Amongst lifestyle and travel bloggers, solo travel has become somewhat of a buzzword.
As an expat university student my experience of traveling just me, myself and I certainly fostered independence, empowerment, creativity and confidence. A true life skill, solo travel forces you to rely on yourself in order to ensure everything runs smoothly and in the case of things going FUBAR, it tests your mettle (excuse the military brat slang). However, jumping straight into the deep end of this wholly independent undertaking can be very intimidating. So here’s some of my top tips for solo traveling in style:
1. Baby steps- start out with a city that you have already been to at least once. The first few trips I look by myself were in cities that I already knew and loved, Edinburgh and London and NYC. This makes it much easier to orient oneself and cuts down on the “ohmygod I have no idea what I’m doing” panic.
2. Parlez-vous? As a language student I absolutely adore learning new sayings and words even when I have no other knowledge of the language. With the increased presence of english abroad, you may think little of potential language barriers, however do not underestimate how jarring it is to not be able to read or understand street signs (In Beijing we navigated entirely through landmarks, trust me it’s harder than you think). With this in mind, I advise that on starting out to pick destinations where you can confidently speak the language, especially if this is a previously unvisited city, region or country.
3. Be your own mom friend- the whole point of solo travel is to gain independence and self-reliance while expanding your physical and metaphorical horizons. This means that you have to remember to pack ALL of the necessities. Medicine, electronics chargers, documentation, spare clothes, and more need to be on the packing list. In order to not forget vital items you have to harness your inner neat freak and organize your luggage to an inch of it’s life. As someone who vacillates between hyper coordinated and bohemian, this is especially important because you are never too well traveled to forget something in a rush (a.k.a my adaptor for my current solo trip to Paris, oops).
Eventually you will spread your wings and take a trip you never imagined possible before (I’m still working my way up to that level). In addition to these tips, I think one ought to think about why solo travel in general, or a particular solo trip is meaningful to them. Personally I have realized how brilliant it is to be able to eat where I want to and not have to share food or being able to prioritize activities that resonate with me instead of take a vote. Also by necessity my selfie game has vastly improved, as I have a crippling fear of asking strangers to take my photo (working on it). Overall I think solo travel has given me a greater insight to myself and what I want out of life.
So go forth lovelies and ride off into that sunset!