Your 20’s are the time that you get to go out and do a bit of traveling before settling down and starting a family. The experience may be fun and exciting with your family and your closest friends, but you can really learn a lot about yourself and the world around you by making these trips alone. Here are some tips to get you started on traveling solo.
1. Budget – Let’s be honest, traveling is/can be expensive. Before you go anywhere, keep a budget in mind of how much you want to spend. This is completely up to you. If you’re the spontaneous type, make sure you can afford to go on the trip. If you like to plan ahead, set a date and save until then. This way you can make the most of the trip without worrying about the expense.
2. Start Small- Traveling can be overwhelming. If you’ve never traveled by yourself before, start small and take a day trip somewhere 10-20 miles from your home that you have never been. This will get you used to the idea of traveling by yourself. If you forget to bring something you can always pop home, but try to plan ahead on things you will need. This will vary on where you are going, so you will have to decide that for yourself. This will also help prepare you for when you go on longer travels and don’t have the luxury of turning around to grab something.
3. Be Adventurous– Traveling alone is the time to do things outside of your comfort zone. Take that random silly picture you always make fun of others for doing. Do the things you normally wouldn’t do if you were in a group with others with the fear of being judged. If you want to get a large ice cream with an extra scoop, do it! This is your time to be yourself!
4. Go Bigger- If you’ve been traveling for years, or you already took the advice on number 2, it’s time to go bigger. Bigger is arbitrary here, so this could mean taking a bus trip to the next city over or hopping on a flight to a city you’ve never been to before. Whatever “bigger” means to you, do it. You will be surprised what is out there in the world. There is so much to see!
5. Do Good Deeds – There is a sense of importance when you help others out. The request made most often is, “Can you take a picture?” Taking a picture is a small gesture and can really make someones day. Not only that, but you can have fun with it and step into the shoes of being a photographer. Sure, the people getting their picture taken may be given a laugh, but that’s the point, right? Your arm can only reach so far and carrying a “selfie stick” around can look a little ridiculous. A “selfie stick” should not be on your list of things to bring!
6. Make Friends – Yes, you are traveling alone, but that doesn’t mean you have to be anti-social. On your travels, be sure to engage in conversation with the locals. They can teach you a lot more about the area than some tour guide or guide book. After all, you’re traveling to learn new things, why not get some real authenticity rather than something in a book. This is not to say avoid looking at guide books. They can give you some inspiration on where to start venturing to, but don’t let that be the end all be all of your trip. Grab a dictionary of the local language and attempt to interact in a secondary language. You will be surprised at how many of the local people appreciate this.
7. Business – If you have the luxury of traveling for business, make the most of the trip if possible. If you have some time between meetings or have the night to yourself, use this time to go see the area. If you travel there often for work, you may even be inspired to move there for a short period of time. Also, this travel is on the company dime, so why not make the most of it?
8. People Watch– The world is full of interesting places, but it is also full of interesting people. The people in your town or city are the same people you see everyday. Because you are from the same area, everyone tends to have some similar behaviors. In other towns and cities, these behaviors can be different. On your travel take some time out just to watch the people in your surroundings to see how they behave. This can be interesting and enlightening. You never know what you may see. Somethings you may wish to unsee.
9. Take Pictures! – Taking the adventure is fun and exciting in and of itself. Be sure to take pictures to document your trip. These pictures should be for you to remember the trip, but you could also plaster them all over Facebook and Instagram if you’d like. Taking pictures when you travel solo should be more about you and your experience rather than the number of likes you think you’re going to get for posting a selfie with a mountain in the background. Ultimately, they are there to remind you of the experience, so make sure to take a few, even if you aren’t the picture taking type.
10. Make the Most of It – Traveling is fun and exciting. Doing it alone, even more so. Make sure you don’t sell yourself short. One day you may even be inspired to write a traveling solo blog. In the meantime, if you need some additional inspiration, check out the Solo Traveler Blog.