Traveling Solo is a lot of fun! But there are definitely things to know beforehand that can make your trip a lot easier and fun. After over 30 trips alone, I learned a lot of things along the way about traveling that I wouldn’t necessarily know if it wasn’t for those experiences. But I am here to make your life easier, weather you’ve traveled solo before or haven’t, here is 21 things you should do when traveling solo.
Stay at a Hostel to Meet More People- If you have never traveled solo before and are afraid you won’t meet interesting people your age, a hostel is a perfect place to meet new friends. While I like to make friends everywhere I go, I also love alone time, but sometimes too much alone time can get lonely, the good thing about the hostel is that you can choose when you want to be alone and when you’re interested in getting into some interesting conversations and making friends. There are all kinds of hostels, some are dirty and cheap and others are really fancy and brand new. I stayed at a beautiful brand new hostel while in Barcelona (The Black Swan Hostel) for a week and it actually saved me a lot of money and I met some pretty cool people from all over the world.
Take Shameless Selfies- lol its true. No one can tell you anything! Take as many selfies as you want and you actually have a good excuse for it.
Read Hotels Review- and look at all the pictures and fine prints. Many times what the hotel advertises is far from what the reality really is. A lot of times they will post photos of their best renovated rooms but when you show up you might get something far from the photo you saw. Read reviews and see what people that stayed there had to say about this place.
Book a Bus Tour- This is probably the smartest and cheapest way to see the entire city you’re visiting. They usually run $15-$20 you can also add a 2 day pass for $5-$10 more. Most of these buses have 2-3 routes and you won’t be able to finish them all in 1 day. These buses will take you to all the main attractions the city has to offer you. You also get a free tour with a headset upon approaching the bus in many languages, giving you a lot of fun facts about the city and locations. You can get on and off wherever you want and there is also a bus coming in every 10-20mins. This saves money on taxis and also helps you save your energy instead of walking everywhere.
Try New Foods- Different country, different food. Every country has their signature dishes, while some things may seem weird, other things are delicious and definitely worth a try.
Be Safe and Always Watch Everything- Before arriving in a foreign country or city, you should probably read about the safety levels of the place you’re visiting. I was told that in Barcelona there are many thieves and people get mugged all the time. I always wear a purse that goes across my chest instead of a purse over the shoulder that someone can just grab and run. If I’m traveling solo I will also hide important things like most of my money in my bra. I even once hid, my camera, iPhone, money and passport all in my bra when going out at night, to a totally different park of town lol but I was safe! Be cautions and aware of your surroundings.
Carry a Map with You- This is probably a smart idea because as a tourist in a foreign country you will get lost at times. It’s important to mark down beforehand where you’re staying, that way if you really can’t find where you are, you can simply ask for some help without needing to know the language or get into a taxi and point to your destination. I also recommend studying the map a little, to know what’s around you.
Figure Out Before Hand, Transportation From Airport and Distance- Many of us would automatically just go with a taxi, but sometimes the main city is 30-60mins ride and that can get pricey. From NYC a taxi can run you $55, if you take a subway its about $6, that’s a big difference, especially each way. Many main cities offer shuttles that are so much cheaper and will take you to the main town center or to the front of your hotel. You can also make friends on these shuttles. 😉 Barcelona was a perfect example too, from the airport €30.00 each way by taxi, shuttles is €5.90, round trip €10.
Bring a Book- This is the perfect place to read a book about whatever inspires you and gives you all the time in the world since you will be spending a lot of time alone and sometimes there is no wifi to distract you. This is why a good book always comes in handy.
Ask Someone to Take a Photo for You- of course, make sure it’s a normal person or a tourist, but ask, you don’t even need to know the language they speak. It’s a universal thing and offer to take a picture of them. While selfies can be fun and easier, sometimes you just want a good picture in front of world famous locations. Also a good way to make friends;)
Bring Your iPod and Good Music- Very important! Make sure to download new music and maybe make a playlist, although iPod shuffle is the best in my opinion.
Check Out Attractions and Deals Before- Before heading out to your trip, google a few things to do in the city, see what are the must “to do things”. You don’t wanna come home and know you missed out on one of the world’s most talked about places, when you were only down the street.
Buy Food on the Go, so You Don’t Waste Time- When I was in London, I only really had 1 full day for a 24hr exploring the city. I didn’t want to waste time on exploring, so I went to a little sandwich shop and got a sandwich to go and ate it along the way when I got hungry. It’s cheaper and saves time. When you’re with other people this isn’t always the case as some people have to sit down and eat, but when you’re solo traveling, take it to go. 😉
Don’t Over Pack- Cause you’ll be stuck carrying things long distances and some hostels don’t have too much room for your stuff. Plus, you’re also buying things, make sure you’re not over weight.
Activities are Cheaper in Person- So this I had to learn the hard way, while it may seem just easier to book things before arriving to your destination, I have learned that many things are just cheaper at the actual locations. They have better deals than the online websites and some places you can also bargain on the price.
Always Bring a Small Bag- If you are exploring all day, you don’t wanna be stuck with a purse or a backpack that’s so heavy and makes your shoulder and back hurts to the point where you can’t walk. Bring something small that only keeps the things you actually need.
Dress Up! – Even if it’s just for you! It will make you feel good about yourself and these pictures are for the rest of your life to share, so look nice 😉
Buy Souvenir- At every destination that I have traveled to I have always bought something from that place. I have a key chain from every country, it always puts a smile on face when I look at it later on and think “Awwww ITALY! I miss Italy! Best trip ever!” I also buy a shirt or some kind of accessory and of course something for good friends and family. It’s pretty cool to wear some things and someone is like “Where did you get that from?” you say “Paris!”
Hide Your Money- like I said before, hide it somewhere in your suitcase in your hotel room and some in your bra if you have to lol. I was given this advice by a few friends who traveled to Thailand alone.
Credit and Cash- While in case something happens where you lose your money or whatever else, make sure to always have credit cards or a traveler’s check. But also take into consideration that some places only accept cash. I once was overcharged for a hotel room in London 6 times, which then made me negative on my account and they wouldn’t check me in. Having cash can save you and if not, you can use the lobby’s free wifi to contact your family back home to make a transfer, as I had to do.
Don’t Bring Expensive Things- Here is the thing, while I love all my brand name stuff like purses, I don’t recommend bringing them along with you. It just causes attention that you may not want to bring upon yourself, sometimes people over charge you because they think you have money. Also, you don’t wanna be a target of thieves or gypsies.
Food Allegories- I’m a vegetarian for a little over 20 years, I will not eat anything that touched meat or seafood. When traveling solo it’s important that if you have any dietary needs or allegories that you either find an English menu, a place that has photos for a menu instead of writing, or find out how to say it in the foreign language of the country you’re at.