Book a leisure trip and your friends and family will naturally ask, “Who are you traveling with?” But solo traveling is a growing trend in the traveling industry. At its best, solo travel is a self-liberating experience. It’s an opportunity to learn about yourself and experience new things on your own terms — literally. You can go wherever you want and spend as long as you like in any city you choose. So let loose, but take the necessary precautions when doing so. To make your journey easier, we’ve gathered some tips for traveling alone.
Do Your Research – Before you travel, learn about the city your visiting. Ask yourself key questions about your destination. What will the weather be like? What kind of clothing is appropriate to wear? What is the food like? What is the public transport like? How much will things cost? These are so many important things to know before you start your travel. Also, ensure that your personal travel safety needs align with your personal safety needs. Figure out how to navigate local transportation while finding great restaurants, shops, and bars.
Be Open Minded – The beauty of solo traveling is that you are traveling by yourself and for yourself. Therefore, your plans are contingent on what interest you the most. So when it comes to daily excursions, sometimes having no plan is the best plan. Show up to a bar opening, visit a new museum expedition or just sit outside in a city center with some locals. Whatever you decide to do, be open to new things. Enjoy the surprised of a new destination but always stay on guard too.
Make Use of Mobile Devices – Regardless of where you may go, your phone can be especially useful in guiding your adventure. It will serve as your travel guide, map, networking and in some cases your translator. Your phone is a great resource for finding out about local events and attractions, as well as connect with locals. In addition to social media, social apps like Couchsurfing, Meetup, and EatWith can easily connect you with other travelers.
Don’t Be Afraid to Dine Out – Eating alone will allow you to really focus on your food and enjoy every bite. Don’t take this for granted. To help you with your restaurants use apps like Yelp, Foodspotter to find the best places to eat. If you’re looking to dine with others, use social apps like Meet Up and Travel Buddies to find local food and wine groups near you.
Step Off the Beaten Path – Some of your best experiences comes from those locals and other people who frequently travel. Be friendly and don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially with taxi drivers. They love to share their local knowledge with you. Just ask any Uber rider.
Choose Your Accommodations Wisely – When it comes to traveling to a new place, location is key. So choosing a great accommodation is key to having a great trip. Many solo travelers take advantage of hostels and B&Bs. Theses shared lodging spaces gives you the opportunity to meet other travelers. Hostels, hotels, and B&B are great social hubs for finding information about a new city.
Book a Day Tour – Day tours give you a great excuse to meet people on your independent travel. If you’re not as open to meeting people through an app or in your hotel, you may find yourself exploring this option. These types of excursions are a haven for solo travelers, because not only can they help you get your bearings and learn more about the best of what a city has to offer.
Have a Plan B – Travel doesn’t always go as planned. It’s inevitable. Flights are delayed, day tours are canceled or you might lose a valuable or two. But it’s not necessarily all bad. Sometimes new opportunities arise in the face of adversity. Be flexible with your plans and always ensure that you have the extra funds. Pro tip: carry extra cash and an emergency credit card in a separate bag when traveling.
Stay Alert – Be careful as you travel. Keep your personal belongings and valuables close, never disclose too much information about yourself and have fun! Some destinations are friendlier than others on the solo travel spectrum. Take care in large cities at night, watch your drinks and be aware of any local scams. Don’t put your safety at risk to save money, either. You can’t put a price on your safety. If you’re not keen on getting travel advice from others, travel apps like TripWhistle Global SOS and RedZone Map can help you navigate through cities in a safe way.
Alexa Noel is a freelance writer who holds a BA in English and Journalism from the University at Albany. Her work has been featured in print and digital publications around the world, including the Points Guy, Harlem Bee, News Cult and The Reporter Ethiopia.