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Traveling solo is one of the most enriching and self-affirming journeys you can go on. It promotes independence, allows you to do only the things you want to do, and gives you a chance to figure out who you are and what you really enjoy without anyone else’s opinion or influence. It’s a wonderful gift and the good news is, you can give it to yourself.
More and more people are traveling alone these days according to the New York Times, recognizing the benefit of being able to have a vacation where you call all the shots, take in your surroundings without distraction, and do something entirely for yourself.
Yet for most people, traveling somewhere alone for the first time sounds kind of scary. People worry about safety, loneliness, and what a vacation is like where they can’t depend on anyone else.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be difficult nor daunting! Here are seven tips to make your solo journey a seamless one:
1) Pick somewhere social
Traveling alone doesn’t mean that you have to be lonely. Much of the fun is in meeting other solo travelers who are out there doing the very same thing, and there are a lot of us!
Unless you want to travel alone because you crave solitude, pick countries that are popular with tourists who are your age or like the same things that you do. If you’re into beach holidays, consider Thailand or Costa Rica. If you love the mountains, check out Canada or the Swiss Alps. Do some research on solo travel blogs and find a blogger who you feel is like-minded with what you enjoy, and go for his or her recommendations.
2) Join groups for part of it
It’s easy to meet other travelers if you stay in hostels. The common rooms and dorm rooms are perfect places to meet others, they’re typically a great value, and can often be quite comfortable and nice.
Day tours are also a great way to meet others. If you love food, do a food walk. Love street art? Google the place you intend to go and see if there are afternoon walking tours. Love scuba diving? Join a liveaboard ship for a few days, or if you’re into hiking, join an organized trek. These are great ways to meet people who like to do the same things that you do, regardless of age or background. You can easily find the groups you want by performing a quick Google search and seeing what the offerings are.
3) Use online forums
If hostels and tours aren’t your thing, check out Internet forums such as meetup.com, Couchsurfing.org’s activity boards, localized Facebook groups, and Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum. Perhaps you’ll find someone to split the cost of an activity you’re interested in.
4) Tap into the sharing economy
As the list grows of companies sprouting up offering people the opportunity to exchange goods and services peer-to-peer, more and more benefits to the solo traveler appear as well.
If you want to stay with locals, check out AirBnB, or if you want to share dinner with some new friends, take a look at eatwith, which connects local chefs and visitors for private dinner parties (without shouldering the cost on your own). Vayable is also a great tool for finding local guides for the places you’re visiting.
5) Don’t be afraid to start a conversation
Travelers are friendly people. I used to find it somewhat difficult to meet people back home, but once I started traveling, found that there were plenty of solo travelers just like me out there doing the exact same thing. They were also happy to meet me, whether our conversation lasted a few minutes, an hour, or we became friends for life.
Don’t be afraid to simply say hello and ask someone where they’re from. It’s often that simple. If they aren’t receptive, that’s OK, the next person probably will be, so move on without hard feelings.
7) Protect your belongings easily
One of the chief concerns for travelers is keeping their belongings safe and secure. Use thief-safe PacSafe day bags and RFID reader-blocking travel wallets so that you can spend your energy on enjoying rather than worrying.
6) Get safety and prep tips from the experts
Reverting back to point #2, look to those with extensive solo travel experience and see what they have to say. If you’re a solo female and want some advice for prepping for your trip and staying safe on the road, check out the Solo Female Travel Guide Book. It has tons of tips and tricks to help make your journey a seamless one.
There are plenty of reasons to consider a solo trip, and these days, plenty of ways to make it social, fun, and easy. Take advantage of our more connected world, break out of your shell, and see what the world has to offer.
You don’t have to wait for anyone else to make your traveling dream a reality. Just get out there and do it.
Kristin Addis is the solo female traveler behind BeMyTravelMuse.com, a website for off the beaten path adventures! She is also the author of solo female traveler guidebook, Conquering Mountains and How to Solo Travel the World Fearlessly.
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