How to start solo travel in 5 steps
I’ve dreamed about solo traveling quite a lot in the past. Yet, it took me a while to do it for the first time because of my scariness. Life made it happen through unexpected situations and here I am, trying to inspire others to do it for themselves and help in organizing their very first trip with care. While deciding whether to add the topic of solo travel tips to my first articles list on the website, I remembered how I used to dream about having a solo travel experience right at the beginning of 2019.
Right when the first thought came through my mind, I quietly started my journey by discovering that this practice plays a meaningful role in one’s journey through life. Nowadays, I find solo traveling one of the most important things to do in our lives and a way of discovering ourselves while welcoming new perspectives of life. As my courage came through listening to others’ advice, I hope I can strengthen you to start traveling solo, with all the pre-departure stuff, done.
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” –- Henry Miller.
The difference between travel and holiday – Solo travel tips
Right before we get into the topic of solo travel, we must understand that there is a difference between traveling, and going on a holiday. Many still confuse those two or believe that when they are on a holiday somewhere nearby a beach, enjoying a cocktail under an umbrella, listening to the waves of the ocean, they are traveling. However, the holiday should be seen as a noun, and traveling is the verb. The holiday is the time for treating yourself while traveling means experiencing.
Why should we travel solo?
We are used to traveling with partners, family, and close friends. While doing the experience in this manner, even though traveling implies some sweat in manners of adaptation, orientation, and so on, we are still in our bubble of comfort, we feel safe and protected. What happens throughout this kind of travel is that one doesn’t get to fully live the immersion into the journey, which doesn’t stimulate awareness regarding the experience.
So, traveling solo has been known as one of the best ways to discover and develop ourselves. Solo travel puts a person in the situation of having to completely take action, under any circumstances. Solo travel can be a life-changing experience. It allows you to step out of your comfort zone, meet new people, and learn about different cultures. It can also help you to appreciate your own company and learn more about who you are. If you are ready to start upgrading your self-awareness through traveling, then this article will help you.
Now, I invite you to follow those 5 steps to plan your first solo travel experience thoughtfully. Those are the solo travel tips that helped me to plan my travels.
Step 1: Do your research
If you feel that you want to take up the first into your future solo travel trip, my first of solo travel tips, and the most important is to start research. This will help you identify:
- what do you most want to discover and for how long
- what destination suits you best regarding expectations
- what intentions that you have for your trip
- what would you like to achieve through your travel
For identifying most of them, I recommend you respond to those questions:
- What am I seeking after, embarking on a solo trip?
- What is that appeal to me, in sense of self-discovery?
- What would I like to see and do exactly during my solo trip?
- What are my fears and expectations related to this future solo experience?
- What are the new habits that you would like to welcome in your life during this journey?
- What would be the 3 main goals that I want to achieve at the end of this trip?
If you had followed this first step, you will already know the 4 major points in a matter of personal choices. Great job!
Step 2: Book your accommodation, transportation & Plan your activities during your solo travel
Now, it’s time to start searching for the best and most affordable flights to your destination. I strongly advise you to try multiple websites, such as Kiwi, Skyscanner, and Momondo. Those are global travel search sites comparing flights from multiple providers, helping you to identify the best deals. It is relatively easy to navigate through the offers and indeed, you’ll find affordable prices for your flights, depending on the period chosen.
After you booked the flights and you know the period of your travel, It’s time for the coolest solo travel tips, planning your future to see spots and activities. I put a lot of focus on this topic because it would be sad to go somewhere without having previewed activities and have the burden to plan everything on the spot. This will save you a great amount of time and also brighten your before-departure mood, knowing that you will go to do all those amazing stuff and visit places that you have previously chosen. Goals achieved! Tip: don’t over plan, stick to what you want to see, not to what the overflow of information you’ll find online, tells you. Be authentic.
For choosing wisely in matters of accommodation, you should focus your search on finding a place that is situated around the spots of interest and where you want to do your main activities. I recommend you use websites such as Booking, Airbnb, and Kayak to find the best offers for accommodation in certain places.
Step 3: Plan your solo experience thoroughly – One of the most important solo travel tips
Now that you have all the bookings checked, it’s time to prepare your travel documents. Be sure to verify all the relevant information regarding necessary travel documents according to your chosen destination. The must-haves on the list are your ID, driving license (if you have one), COVID certificate, and Travel Insurance. Then, in case you will go to a destination that requires a visa permit, you can start the visa application right away because the documents that you need to present to attest your stay are already generated at the previous step.
Since you will go alone, you have to discover how well can you handle the alone time beforehand, with little steps. I propose you first practice your English and even take some time to learn some words in the destination country’s language. It will be a funny self-training which will get you self-trust. Afterward, your task will be to test how good are you at spending time only by yourself. Try and go on a single date and practice how to enjoy your time alone. This will teach you how to start having alone experiences in your comfort zone, and prepare you for what’s next!
As you had decide the duration of your trip and you have already an idea of what you are going to do there, it’s time to pack your luggage. One of the most important solo travel tips is to Take in mind to pack according to the duration of your trip, weather forecast, and itinerary that you’ve previously thought about. It’s always better to create a capsule wardrobe for travel outfits because packing light makes it all easier, and allows you more space in case you want to bring some souvenirs back.
Step 4: Define your safety practices, and don’t say no to new people
You’re all set with almost all the preplanning tasks. Now, one of the most important things to think about before your travel is to define your safety practices. It is up to you if you want this trip just to be by yourself and not meet others during it. The only advice to take into consideration would be to allow yourself to feel differently than home and try to discover the people that are part of the country you’re visiting or other fellow travelers like you.
During solo travel, your gut instinct will always develop, and your social skills will evolve radically. Take a chance to feel the new people and grow your interculturality. In order to meet people, I recommend you enroll yourself in some guided trips, find some hang-out groups or try Couchsurfing, you will be surprised at how you will grow your network.
Step 5: Start reflection and journaling during your solo travel experience
One of the things I’ve started to do after my first solo travel was to reflect upon what happened and keep a mini journal of what happened throughout the experience, and what impacts it produced on me. I believe that if we would start journaling a trip since we plan it, throughout the experience and after its end, it helps us learn to get the best out of what we are living. Reflection creates awareness, and awareness is the key to producing meaningful changes in our lives and growing. Solo travel is one activity that puts the person in many situations, which shouldn’t be seen as changes, but rather as ways to grow.
TIP: Use the article to create your journal, or download my journal template from down the page.
Forget about the expectations you filled during your research and enjoy the unexpected part of your trip – That’s how you grow
After we had thoroughly planned a future experience, we might feel relieved that everything is covered and nothing unexpected might occur to unbalance our trip. We created expectations that either will be met, or will not. So, there should be no pressure in our minds to fulfill everything that is on the pre-made list.
Still, Traveling solo is all about discovering, embarking on an adventure, and jumping into the unexpected. Be ready to expand yourself, try out things for the first time, trust new people, and explore de depths of travel solo. I hope my solo travel tips will help you plan your future experience. Enjoy!