Recently I was sitting on my couch daydreaming about not sitting on my couch when my much better half bounded into the room with news. She had found some of the cheapest airline tickets I’ve seen in awhile and had bought some. Always up for an adventure I asked, “Great. Where are we going?” Her response? “We are going nowhere… I am going to England.”
Normally this would bother me, I love England and lived there for awhile. However, my intrepid lady was mere months away from securing a job that would cut down on her travel time significantly and she’d never travelled alone. It’s something that everyone should do at some point, I assure you.
Worried? Scared? Nervous? Don’t be. Really, I promise. It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced traveler whose passport runneth over or if you’re a rookie setting out on your first solo trek to who-knows-where.
Plan to Not Plan
This is kind of a two way street and is very much a guideline and not a rule. You have to be comfortable, but at the same time, traveling is about experiencing the new. So, plan to not plan. What’s that mean? At the very least, book your first night’s lodging before you get there. This way you’ll have a jumping off point before you figure out where you’re heading next. Personally, I like to book a room every few days on the trip in a new location. I can hit the ground running and just toss my bags somewhere and then figure out how I want to meander and explore to the next destination. Maybe I stay longer in one, or find somewhere else, but at least I know that in two days time I have a guaranteed room if I want it. If not? Just cancel and move on!
Apologize to Your Mother and Talk to Strangers
Moms the world over always warn their kids to “never talk to strangers.” Generally, this is pretty sound advice. While traveling solo the line gets a bit blurred. If you’re a woman travelling alone trust your instincts. Getting a weird vibe from the creepy guy in the corner? Thinking of walking home from a bar late at night on streets you’re unfamiliar with? Stop and think about that for a second. Talking to strangers is all about picking your battles. Communicate with other solo travelers and elders. Smile at and laugh with the locals. Maybe you’ll end up being invited over for dinner or pick up a fun group to travel with.
Buy the Book
Many fantastic travel books highlight places that are great for people traveling solo. Little cafes, meeting places for local tours and just general information that can make your experience a bit more warm and welcoming. Do yourself a favor and pick one up. At the very least, you’ll have something to read on the plane.
Now stop over thinking it and get out there on your own. Just remember to bring your loving boyfriend back something nice.