When I was in my 20’s living in New York City, I never had an issue going at it alone. I can walk into a restaurant and ask for a table for one, attend events comfortably by myself and travel to unknown places on my own without worry. I still travel for work by myself but since I’ve been married, I don’t think I’ve ever traveled on vacation on my own until a couple years ago when I decided to give it a try and go without my husband, son, another family member or any of my girlfriends.
Have you ever tried traveling by yourself? Were you scared? Are you not one to do it? Will you even venture to travel solo if you have to and left with no choice? Honestly, it’s not that bad.
The thought of traveling alone especially when in a foreign place can be overwhelming, scary and daunting. I definitely felt all these emotions but because I know that I can turn traveling alone into a great and wonderful experience I went for it! I just need to get in the right mindset and make sure I make the most of the wonderful opportunity and experience traveling solo brings.
I found that traveling alone allowed me to create and design the trip to be unique to me. Because I am by myself, I can make my travel personal and meaningful. Traveling solo also allowed me to be resourceful and rely on my intuition to handle and overcome the fear of being alone in an unfamiliar place. With the willingness to try this new experience of going at it alone I know I can pull this off and I did!
These are the five things that made a huge difference in getting the most of my trip as I traveled alone:
Do your research. Before I left for my trip I went online and did my research to learn about my destination. What is important about the place? What are the customs? What sights and points of interests should I need to make sure I do not miss? What about the food? What about the people? I studied the map to get my bearings and to familiarize myself before I got to my destination.
Once I had all the information I need, I went ahead and created my itinerary trying to remember not to make my schedule too crazy and exhaustive. I left a few slots open to make room for some whim and openness to dictate how my days will shape up once I get there.
I tried to pack light and fought the urge to over pack. I wanted to be able to manage all my belongings and handle them myself without being dependent on someone to help me out. I had to remind myself that I am on my own without my husband or anyone else to help me with my luggage and other matters. I don’ really like to drag heavy bags but I can sometimes get carried away with packing more than I need so keeping myself in check helped me avoid packing 5 pairs of shoes when I really only need 2 or 3.
One of my friends who travels a lot on her own told me that the best way to forget that you’re traveling solo is to surround yourself with people. She said that I should skip the car rental and take alternative modes of transportation that people from the place I am visiting use. When my friend was telling me all these, I couldn’t picture myself taking the bus or commuting publicly especially when I am by myself on this trip but I was open to giving it a try. If I could handle the subways of New York when I lived there then I can figure out how people where I am visiting commute! This advice from my friend made me venture out and allowed me to see and experience what everyday life in my destination is all about.
Traveling solo made me learn to listen to my instincts and figure out what I truly enjoy. It made me think about what I really want to do and see. Whether that’s going to a museum, checking out the retail shops, lounging by the pool or exploring the local market, I was open to making it happen and enjoy every moment. I listened to what my inner self told me and by doing that — my trip became more enjoyable and fulfilling.
Although I didn’t bring a travel journal with me on this trip, I made notes on my digital device and jotted down everything I did, saw and discovered, Writing things down helped me remember and treasure the special moments I experienced during my trip.
When I did my research and prepared my itinerary, I planned my trip to include doing things and activities that connect me with other people. I booked a walking food tour, a city tour and signed up for a travel photography lesson. I made sure to visit local shops where I was able to engage in rewarding conversations with other people.
As I look back to this solo trip, I discovered that solo traveling can be liberating at the same time empowering. I learned things about myself that I never knew.
If you are thinking of traveling but are hesitating because you don’t have anyone to travel with, you should take the plunge and do it. You would be surprise that traveling solo is not such a big deal and can in fact be exactly what you need in your busy and stressful life, I sure am thankful I took the opportunity to travel solo not only because I learned something new about myself but it also introduced me to see new sights, new friends and memorable experiences.