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8 Things I Wish I Knew Before Solo Traveling for the First Time

8 things i wish i knew before solo traveling for the first time mccall writes travel female

Solo travel is an incredibly rewarding and empowering experience, allowing you to explore new destinations, meet new people, and truly immerse yourself in the culture of a place. However, for those embarking on their first solo travel adventure, it can also be a bit daunting.

Looking back on my own first solo trip, there are several things I wish I knew before setting off.

In this blog post, I’ll share eight essential insights that can help make your first solo travel experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible. So, let’s dive in and discover what you need to know before embarking on your first solo adventure!

Table of Contents

1. Thorough Research is Key

One of the most important aspects of solo travel is being prepared. Before departing on your adventure, take the time to thoroughly research your destination, including its customs, safety, transportation options, and must-see attractions.

Before my three-month trip last summer, I did very little research on my destinations beyond finding hotels and hostels, booking transportation, and scheduling out a few big-ticket adventures (like Hiking Mauna Kea!). And while I don’t recommend spending weeks learning every single nuance of your destination’s culture and history, a bit of research can go a long way in making you better prepared for your solo trip

This knowledge will not only make your trip more enjoyable but will also help you feel more confident and secure as you navigate new places on your own.

2. Embrace the Art of Packing Light

As a solo traveler, you’ll be responsible for carrying your own luggage, so it’s essential to pack light and efficiently. Invest in a good-quality, lightweight backpack or suitcase and prioritize packing only the essentials. Otherwise, it may cut to you hauling a fifty-pound suitcase uphill for almost two miles on a hot, 84-degree day in Seattle.

Remember, you can usually buy or replace items on the road if needed.

By packing light, you’ll save yourself the stress and strain of lugging around a heavy bag and make your solo travel experience much more enjoyable.

3. Prioritize Your Safety

When traveling alone, your safety should always be a top priority. Research the safety of your destination and take necessary precautions, such as avoiding dangerous areas and not flaunting valuables. Keep your belongings secure and consider investing in a money belt or hidden pouch to store important documents and cash.

It’s always wise to have a plan in case of emergencies, such as knowing the location of the nearest embassy or consulate and having a list of emergency contacts.

Additionally, if you can avoid it, try not to book flights that arrive or depart late at night. In some locations, it’s incredibly difficult to find transportation between 8p.m. and 6a.m. which may leave you in tricky situations.

4. Embrace the Flexibility of Solo Travel

One of the greatest joys of solo travel is the freedom to set your own itinerary and make spur-of-the-moment decisions. Embrace this flexibility by being open to new experiences and changes in your plans.

If you discover a hidden gem or receive a recommendation from a fellow traveler, don’t hesitate to adjust your plans and explore something new. This spontaneity can lead to some of the most memorable moments of your trip.

5. Connect with Other Travelers and Locals

Solo travel doesn’t have to be a lonely experience. In fact, it can be an incredible opportunity to make new friends and connect with people from around the world. Be open to striking up conversations with fellow travelers at hostels, cafes, or tourist attractions.

You can also use social media and travel apps to connect with locals and other travelers, join group tours, or participate in local events. These connections can enrich your solo travel experience and create lasting memories.

6. Trust Your Instincts

When traveling alone, it’s essential to trust your instincts and listen to your gut feelings. If something doesn’t feel right or a situation makes you uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to remove yourself from it.

Your intuition can be a powerful tool in keeping you safe and ensuring you have a positive solo travel experience.

7. Learn to Enjoy Your Own Company

Solo travel provides an incredible opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. Take advantage of this time alone to truly enjoy your own company, whether it’s by journaling, meditating, or simply sitting in a cafe and people-watching.

Appreciate the solitude and use it as a chance to learn more about yourself, your interests, and your passions. This newfound self-awareness can be one of the most rewarding aspects of solo travel.

8. Take Care of Your Mental and Physical Health

Traveling alone can be both exhilarating and exhausting, so it’s crucial to prioritize your mental and physical well-being throughout your trip. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and stay hydrated.

Additionally, be mindful of your mental health by managing stress and taking time for self-care. If you ever feel overwhelmed or homesick, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or fellow travelers for support.

Embrace the Adventure of Solo Travel

Embarking on your first solo travel adventure can be a life-changing experience filled with growth, self-discovery, and unforgettable memories. By keeping these eight insights in mind, you can better prepare yourself for the challenges and joys of solo travel, making your journey as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

So, embrace the adventure, trust yourself, and dive into the incredible world of solo travel with confidence and enthusiasm.

Happy travels!

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