Wanderlust unleashed: How to make the most of your solo world travels
Embarking on the adventure of a lifetime is exciting, but going solo can feel a little overwhelming, and feelings of doubt may begin to creep in.
What if my luggage goes missing? What happens if I have an accident? Is it safe to explore at night? These are the types of questions that may be swimming around your mind ahead of a solo adventure, but we’re here to put your mind at rest.
Going with the flow when you’re traveling is a romanticized idea, and often leads to unnecessary chaos. The best way to alleviate the anxiety and stress around traveling solo is to spend plenty of time planning. By planning, you’ll make sure you get the best deals possible on everything from accommodation to travel. If you want to make sure your airline tickets are as low as possible, we recommend reading this detailed “how to” guide for finding cheap flights.
As well as booking tickets in advance, you should also decide on a realistic number of “must-see” attractions and things to do, which will help guide your itinerary. Alongside this list, you will have plenty of opportunities for spontaneity.
When you’re traveling alone, the last thing you want is heavy bags weighing you down between destinations, which is why you should aim to pack as little as possible. As well as being less exhausting, you will have an easier time keeping track of your gear, especially if you’re checking into hostels and cramming everything into lockers.
Follow these tips for keeping luggage to a minimum:
- Don’t pack daily outfits – most hostels have a laundromat or there will be one nearby.
- Choose a bag with plenty of compartments – makes items easier to find.
- Don’t take expensive tech along for the ride – there is a risk of it getting broken or stolen.
- Take cheap sandals or flip-flops for showering.
- Wear one pair of shoes and pack only one more.
Research customs and cultures
When you visit other countries, you have to be prepared to alter your actions depending on the culture and expected etiquette. Therefore, you should spend time researching to find out the following:
- Laws about taking photos, drinking, and cycling.
- How to respect personal space and greet locals.
- Expectations for male and female clothes.
- Customary behaviors dictated by religion.
Hostels are your friend
Hostels can feel awkward at first, but they’re the perfect accommodation type for solo travelers. People at hostels are all in the same boat – they’re traveling and need cheap accommodation filled with other travelers. You will meet some truly wonderful people in hostels, and you may even find a group to go out for a drink with or explore the local area.
Enjoy dining alone
Sitting alone in a restaurant can feel a bit odd at first, but it’s something you need to get used to when traveling solo. Instead of allowing fear and anxiety to get the better of you, just focus on that much-needed rest and delicious food. If you need something to distract your mind, consider taking a notepad or book; you can use the time to write a journal about your experiences.
Always be ready for emergencies
Even though your adventure will be incredible, there’s always room for something to go wrong, which is why it’s essential to be prepared for emergencies. Before you set off, follow these steps:
- Check for travel warnings and advisories for each destination.
- Buy extensive travel insurance.
- Write down important addresses like the US embassy.
- Have a translator app that functions offline.
Being nervous before traveling solo is perfectly reasonable, but the reality is you’ll have the most exhilarating experience of your life and will be itching to do it again.