Tips for traveling solo: fit in, gain confidence and be strategic
Traveling solo can be an exciting and intimidating prospect. It is an incredible step towards independence, it can boost your self-confidence to levels you never imagined you could reach and you discover as much in yourself as in the world around you.
But at the same time, it’s scary. There is no safety net of another person there to give their opinion, to walk with you through the busy streets, to help you find the best transportation to the next town. You are very independent in these situations. That’s why we’ve put together our top tips for solo travelers to blend in and look like a local while venturing out solo!
Do your research
We cannot stress this one enough. Many people who travel alone can be freewheels, optimistic, self-confident free spirits. But when the going gets tough, a lack of research can have dangerous consequences. Being prepared and aware of the layout, customs, money, and culture of where you’re going not only means you’ll spend less time trying to figure out where to go, but it also means you’ll look like less to a tourist and therefore less of a target for scams or trouble.
Something as simple as knowing how to get from the airport to your accommodation will save you time and stress when dealing with crowds of busy airports. Having a good general knowledge of the area or learning a few key phrases means you can find your way back if your battery dies or your phone is stolen. When traveling alone, there is no back-up person to watch or help you, so you should help yourself as much as possible beforehand, with only 2-3 hours of research and note-taking.
It’s easier said than done, but the preparation tip above is always worth remembering. Other things you can do are try to steer clear of obvious tourist gifts, like selfie sticks, massive backpacks, or tourist vacation clothing. Another great tip that I learned recently is, instead of having your phone on the google map where you are going, plug in some headphones and hit “start” on your trip on the google map. This way you can put your phone away, Google will tell you where to go hands-free so that you are less obvious to spot as a tourist.
If you are a solo traveler who is hoping to meet people or make connections, you need to be strategic about your accommodation, as this is how you meet the most people. Staying in a hostel is an obvious choice, but Airbnb can actually be a great way to meet locals! Getting to know your host can mean getting information at local restaurants, tips on the best places to hang out from someone who knows the area. If you want to think outside the box, keeping in touch with your host is always a good idea!
Invest in a tripod
Just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you should have great photos to remember the trip! If you really want to get real insta-worthy photos, then good compact gear is a must. The selfie stick can be a dead giveaway for the tourist, but bringing a tripod on a gorgeous sunrise or island hike hike is a great way to get aesthetic and professional photos.
Be comfortable – and confident – in your own business
Don’t be afraid to sit alone in a restaurant! Order a glass of wine alone in a bar! Don’t be tempted to grab fast food on the go or go with people you’re uncomfortable with just to avoid sitting alone. A big part of the journey is getting to know each other in a new environment. Spend time in your own business – and feel comfortable there. Bring a book or do your research for your next spot or day trip, but don’t stop people-watching, chatting with your waiter, or meeting a few locals!