How To Plan Your First Solo Trip
Taking your first solo trip, be it just for a weekend getaway or to head off to different countries for months or even years can be incredibly daunting. You can plan and prepare for months, but you will still be a little nervous about travelling alone for the first time. But through my travelling experiences, I have figured out plenty of tips and tricks on how to plan your first solo trip.
1. FEELING SCARED? THAT’S OK.
If you are scared about organizing and taking your first solo trip, that is entirely normal. All the travellers that you will meet will all have had the same fear, the same trepidation, even if they won’t admit it. Each traveller will tell you, myself included, that by travelling alone, you will learn so much about yourself. It gives you the luxury of choosing the route you want, and what you see, do, eat, and meet. You could climb that volcano, pick up languages easily, or even find your way around the city without getting lost. You get to discover just how capable you are.
2. PICKING YOUR DESTINATION.
Although some might think this would be an easy thing to do, there are a few things to consider when picking your first solo destination. What type of experience do you want? What do you want to see? These are important things to think of while trying to decide on the destination. If you don’t want your first trip to be overwhelming, think of what could make the trip easier. Maybe a place that speaks the same language as you, a place where locals are known for embracing the tourists, is there enough for you to see and do so that you can plan as much of your trip.
If you are still feeling worried about getting lonely or organizing the trip, you can always book yourself a group tour. You will be on a solo trip but with plenty of other travellers who feel the same as you, plus it’s so easy to make friends. Before booking, think about your fellow travelling companions’ ages and interests that you would be socializing with so that you can book the right tour for you.
Pick somewhere that works with your interests and how much social interaction you are looking for—Book for yourself, not for other people’s expectations.
3. GET YOURSELF ORGANISED.
One important tip I can give is to make sure that you are organized. It’s your solo trip, so you are responsible for yourself.
Book plenty in advance, from finding cheap flights to booking cheap accommodation, activities, day trips, and possibly restaurants. Some people like to be spontaneous, but trust me when I say it is a lot easier to be spontaneous when you plan to fall back on it. As long as you have your flights and accommodation booked in advance, you can make any changes to your itinerary. Also, if there are certain activities that you want to do, research whether they need to be done before your arrival or if you can do them when you get there. Plenty of places have lots of visitors, so if you want to make sure that you get to participate in an activity or day trip, it is best to book ahead so that you don’t miss out.
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4. FINDING THE BEST ACCOMMODATION.
In my opinion, the best type of accommodation for first-time solo travellers is hostels. They tend to be the best when it comes to price and convenience as they are often set within the areas of the city known to tourists. And although it might seem weird to sleep in a room with many strangers, it’s a great way to make friends.
The best way to pick the best hostel or hotel is to research the city beforehand and find out where the main attractions are that you want to visit. You can then whittle down your options based on how centrally located it is to everything you want to see. Expedia.com has a feature where you can search for accommodation through maps, which is useful for looking in a particular area. HostelWorld is excellent for the reviews from other travellers, and you will be able to see the hygiene rating, which I think is incredibly important. But you will also be able to decipher the hostel’s atmosphere and know whether it has what you are looking for.
5. ESSENTIAL TIPS.
- USE MAPS
Something that has helped me with my travelling has been using google maps or other apps like Google maps and having them downloaded before heading off. You can then download maps for specific areas that you will be travelling to and use them offline so that you won’t be at risk of getting lost. You can also add your accommodation, any attractions you want to visit and the nearest train or bus station to lose your way.
- PRINT YOUR ITINERARY AND DOCUMENTS
You should also make sure to either print or screenshot any relevant documents that you may need. Have details of your accommodation booking and its address in both your language and the native language so that it is easy for locals and taxis to understand. If you are unsure of how to travel from the airport to your accommodation, you can always book a driver in advance or check which bus or train route is the best option.
- CARRY A POWER BANK
It would help if you kept a portable phone charger on you at all times. This way, you will have your phone charged and on hand at any time, be it if you need to call a taxi if you don’t feel safe, need a map or book tickets. It also makes sure you are not fighting for the outlet in a shared hostel room. You should also consider getting a SIM card with internet data at the airport once you arrive, just so that you don’t incur massive charges from your hometown network.
- CARRY CASH
There is always the worry of having your bank card or passport stolen. It is something that every traveller has known to happen to someone, and so the fear is understandable. For bank cards, make sure you have a bit of cash on hand just in case. You can also always sign up for a travel debit card and make sure you have control over it through an app.
Don’t forget to pack padlocks, not just for hostels and attractions, but also for your backpack to deter anyone from stealing.
Lastly, you only get one first solo travel trip, so make it memorable and have fun. You will learn about all the do’s and don’ts along the way, and may even gain some extra tips from fellow travellers.
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