Traveling on my own has been one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. It is an experience that helps you grow as a person, connect with yourself, and it also allows you to meet more people. Whether you are a veteran traveling solo or you are thinking about embracing this adventure, here are five tips that can be useful for you:
If you have been contemplating the idea of traveling on your own for a while, but you still don’t dare to do it, my simple advice is: have some courage, close your eyes (or well half way so you can see a bit) and BOOK YOUR TRIP! If on the contrary you have traveled on your own many times, then have the courage to embrace a new traveling experience every time your soul desires it. Sometimes we are afraid to try something new, to repeat past mistakes, to experience again bad moments, or we are too caught up in worries and stress. Have the courage to break these issues:
“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” - Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon), We Bought a Zoo
Courage is your best allied while deciding your next journey and during your trip. Have the courage to adventure in new places, to discover more, to do what that soft voice in the back of your head is telling you to do… Or why not have the courage to go back to places where you feel you have “unfinished business”.
2. Take only the necessary
Of course, we learn from every bad/uncomfortable experience we face, and for me this was the case for traveling with only the necessary. My first solo adventure was to India and I made the mistake to travel with way too many unnecessary things. It is crucial that you only take what is essential. For example, don’t go with so many pairs of shoes (one of the hardest things for me to give up), leave any unnecessary electronics –perhaps this can also be a media detox. Think of practicality! You can wash your clothes if you run out of clean clothes or depending where you are, laundry services might be very cheap. Also, keep in mind you can shop some things in the country of arrival. Take whatever and as much as you can (according to your needs) articles in traveling sizes. There are so many products designed nowadays specially for traveling (e.g. towels) that will save you a lot of space and weight. In conclusion: only the necessary; comfortable bag/suitcase; and traveler size articles.
3. Save your memories
Saving your memories might sound kind of cheesy, but truth is that every trip we take is a new experience even if we are repeating the destination. Pick a method for preserving precious moments. I personally enjoy a lot to write my experience(s) during and/or after every adventure, most of the time I take a sort of journal approach. But if writing is not your “thing”, you can take photos and maybe write some notes on them to make the moment more memorable. You can also make videos, even short videos/clips of a few seconds have a lot of meaning. Another idea is to save any tickets from your flight(s), visited attractions, public transportation, the receipt of a meal, etc. Buying postcards might also be a good idea for having a visual that can have a small note in the back. There are many ways for keeping your memories. You can adapt the method to your personality and taste, what is important is that you save some sort of “tangible” memories. The reason is because in the future you can always get back to them and remember things that were perspicuous to you at that point, or maybe you can even evaluate your personal growth.
4. Don’t be shy
If you are traveling alone, then take the chance to meet new people. Don’t be shy! Go ahead and start a conversation, throw a silly joke, introduce yourself… Whatever it is just open up and get to know new people. Don’t waste the chance to meet incredible and inspiring people, dare to speak to strangers and indulge in diversity of ideas, opinions, cultures, and stories.
5. Do some research
Search information about the city you will be visiting before you travel. It will save you time upon your arrival if you already have, at least, an idea of what you can do in the city you have decided to visit. When looking for information, search for the main touristic attractions, outdoor activities (e.g. trekking) of your interests, read visitor reviews for suggestions/advices, check if they have specific attractions that are related to your interests, etc. You don’t necessarily need to do an intensive research, but at least have a basic idea so you can start exploring as soon as you get there. Once again, don’t be shy and when you get there, ask the locals or other travelers for places/activities worth to visit/do.
I hope this helps and encourages you to take on new adventures with the most important person in your life, you. Be happy and completely comfortable being alone. Just like Mr. Dyer said:
“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with”