Traveling alone has some serious upsides. For instance, you can move at your own pace, eat where and when you want, and only do things that interest you. Of course, traveling solo can be more nerve-racking and pricey than traveling with a companion. A little bit of planning can take care of those concerns, though.
Here are some tips to help make solo traveling safe and affordable. Once you take the plunge, you might find you like traveling solo even more than traveling with others.
Share Your Travel Itinerary
Before jetting off, email the details of your trip to trusted friends and family. Include your trip’s destinations, accommodations, and dates in the email. If plans change during your trip, then email, text, or use social media private messages to update your friends and family.
Those traveling abroad should also consider enrolling their trip in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). It’s a free service that registers your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It helps the U.S. and your loved ones reach you if there’s an emergency.
Make an Emergency Plan Just in Case
While you hopefully won’t have an emergency, it’s a good idea to figure out a backup plan ahead of traveling. That way, you won’t have to scramble should you, unfortunately, get hurt, sick, or robbed during your trip.
Take some time to research the hospitals, medical clinics, and police stations near your accommodations. This preparation not only pays off in the event of an emergency but also helps put you at ease about traveling solo.
Look for Opportunities To Save Money
On the one hand, traveling solo means you don’t get the benefit of splitting hotel and rideshare expenses with someone. But on the other hand, you get to make all of the decisions about splurging or saving on everything from dining to accommodations.
So, consider saving here and there by grabbing meals at casual cafes. They’re often delicious and a great way to feel more like a local. And when it comes to lodging, look into hostels and single accommodations at hotels to save some money for other things.
Do Things You’ve Always Wanted To Do
Perhaps the biggest advantage of traveling alone is that you get to set the schedule. Let’s say you’ve always wanted to go to the ballet, but the rest of your family isn’t interested. This is your chance to soak up the grandeur and experience something on your bucket list.
The beauty of solo traveling is going where you want, when you want, and for as long as you want. As Rick Steves puts it, “you can get the heck out of that stuffy museum when all the Monets start to blur together.” Or skip the museum and bungee jump instead. It’s your call.
Pack Even Lighten Than Usual
When traveling alone, you have to be able to comfortably carry all of your luggage on your own. As a result, you’ll want to pack as lightly as possible. Instead of packing clothes for every day, consider doing laundry on your trip.
And as NerdWallet notes, “you won’t have to worry about someone seeing you wear the same thing twice.” So, there’s no pressure to pack your entire wardrobe anyway. Make sure you pack the essentials but nothing more.
Consider Getting Travel Insurance
Investing in travel insurance can give you peace of mind and save you money if the unexpected happens. Travelers explains, “Trip cancellation and interruption insurance can help reimburse you for covered losses like those caused by weather, natural disasters, some illnesses and other issues.”
The source says travel insurance policies can help with everything from losses caused by theft and baggage delays to medical and evacuation expenses. Look into all of your options and compare policies to find the right fit for your needs and budget. That way, you’ll be ready in the event of a rainy day.
Be Careful With Valuables
Whenever you travel, it’s important to be smart with your valuables. In short: only bring what you absolutely need when you venture out for the day. For many people, that means taking their phone, credit card, some cash, ID card, and a copy of their passport.
The rest of your valuables? Lock ’em up somewhere secure, like a hotel safe, if possible. For example, it’s a good idea to put jewelry, extra cash, and your actual passport somewhere protected. When you’re out and about, keep valuables close to you and stay alert.
Take Safety Precautions
Common sense and street smarts will serve you well while traveling solo. With this in mind, Rick Steves recommends carrying a few things on you at all times — “cash, a map, a guidebook, and a phrase book.”
Trust your gut, stay alert, and project confidence. It’s also smart to regularly check in with family back home. Should you get lost, go into a business to ask for help or approach a police officer for assistance.
Safe Countries To Travel Solo
Now that you know the ins and outs of planning a solo trip, you might be looking for destination ideas. Fortunately, there are safe countries all around the world. If you want to jaunt off to a foreign country, then ActiveBeat suggests these safe destinations:
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
All of these countries are considered safe and welcoming places for solo travelers. Of course, you’ll want to do some research to find the right fit for you.
The Bottom Line
Traveling solo can be an amazing way to see the world. That’s because you get to set the schedule. If you want to sleep in and eat breakfast in bed, then you can. Rather go for a sunrise hike? That’s your prerogative since there’s no one else to accommodate.
Not only is traveling solo an opportunity to do things your way, but also a chance for personal growth. While it might seem a little intimating at first, the experience can be an effective confidence booster. Take some time to plan a safe trip before traveling.