I was prompted to write this piece because I was recently asked by an Instagrammer my thoughts on solo travel. She wanted to plan a trip across the waters and didn’t have anyone to go with. My advice to her and anyone considering solo travel is GO FOR IT! You will not regret it.
My first solo travel trip occured four years ago when I decided to travel to Europe on my own. They say when you are young, you’re fearless, and that couldn’t be any closer to the truth. When it is your first solo trip it can be beneficial to do it through a specialized programme. For example, you could become a Cultural Care Au Pair. You still have the freedom of traveling alone, but also the peace of mind that you still get to stay in a safe family home. Unlike some, I had no opposition to traveling alone, I looked forward to it. Traveling is a way to find out who you truly are, it allows you to enjoy ‘me time’, it allows you to make new friends from around the world, and it brings forth a level of confidence you’ve never experienced before.
If you’re considering solo travel, here are four major tips:
- Destination – Is it a solo friendly destination? While I encourage solo travel, there are some places I wouldn’t be caught without a travel partner. My top picks for solo travel are bigger cities..i.e, Paris, London, New York, South Africa.
- Hotel vs. AirBnB – When traveling alone, I opt for hotels vs an AirBnB. This is all personal preference. Because I am a woman, I prefer the security of a hotel vs. a couch surfer.
- Connectivity – No, and I don’t mean via Instagram! While it is a solo trip, I always advise to let your family and friends know where you are at all times. When my girlfriend and I travelled to Italy, we emailed our itineraries to family members. At any given time, they knew our whereabouts in the event of an emergency. Another point to note is, ensure that you have the number for the nearest Embassy or Government agency. I always make it my business to secure a sim card that works in the country I’m visiting. Not being connected in a foreign country is not fun.
- Be Aware – While it might seem like everyone is friendly and welcoming because you are a solo traveller, don’t be fooled. In Paris, I was able to meet two wonderful American women traveling through Europe and to this day we still remain friends, but not every story ends up like this. There are people that prey on the innocent. [Sounds corny but its true.]
Solo trips are most rewarding and I encourage anyone to take at least one in their lifetime. Don’t let fear stop you from having the best time of your life!