Your first time travelling alone will definitely be an experience. Tough, trying, emotional, exhausting, but brilliant (if only when you look back on it). If you ever have the opportunity to go off and travel the world alone, I’d definitely recommend it.
I’ve been to Tanzania, India, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, USA, Australia, NZ, round Europe and on a few trips in the UK too. I’ve loved going travelling alone – it’s the most open and accepting way to see the world there is.
When you travel alone serendipity comes into play because you’re more vulnerable to it. You need attention, to talk to another human and interactive experiences, rather than closing yourself off because you already have a pal to talk to.
Instead of wondering why that stranger is talking to you and your friend, you’re willing them to come over, and who knows what fun that could lead to!
But that’s not all. If you’re travelling solo for the first time, here are a few more ‘travelling alone tips’ to help you make the most out of the experience.
27 Tips for Your First Time Travelling Solo
1. With no one to make the plans for you, or to talk to, seize the opportunity to let a place show you what it’s got. You can really explore without any distraction – make the most of it.
2. You can only really rely on yourself, so sometimes you may need to psyche yourself up to be as strong as possible mentally in more situations than you can imagine. Have confidence in yourself.
3. Most people, travellers and locals, are just looking for a friend too. Don’t be scared, take a deep breath and approach them. The first time will be the hardest and so once you’ve got over that it’s uphill from there.
4. You need to be open to new things, people and ideas but always stay on guard too.
5. Sometimes you might need to be rude. When you haggle, when you cross the street, when you backtrack to avoid walking past someone you didn’t feel safe with, or by telling people to go away if they make you feel uncomfortable. Just do it. Safety first.
6. Your phone is your best friend so treat it well. Google Maps, Skype, Facebook Messenger – they’re your link to safety, never mind home. Download Find Your Friends, get a LifeProof Case – do anything you can to look after it. If it goes, you won’t just be upset, you’ll be lost too, and depending where you are it could be really hard to replace it too.
7. If you feel lonely, book onto a tour. Instant friends guaranteed.
READ MORE: Am I Lonely, Travelling Solo?
8. Sometimes you’ll need to force yourself to take part. With today’s lure of technology it can be easy to stay in and talk to your friends from home onlin when you’re not feeling your best. That’s not why you’ve gone travelling. Get out there.
9. Always pay attention and know your escapes in every situation.
10. Don’t get too drunk. Ever. Even if you feel like you’re with friends. Anything could happen that will make them leave you and then you’re left not knowing your arse from your elbow, or similar.
11. The best way to make friends is to find a social hostel, and be social.
12. Always let someone back home know where you are. I used a Google Sheet that was shared with my dad and kept it up to date with my accommodation names, just in case.
13. You’ll be capable of more than you can imagine if you just allow yourself to be strong and really throw yourself in to the travel life and all the amazing opportunities that will come with it.
14. However much you think you won’t be the one who loses your phone and you won’t use the insurance, it’s way better to be safe than to be sorry. Paying the excess waiver now will save a lot of upset later.
15. Learning a few words in the local language can go a long way, with communication and financially, and shows respect for your destination’s culture.
16. Just because everyone goes somewhere doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. Be ready to get off the beaten track, when you’re ready.
17. The world is not as dangerous as the news makes out. Horrible things do happen but if we lived by the stats, then we’d never ride in a car in our own country again.
18. You’ll meet some of the most inspiring people when you travel, but don’t forget you’re probably one of them too. Don’t be intimidated, be inspired.
19. Don’t listen to earphones in the street, or flash your wealth. In some countries owning an iPhone is totally unachievable, never mind an iPad, laptop and all that jewellery too. Again, have some respect.
20. Don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of, and don’t take advantage of those worse off than you either.
21. The mere fact you’re travelling for fun makes you among the richest in the world. Don’t abuse or forget your privilege.
22. Open your eyes and don’t just hang out with people who are the same as you. Embracing difference and change is how you’ll grow, and have the most interesting and life altering experiences.
23. Don’t take silly risks when you’re travelling alone. Wear the helmets and the life jackets. If in doubt, just think, “what would mum make me do?”.
24. When you don’t know something use the opportunity to talk to someone and ask, don’t just Google the answer. This is your big chance to step away from the internet.
25. Back up your photos from your phone and camera online so you’re not too attached to your electronics if, for whatever reason, someone demands them from you, or they’re ruined.
26. Some destinations are friendlier than others on the solo travel spectrum. Work out where you’re at and if you’re worried, don’t wander too much from where you’re comfortable (but do wander a bit).
27. Make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.
First time solo travel
I know that travelling alone for the first time can seem totally overwhelming and scary, and might not seem as easy as a few bullet points or a list, but genuinely, if I can do it, and the millions of others who do it every year, then you can do. Maybe start small and build yourself up.
And if you have any questions, just let me know.
I’m here to help!
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