The idea of traveling solo is not without anxiety, especially if it’s your first time. Like when trying anything new, it takes some time to hone this skill, and very soon you’ll be the one dishing out advice among your peers. Stepping out on your own helps you discover aspects of yourself you otherwise wouldn’t, and going to a new place adds another dimension to self-discovery. You’re able to understand your place in the universe, much less your city or hometown.
Any travel blogger, or people who travel solo, highly recommend travelling solo despite your age. Sometimes life can be overwhelming; a bad boss, tax liens, death in the family, and you want to center you again. It’s not without its challenges, so we’ll walk you through some tips and how to overcome your fear. Also, this is not limited to extroverts; introverts and anyone in between should do it as well.
1. Guidebooks are great, but look around too
These handy tools give you a general feel of a place, but it often leaves out intricate details about a culture. What does conservative mean? By observing people in their element before interacting with them, it gives you an idea of how to approach them or even whom to approach. Head to a busy place, sit and watch people. Once you’re ready to interact, you’ll have picked up a few cues that’ll impress even the locals. That’ll help you make genuine connections even though you’re staying over for a few days.
2. Say yes more (within reason of course)
Group dynamic often leaves people unable to do what the truly wish to. When you’re alone and you’ve made new friends, say more to more invitations for a hike, coffee, dinner- anything that makes for a good time. As always, you’ll have to have assessed the risk before stepping out of your comfort zone. Whichever way it goes, it’ll make for a good story or lesson.
3. Get off your phone and meet new people
It may be tempting to send photos to your friends and family every so often. While updating them of your wear about is vital, doing that would defeat the purpose of traveling alone. Carry a book instead. Go to a busy place- a restaurant, Public Square, a pub, museum… anywhere where at least one person is likely to approach you. Foreigners stand out; any anyone will want to know your story. Be open to making connections and learning theirs.
This tip in particular does sound counterintuitive because as kids we were told not to talk to strangers, but after a while you’ll be able to know who is friend and who is foe. For the most part, 99% of the people you meet will be decent human beings. It’s incredible how far a smile and a hello can get you too.
4. Be a responsible drinker
Know your limits when you’re out drinking. This tip seems like a no brainer especially because you wouldn’t want anyone taking advantage of the fact that you’re a foreigner. Apart from giving hotel or hostel mates a bad impression, you waste time you could be exploring nursing a hangover.