping Safety in Mind
It’s always important to do some research about the safety of the destination you’re planning to visit, but when it comes to solo travel, especially the first time, choosing a place that ranks high on safety is key. Without the safety net of having a travel companion, you might start envisioning all sorts of possible scary scenarios. A wise pick will help you to to feel more comfortable about your trip from the start.
If you aren’t sure where you want to go, start Googling rankings of the world’s safest countries to visit alone. The Global Peace Index is a great place to start – for example, the ranking for 2022 lists the top five most peaceful countries, based on factors like violent crime and terrorism impact as Iceland, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, and Austria. While researching accommodation options, do some research to find out which areas are best avoided, if any. Many destinations will have at least one group on Facebook dedicated to traveling there with locals happy to provide advice. TripAdvisor is another great source.
Learn at Least a Few Phrases of the Local Language and Now How to Use Google Translate
Traveling to a country where you don’t speak the language can make solo travel more daunting. A first-time solo trip will be easier if you go somewhere where they speak your language. Otherwise, you’ll want to learn a few helpful phrases first. It can make a big difference, especially when you don’t have someone else there with you. Simple things like hello, please, thank you, excuse me, etc. go a long way. It also shows locals that you’re generally interested in their culture, opening up doors to new friendships too. As the basics of a language won’t get you out of every situation, knowing how to use Google translate can be a lifesaver. If you’ve never used it, take time to practice before you go.
Connect with Someone Before You Go and Seek Out Connections While You’re There
For those not used to traveling alone, loneliness can be one of the most challenging aspects. Before you go, try connecting with a local through travel forums or a group Facebook page. If that doesn’t work out, sign up for an Airbnb experience. It’s a great way to take part in a unique activity that will allow you to get to know the place and its people, often providing the opportunity to meet other travelers.
Once you’ve reached your destination, you might use a site like Meetup to find local activities and events to join that will allow you to meet others. Just about every city across the globe offers a long list of opportunities.
Believe in Yourself
Traveling solo can bring some challenges but the rewards that can include everything from greater confidence and enhanced well-being to a changed perspective on life make it well worth it. Believing in yourself, knowing many others have done it and you can too, will help ease those doubts allowing you to experience one of the greatest pleasures in life.