Travelling alone can be one of the most enlightening – and sometimes terrifying – experiences of your life. Here’s the run-down of the highlights, lowlights, requirements, and hints that will make solo travel your main means of exploration from now on.
What you need to know:
Solo travel is not for the faint of heart. If you’re truly contemplating taking a trip by yourself, make sure you ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you like yourself enough to be alone for a long period of time?
- Are you confident in your abilities to be assertive enough to get things from others when you need them?
- Are you ready to learn things about yourself that you are completely unaware of?
- Are you going to be okay when things don’t go as planned and you have no one to rely on but yourself?
If you answered “no” to any or all of these questions, you may need to take some time to get acquainted with yourself and the world around you before you set off to explore it unassisted. Taking a solo trip is one of the most intense experiences one can take on, so if you’re starting to plan your first solo trip, get ready – you’ll return from your exploration with completely altered ideas about yourself and the world around you.
When there’s no one to compete with, travel can be a breeze. People don’t take solo trips just for the heck of it; here are a few reasons why solo travel is the way to go.
- The decision is yours and yours alone. There is no one to argue with on where you’ll venture, what you’ll eat, or who can tag along. On your trip, your voice is the only one with authority, so let your feet take you wherever they’d like.
- When you’re alone, you’ll find yourself yearning for some human interaction. Lucky for you, all the other solo travellers are probably lonely too! Once you get to talking, you’ll meet some incredible people. If you find a new friend, no worries; there’s no one telling you that you can’t make spontaneous plans with your new travel companion!
- With all this time on your hands, you’d better get comfortable in your headspace – no idle conversation is available to distract you from those deep dark thoughts. You’ll get to know yourself more intimately than you ever thought you could, making conversation with yourself in your head for days on end.
- Nothing’s holding you back! With only strangers around, why not try something new? If you embarrass yourself, no one has to know! A solo trip is the perfect time to step outside your comfort zone and create a memory that will last forever – whether you share that memory when you get home is up to you.
Travelling by yourself does have its downsides. Once you’re out in the world alone, it’s not all fun and games. Here are a few things to take into consideration before you decide whether you’re ready to venture out into the big wide world by yourself.
- If you didn’t already expect to be lonely, get ready: solo travel will be one of the most isolated experiences of your life. With no one to chat with or express your thoughts to, the impact of your solitude will hit you quickly.
- You may get your own room, but that also means the bill is all yours to pay. Without a roommate, transportation and accommodation costs will inevitably go up.
- Look out – on a solo trip, you have to be twice as vigilant. Your travel buddy isn’t watching your back anymore, so be extra cautious. When it’s just you exploring the world, you are forced to take care of yourself and watch out for your own safety.
Fabulous first solo trip destinations:
If you’re convinced that solo travel is a venture you are ready to undertake, the next step is to pick a safe, exciting, and appealing destination within your budget. Here are a few exciting, reliable destinations for the first-time solo vacationer.
- The Swiss Alps. These serene and majestic mountains make for a marvelous vacation destination, whether you’re ready to backpack from one peak to another or just sit and enjoy the view from your suite.
- If you’ve never seen the stunning sight of Old Faithful spouting into the air, you’re in for a treat. Make the trip by car if you’re feeling adventurous, and stop by other noteworthy landmarks across the country on your way.
- New Zealand. This peaceful country is one of the most popular for solo travelers because of its reputation for safety and stunning landscapes. For adventure junkies, there’s no shortage of bungee jumping destinations and stunning hikes; for those wanting a little relaxation, there are countless luxurious resorts and spas all over the island.
- This charming little city has enough hidden treasures to last you months of exploring. If you’re in the mood to discover a new corner of the country, check out this peaceful Southern city and indulge in some good food, shopping, and people watching.
- This vast country has no shortage of destinations waiting to be explored. The wonderful thing about Canada is the wide variety of vacations available; whether you’re looking to chill by the pool, backpack along dramatic cliffs, camp by a serene lake, or ski in waist-deep powder, this safe, accommodating country has you covered.
Once you’ve selected a destination, planned out your itinerary (or not!), purchased your ticket, and made your reservations, you’re almost ready to head off on your adventure! Before you step out the door, though, make sure you keep a few things in mind for the duration of your solo trip.
- Always have a backup plan. When you’re on your own in the world, there’s no one you can fall back on when things go awry. To avoid crisis, have an alternative plan in mind, just in case.
- Don’t be naive. Sadly, there are people who will notice that you’re alone and will assume they can easily take advantage of you. Be prepared and alert – take note of suspicious activity and try to stay in areas with lots of people if you see something alarming.
- Be prepared! There’s no one you can borrow toothpaste or a hairbrush, so check and double check your packing list. In addition to the regular items you pack, you may want to consider packing pepper spray and an emergency stash of whatever currency is used in your destination.
- Write! Since you won’t be able to discuss your travel stories to your friends and family as they happen, make sure you record them in a journal so you can remember every detail when the time rolls around that you want to recount the crazy adventures you had to your loved ones.
- Give your family and friends a copy of your itinerary. In the worst case scenario, they’ll be able to alert authorities as to where you were planning to be on any given date.
- Relish in your solitude! Exploring the world to your heart’s desire is one of the most impactful experiences we can undergo. Get out into the world, put down your phone, and fully experience the intense emotions and adventures that come with solo travel.
If you’re contemplating taking a solo trip, take some time to research what goes into these solitary excursions. Solo travel is certainly not for everyone, but if you do decide to step outside your comfort zone and see what the world has to offer on your own, it’s sure to be an exceptionally life-changing expedition.