Are you curious about solo travel but haven’t taken the plunge yet? Maybe you’re about to embark on your first trip and are looking for a bit of reassurance. I feel you! I was soooo nervous before my first trip. No matter your travel experience or destination, my top 3 tips for an enjoyable solo travel experience are here to help you feel safe and social.
Don’t let fear hold you back from traveling on your own. Solo travel is my favorite way to explore AND meet people!
1. Get connected before you even set foot on the plane
Unless you’re looking to be 100% alone for 100% of the time (no judgment), I highly recommend making a couple of connections before you even arrive at your destination. My favorite way to do that is using WorkAway. You can find volunteer programs (some even offer free food and lodging) or meet up with other travelers in your area. I had a girl contact me in San Diego before I even left for my Latin America trip, and we met up for coffee to discuss our plans. A couple of months later, we met up for a trek in Ecuador because we knew our paths would cross there. How cool is that!? I also started my solo travels by volunteering for 3 weeks at a kid’s camp in Quito. An organization found my profile on WorkAway and reached out to me. I made a few lifelong friends there, and got some travel buddies who explored Ecuador with me for several weeks.
2. Stay in hostels…or at least hang out at them
I know some of you may be thinking “I’m too old for this” but hear me out. You don’t have to stay in a dorm. (I always do! #notashamed) You can book a private room with a private bathroom if you want. Not only is this generally a cheaper option, but you can connect with other travelers so much easier than you would if you were staying in a hotel chain. If you absolutely will not stay in a hostel, at least consider finding the most popular one at your destination, and going to one of their events. Some of them open up parties, concerts, tours, and even game nights to the public. Others are a bit more strict on their “guests only” policy. Do your research. Ps. Some hostels are quite fancy! You might enjoy the experience. Keep an open mind. ; )
3. Let someone know how to reach you
I love going off grid, but it’s nice to know that someone always knows how to find me…just in case. I tell my parents when I am going somewhere remote, like the jungle, or on a multiple day trek. One time I ended up somewhere that didn’t have wifi, and I wasn’t using cell service at the time. My parents were trying to get in touch with me with a family announcement, and since I’m normally very connected on WhatsApp, they freaked out when I didn’t respond…They ended up calling the US Embassy to come find me in Guatemala! Since then, I always send my family my current location. : ) Some may call this overkill; I call it being responsible. I also recommend registering in the US STEP Program (if you’re a US citizen) or whatever program your country offers. You simply put in your travel dates and where you’re staying. The US will email you travel alerts, like if a protest is going on in your area, and know how to reach you in case of emergency.
Solo travel is my favorite pastime. It doesn’t have to be scary. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be lonely. Just be smart about how you approach it and enjoy the ride!
If you’re interested in learning more about how to travel solo, check out my new digital course where I will be there to support you every step of the way! asiadawn.co/travelsolo
What are your favorite solo travel tips?