Many people have a bucket list of travel destinations, but no one to go with. Planning a vacation with conflicting schedules, commitments, and vacation styles can make it impossible to travel with friends. It can be intimidating to think about traveling alone, but I’m here to lighten the mood and prepare you for your first solo trip. Earlier this summer I jumped on a plane (by myself) and headed to Asia. I traveled for about 3 weeks, hitting the major spots like Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and Tokyo. Not only was this trip a major eye-opening experience, it was much more valuable than I could have ever imagined. It is absolutely 100% mandatory that you travel alone at least once in your lifetime.
I WON’T HAVE FUN ALONE // I WILL BE LONELY
When I mentioned I was traveling alone, multiple people told me that they are way too “extroverted” for that – they would get bored. This is nonsense. You don’t have to be an introvert to travel alone, in fact, being an extrovert would make the experience that much easier to meet new friends. If you are afraid to spend a significant amount of time alone, that’s a separate issue you should deal with. During my 3 week post grad vacation, I was “alone” for a total of 4 days. The rest of my time was spent with friends I met along the way. Traveling alone doesn’t mean you’re going to be alone the whole time – it’s up to you how social you want to be.
IT ISN’T SAFE TO TRAVEL ALONE
This fear is especially common among women. We have enough to worry about in our own hometowns let alone going to a new country where we don’t speak the language. I think safety in another country really comes down to common sense and understanding the culture you’re in. I will be uploading a blog post dedicated to tips on staying safe when traveling alone as a female – so stay tuned for that. The most important part of staying safe is to be confident, question everything, and trust your gut. Obviously there are destinations that are better or worse (safety wise), but for the most part you shouldn’t let fear prevent you from traveling.
IT’S A HUGE COMMITMENT AND I NEED TO THINK ABOUT IT
Stop thinking like this. Travel doesn’t have to be such a big deal. So many people put off traveling because they think it needs to be this extravagant trip and every little detail needs to be taken care of. If you are the type to keep pushing off trips because of the planning involved, this is for you. I challenge you to book a trip somewhere 3-4 months from now without planning the details. Traveling alone gives you the freedom to let go of some plans and take it day by day when you arrive. The older you get, the more responsibility you will have and it will be harder to take time off, so just book a trip already!
I NEED TO TRAVEL INTERNATIONALLY
I am at fault for thinking like this and I am using my weekends to explore areas around NYC. If you are nervous about traveling alone, try taking a domestic trip first. This is the perfect gateway to get you comfortable with navigating around by yourself if traveling internationally is your goal. I think people associate travel with international destinations, when you don’t need to travel far to have an incredible experience.
IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE
In some ways, traveling alone can be more expensive than with a group. Activities, hotels, and food costs can be spilt between multiple people, but if you can’t find anyone to travel with, this shouldn’t stop you from going. You can easily travel alone with a very small budget, depending on what your willing to deal with (small airplanes, 16 person rooms…).
MUST-HAVES FOR SOLO TRAVEL
One of the best perks of traveling alone is the fact that you can wear the same outfit 4 times in the same week and no one will know. This means you won’t be lugging around 50lbs on your back (if you are backpacking) and it will make getting ready in the morning very easy. Outfits will all depend on your destination, vacation style, and personal preference, but here are a few of my must-haves that save me when I travel.