You may not have considered a solo vacation before, but there are a lot of good reasons to plan a trip on your own, whether you have a partner or not. Traveling alone at least once in your life can be eye-opening and shift your perspective. It can be rewarding and help you experience things that you might not otherwise if you were with a partner or even a friend.
When you travel alone, you think more about the destination, and you’re forced to really engage with what’s around you. You’re more likely to meet more locals and experience culture more deeply as a result, and it’s fully up to you how you spend your time and what you do. You don’t have to worry about shifting what you want to do to accommodate the preferences of other people you’re traveling with.
With that being said, the following are some tips to keep in mind as you plan a solo vacation.
Choose a Reputable Hotel
You may be tempted to book an Airbnb every time you head out of town, but there’s something to be said for booking a larger hotel or resort if you’re traveling alone.
First, there is a sense of security that can come with staying at a hotel versus staying on your own in a rental. There’s also the ability to ask the hotel staff for recommendations and have them help you along the way. There may also be great amenities at a hotel that can come in handy if you’re traveling alone. Larger and more well-known hotels also tend to be in safer neighborhoods for the most part. If you do decide to book an Airbnb or something similar, make sure you do your research not just on the rental itself but the area it’s located since security can be more of a concern if you’re traveling alone and especially if you’re a solo female traveler.
Prepare to Branch Out
Just because you’re technically traveling solo, it doesn’t mean that you have to be alone. If you’re interested in doing so, make plans to go places where you’re likely to meet other people. For example, instead of renting a car, if it’s an option in your destination, take the train. Before you go if you’re traveling abroad to a place where a different language is spoken, try to learn at least some essentials so that you can interact with locals. Use social media as a way to meet up with other people at your destination, or think about using Meetup to find groups of like-minded people who will be in the same place as you.
If you’re too shy to meet people out and about, but you would like some human interaction, book tours. Group tours can be geared around certain demographics or themes—for example, you might find a tour for single people or people interested in something that you are also interested in. You get to engage with other people, and you get a real feel for your destination when you do tours.
There can be amazing experiences associated with traveling solo, but there can be logistical challenges. Traveling on your own means that you’re responsible for carrying all of your luggage on your own. Make it easy on yourself by packing light. If you can fit everything into a backpack, that may be your best option.
Plan As Much As You Can Ahead of Time
As exciting and life-changing as solo travel can be, it can also be scary and intimidating. You can take some of the fear factor out of it by planning as much as you can before you ever leave home. For example, plan how you’ll get from place-to-place and learn where the nearest public transportation stops are near where you’re staying. Outline the attractions that are important to you to see and ensure that you know when they’re open and how to get there. Have a list of restaurants near where you’re staying that you’d like to visit, and for anything you can, book tickets ahead of time. This will help you feel like you’re more in control of your trip, but don’t plan so much that you don’t have some room for flexibility.
Finally, let someone at home know you’re leaving, where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone. You may want to set up a schedule for when you’ll check in so they know you’re safe and everything is going well on your solo adventure.