Ever dream of a getaway perfectly tailored to you? Traveling alone might be the best way to make it a reality—sightseeing attractions that pique your interest, eating at the restaurants you want to try out, and getting around from place to place as slowly or as quickly as you like. Solo trips are a fantastic way to get to know yourself and build your life story, no matter if you’re fresh out of college or eyeing retirement.
Though you don’t need a travel companion to dive into a new corner of the world or bask in food and culture, we understand if the idea of traveling alone can seem intimidating. If worries are keeping you from stepping out as a party of one or you aren’t sure where to begin, we’ve got some tips and tricks you can tuck up your sleeve to face adventure more confidently.
Here are seven tips for where to go, how to stay safe, and what to bring when traveling solo.
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First time traveling solo? If your goal is to eventually explore internationally, it’s best to take a test run (or several) before heading overseas. Pick a city to visit a few states away with consideration to how you’ll get around, things you want to do, and how long you’d like to be away. Weekend getaways or quick trips out of town are a smart way to gauge your comfort level and practice doing things by yourself. Research the area’s safest neighborhoods and modes of transportation, then plan out your itinerary. For cities with easy public transportation, perfect for solo travelers, look to:
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While you’re gone, keep your loved ones in the know by sharing your travel schedule. Be sure to include any beaches, hiking trails, or restaurants you’re planning to stop at. Make a plan to check in with a friend or family member by phone or social media once you’re connected to WiFi and touch base before you turn in for the night. This way, you can both rest easy knowing where you’ll be and when they can expect to hear from you when you’re back from exploring.
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Staying safe and on a budget are key ways to enjoy your solo trip to the fullest. When choosing where to stay, keep in mind where you want to spend the bulk of your vacation so you’re not spending all your time commuting. Unless you’re renting a car on your trip, it’s best to avoid hotels, B&Bs, and vacation rentals that are too far off the map. Look into safe neighborhoods, check customer reviews, and don’t be afraid to ask the help desk or customer service about guest safety and security.
Of course, you can relax better with peace of mind, but entertaining amenities help, too. While you’re searching, be sure to check for perks like hot tubs, swimming pools, and direct beach access to jazz up your stay. Some resorts also offer shuttle services into town, which make for a seamless way to get to and from shopping and restaurants.
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Set a few mindful rules for yourself while you’re out on an adventure, especially if you’re a female solo traveler.
Rule #1: Stay aware of your surroundings and the people nearby
Download maps to use offline so you can skip the fear of getting lost if you lose WiFi. If you ever feel uncomfortable, head into a public place like a restaurant or shop so you can shake off any unwanted attention or ask someone for help.
Rule #2: Feel free to imbibe, just be cautious
If your evening plans include a glass of wine or hitting the bar, keep your drink in your line of sight and stay level-headed so you can make it back home safely at the end of the night.
Rule #3: Use caution when discussing travel plans with strangers
There’s nothing wrong with making conversation and new friends on your trip, but use caution in disclosing your solo travel plans — you can always say you’re on your way to meet up with family.
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Fingers crossed you’ll never have to use an emergency plan, but it’s better to think ahead and know what to do if you encounter an injury, theft, or unfortunate event while you’re traveling.
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Open yourself to new experiences and new people when you travel solo. Even if you lean more on the introverted side, picking up a conversation at the bar counter or live music show, asking someone for a breakfast recommendation, or joining a walking tour is a simple way to start. You’ll reap the rewards of new friends, local hidden gem restaurants, and keep loneliness at bay.
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You don’t want to be stuck struggling up the stairs or lugging too many bags around public transportation when arriving in a new place. Try your best to bring only the essentials and not overpack, especially if you’ll have access to a washer and dryer. Within your planned essentials, you might want to pack:
Leave plenty of room for souvenirs — your first solo trip will be an adventure you’ll want to remember.