Yes we now never need to travel alone anymore, as this is myself and Natalie’s couples travel blog. But there was once a time when I was traveling alone for the first time. A time when nobody else in my inner circle was willing to go traveling with me whether it was because of financial or personal reasons.
This was a time when I needed to make the decision for myself that I wanted to travel and I needed to do it alone. Solo. It was the best decision of my life.
If you have ever been traveling before, you know the many rewards from packing your bags and hitting the road. You know the memories and experiences, but you also know the challenges you have faced from your travels, and how they have benefited your life.
If you have not traveled before, it is never too late to start. And we have some tips for first time travelers. These are not travel hacks or advice based on saving money or traveling more often. These are tips that I wish I would have got from someone with experience when I first went traveling.
These are meant to inspire you to take risks and to not be afraid on your first adventure. Take some time off work, use some of that saved up money, dust off that passport, and pack your bags. Open your life to the world, experience new cultures, meet new people, and make memories.
Tips for Traveling Alone for the First Time
Preparation is Key
Know your budget.
Meet and Talk to People
…Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
Travel with an Open Mind.
Do your research in advance. Do you need a tourist visa? Do you need to get any immunizations? Planning your trip in advance will make the most out of the time you have available to you.
Now there is something to say about going somewhere with very little booked and spontaneously traveling through the country. However, if it is your first time traveling and first time traveling solo, then perhaps it would be better to have a planned route and booked accommodation. That way you are not overwhelmed to start you first travel experience which can quickly ruin your adventure.
Ask yourself why you are traveling and what you want to see. Plan your route and how you will travel from place to place. This starting step is important to your travels. However, don’t think that you need to stick to this plan. Opportunities will arise while you are traveling. Try to be as flexible as possible with your schedule.
You should know your budget before booking your plane and hotel. Actually you should really know your budget before you even choose your destination. It is extremely important to choosing the right destination that fits your budget.
You could decide to pack your bags and travel your own country because you may feel that this is the cheapest option. Or you could choose a destination like South East Asia where the day-to-day expenses are inexpensive, so the plane ticket is the most expensive thing. Or Iceland where the plane ticket is inexpensive, but the day-to-day expenses are what eats up your budget. Whatever the destination, make sure that you know your budget and try your best to stick to it so that you have money to come back home.
Set an amount that you are willing to spend, then look for your flight and hotel within that budget. You should understand how much it will cost you to eat each day where you will be staying, how much entertainment will cost you, transportation between places you want to visit, and any other expenses like souvenirs. See more about creating a travel budget here.
This is the best part of travel. The people you meet while on the road. Whether it is a local that you befriend or other travelers from your hostel, travel really is the greatest way to bring people together.
If you are an introvert, like me, this is a little bit difficult to do. Putting yourself out there to just talk to people you have never met before is hard. What do you talk about? Well, in this case you have a lot to talk about. First off, you both likely love to travel otherwise you would not be traveling. So, talk about travel! Talk about where you are and what to do, where they are from, and where they have traveled to.
Just like that you have a perfect way to open a conversation and you have likely made a new friend. Traveling really is the easiest way to meet new people.
Unique opportunities that you did not plan for will arise while you travel. Say yes if it feels right. Be prepared to rearrange your schedule to allow for these opportunities.
This was the first piece of advice I got from someone when I first went traveling solo. And I stuck to it. I said yes to everything that came my way. And I had the greatest time.
This is when traveling spontaneously really helps with flexibility. Sometimes something will come up and if you do not have your entire trip planned then you can fit it in and say yes to whatever comes your way. However, if you have your entire route planned and booked it will be more difficult to fit things in.
There are pros and cons to each method, but I still feel that if you are traveling by yourself for the first time it is better to have a plan.
There will be times when things come up that just do not feel right. For example, following a stranger to their house or getting into someone’s car you just do not know is likely a big no. So…
There will be some other opportunities that just don’t fit into your schedule. Don’t try to force it. Other times, it may be a scam. Just say no and walk away.
The last thing you want is to be robbed or have something even worse happen to you while you are on the road. Be smart, use your gut, and make wise decisions based on this.
There is not much more to say about this other than to just follow your instinct. If something feels wrong, it likely is wrong.
Continuing from our previous point, the most important thing about travel is being safe. You should know the areas where you will be visiting. No matter where you are in the world, there are bad people. When you are traveling, you will be surprised about how many amazing people you will meet. However, you should know the different scams in the area you are traveling to and take measures to prevent them. Having your wallet stolen can make a great trip turn horrible fast.
Know your surroundings, keep your valuables and personal items in a safe in your room or hold them tight to you where they cannot be stolen from you, and be aware of where you are at all times. I have heard many stories of stolen items because people were just unaware of what was happening around them.
Every country has scams that you need to look out for, so make sure to do some research on these scams specific to the place you are traveling to. Your trip can become quickly ruined if you have something stolen from you or even worse.
With that being said, make sure to copy your personal identification cards and passport and have them sent to your email. That way if these get stolen, you have a copy that will help you expedite getting you a new passport in your hands to get home safely.
When you travel, you become the foreigner. It is important that you travel with an open mind. Absorb the culture of the country you are traveling to. Open your mind and let it all in.
Try the local food and drink, talk to as many people as you can, take photos, take videos, make memories, and just enjoy yourself. Never take for granted that you are traveling the world. Something that many people never get the chance to do in their entire lives.
Taking your first step into the world of traveling can be daunting. Traveling solo for the first time can be extremely rewarding, but at the same time stressful if you are not prepared. We hope that these tips will allow you to mentally prepare yourself for your next adventure around the world. Preparation is the key for a first time traveler. Be prepared and take advantage of your trip. Enjoy your travels!
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