So you’ve caught a case of wanderlust. You’re following all the best travel blogs, you’ve read all the best travel books and you’re more than ready to get out there and see the world. The only thing holding you back is that you’ve never traveled solo before. We feel you. Traveling alone can be nerve-wracking! Without another person there to remind you 10 times on the way to the airport if you have your passport, will you actually remember to bring it? The answer is yes… most likely. And any other fears you have about solo traveling can probably also be easily dispelled too.
That’s why we enlisted the help of solo traveler extraordinaire Candice Walsh, who documents her expeditions on her blog, Free Candie. Candice has traveled to 33 countries and has some great stories to tell, along with some super practical tips. Read on to find out how Candice suggests you prep for your first solo trip!
1. Pick the right destination. Candice says it’s important to think about the logistics of any given city. For instance, she says, “Italy’s really well set up for travelers — most people in the touristy areas speak English, the transit system is incredible and locals are used to visitors.” So you don’t have to pick Italy, but look up things like whether many people speak English and how you’re going to get around the city.
2. Find ways to meet other solo travelers. Candice recommends hostels (“Although I’m getting a little too old and cranky for wild hostels, I’ll often opt for a higher-end hostel or a private room so that I can meet other travelers”), but she also suggests a few more unconventional measures too. “I also use websites like Couchsurfing.org and MeetUp.com to find events going on. I’ve even used Tinder to meet locals, which has been surprisingly effective. I’ll put something in my profile about traveling through and looking to meet people, and I’ll chat with someone for awhile before committing to a meet-up. I’ve had awesome encounters everywhere from Hawaii to Berlin!”
3. Cut costs. If you’re traveling solo, you’re not splitting accommodation with anyone, making it all the more important to cut costs where you can. Candice says timing can be your best friend here. “I LOVE traveling in the shoulder season. There are some drastic price differences if you’re traveling to popular destinations like Italy and Greece just before or after the peak season hits. Plus it’s less crowded, and the weather is usually still awesome.”
4. Think about the details. There are some logistical details that aren’t all that relevant when you’re traveling with other people, but become very important when you’re solo. “On my first big solo trip, I ended up in Athens at 11pm,” Candice says. “I knew nothing about the city and the taxi driver seemed sketchy to me — we got lost for awhile. He ended up being a fantastic person, but if it were earlier in the afternoon, I would have had daylight to help me find my way and the public transit would still have been running. Try to book your flights while it’s still early!”
5. Be open to new experiences. Bottom line, Candice says: “Traveling alone is intimidating, but it gets easier the more you do it. ALWAYS trust your gut! But also be open to new encounters — people are generally good.” See? You’ll be fine! And you’ll probably have the time of your life.
Are you planning your first solo trip? Tweet us about it @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)