The prospect of traveling alone has been on the rise as of late – but it can be a dream for some, and a nightmare for others. Being alone for a day trip is one thing, but being alone for an entire weekend, a full week or even longer can seem daunting. Who are you going to chat with? Who is going to help orientate you in a new city or country? And the most important question of all – who is going to take a million and four pictures of you?
Relying on yourself and only yourself won’t be a walk in the park in any way. It will be hard and even tiring at some points, but you will come out of it with an experience that will shape you and you will learn from for years to come.
If you chose to pursue a solo trip, take this advice into account:
Make sure to choose a hostel with lots of activities
Even if you can afford a regular hotel, choosing to stay in a hostel will put you already in a place where you will have no choice but to meet people. Compared to staying in a hotel or even rented apartment, you will have people wherever you go. You may not become the best of friends, but a small chat might lead to both of you realizing that you are going to the same sight at the same time and head there together.
Hostels are also more likely to have much more activities than hotels or Airbnbs – and much more likely to have free or reduced priced activities. One of the best experience I’ve had in a hostel on a solo trip was taking a tapas tour in Madrid. Although I only chatted with the other people that night only and never saw them again afterwards, it was a memorable night with great food at a great rate, compared to travel companies.
Ensure that there are safety deposit boxes
Since you are alone, make sure that in the hostel you chose that you have access always for a safety deposit box. Or even better yet – see if you can get a room to yourself in the hostel. While it seems a little counterproductive not to sleep with 11 other people in the same room, if you are traveling with a lot of valuables, it might be worth it to get a solo room. If you are traveling with just a backpack with some clothes, at least make sure that you can use a safety deposit box at all times for your important documents.
Stick with day activities
While you will likely meet people through your travels, you will likely not spend the entire time together. Make sure when you are off on your own that you try to stick to day activities. Wake up early, head to the sights, and try to get back before it gets too dark.
That is not to say that you should avoid night activities all together – but it is better for your safety to try not to do too much at night if you are on your own. If you tend to be a night owl, chose a hostel with places close by to get a late-night drink or meal. If you chose a hostel that is a ‘party’ hostel or one with at least a nice lobby, you will find people to talk to or something to do right in your hostel anyways.
If you are not a night person at all, stop by a grocery store on the way back to your hostel, get some snacks, slip into your pajamas and plan your next day adventuring in the comfort of your hostel bed.
Message family/friends with your schedule
Before you even leave for your trip, find a family member or friend who has easy access to the internet who wouldn’t mind being your ‘contact’ of sorts. Message them when you leave, when you get to your destination, when you leave your hostel, when you get back to your hostel at night…. or at the bare minimum at least once a day.
Overkill, but having someone who at least is your point of contact to the ‘outside world’ is smart. They don’t have to know exactly where you are going – so you can keep the fact that you plan to eat five crepes in the span of twelve hours in Paris. If something happens to you and they don’t hear from you, at least someone knows that something might have happened.
Wherever you chose to go, ensure the previous but make sure to do what YOU want. A solo trip is for no one else but for YOU, so make it as much about you as you can.