Everyone who has solo traveled has gone through it: how do you finally work up the courage to book that ticket, by yourself? I am here to tell you it really is not as difficult as it seems. Here are a few steps that I took in order to finally sit down and book my dream trip.
Start somewhere not entirely out of your comfort zone
There are more places that I can count that I plan to visit on this planet. In order to get over the fear of solo traveling, I decided to book my first solo trip somewhere not entirely out of my comfort zone. Having previously vacationed in Europe a few times, I decided it would be a perfect place to start. Consider choosing somewhere that the culture is not too different from your own so you will automatically feel more comfortable. Growing up in the United States, Europe was a perfect first destination for me since I am most comfortable in Western cultures. This way I am not also freaking out about all the cultural differences and can focus on getting from point A to point B just a little bit easier.
Test it out nearby
Before my first solo trip, I attended a conference in a nearby city. It was far enough away (and I lacked a car) that I decided to stay in a hotel, by myself, during the weekend of the conference. This made me feel a lot more comfortable with the idea of checking into hotels alone and solo traveling in general. Take a staycation nearby your home and test out how you feel traveling alone, you just mind find that you kind of really love it.
Tell people where you’re going
Especially as a female traveler, safety is a huge concern when solo traveling. To make you feel more comfortable, email your itinerary (even if it is not set in stone) to family or friends. This way you can feel better knowing people know where you will be and can alert someone if you don’t check in for a while. Another great safety step to take is to enroll your trip in the in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This alerts the U.S. Embassy of your itinerary. Doing so will ensure you receive updates about the safety conditions of the locations you are traveling to, helps you get in contact with your family if an emergency occurs, and also assists the Embassy in getting in contact with you if a disaster occurs either at home or in your destination.
Find out about your data plan abroad
It generally does not cost much more, if at anything all, to access data and wifi abroad. While some areas of the world are completely off the grid, most locations provide some access to the internet. Knowing your plan and how easily you can get in touch with those back home provides a huge sense of relief. This way if you do happen to find yourself in a situation home is only a quick message away.
Research other solo travelers in your destination
The great thing about the internet is that it can help you feel connected and much less alone, even when you technically are. If you are hesitating on booking, look up bloggers and Youtube vloggers who have also traveled by themselves to your destination. I guarantee reading and watching their stories and experiences will empower you and get you over your fears.
Look for meet-up groups
If you are worried about spending too much time alone on your trip (which by the way, you really won’t), then look for meet-up groups in the area. Websites like Meetup.com and Couchsurfing.com bring travelers and locals alike together for different activities. These meet-ups include photography, yoga, bike riding, or even just going out to the pub. Hostels also make for a great place to meet other travelers and most will even host small social events. Traveling solo does require you to put yourself out there a bit to meet people, but it will be entirely worth it in the end.
Now book your ticket to your dream destination. Don’t let your mind trick you into believing you can’t solo travel, because I assure you that you most definitely can. It really is not as scary as it sounds, promise.