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You are ready to see the world rather than wait on others. Congratulations! You figured out people can be flaky when it comes to traveling. You start with 50 people and end up with five.
You are the CEO of your life, and your travel should not be dependent on whether someone else has money, a babysitter, or time off. Not your problem!
So let’s do this. Here are some tips for taking your first solo trip.
Join a travel group on Facebook. Yes, I’m serious. It will normalize traveling alone. My go-to groups are Sisters Traveling Solo™ and Girls LOVE Travel®. The group members are very supportive and helpful. They provided a lot of encouragement before my first trip and talked me off the ledge.
Read reviews from different sources. Don’t be misled by the pretty pictures or glowing reviews on social media. Your likes and dislikes must be taken into account. TripAdvisor is one of my favorite sites because you can search for reviews by keywords.
Where to Go
I know you want to see the Taj Mahal and Eiffel Tower, but I think you should crawl before you walk. I considered the following when choosing a destination:
- familiarity because I didn’t want to experience culture shock on top of everything else
- walkability because wandering the streets is life
- reliable public transportation because I hate to drive
After days of research, I chose Curaçao. This small Caribbean island met all of my requirements. Start small so you can work out the kinks.
Flight and Hotel
I always stay at hotels that offer free breakfast. This option feels most comfortable for me. Popular alternatives to hotels are Airbnbs and hostels. Each option has pros and cons. When looking for a hotel, I always read the less than perfect reviews.
I use TripAdvisor so I can read the breakfast reviews. If breakfast isn’t filling, it can rearrange your plans and budget. Be proactive and plan for everything that can go wrong before you get on the plane.
What do you want to see, learn, and experience? Sis, you don’t have to follow the trends. You can start a trend. It’s all about you.
I always book the Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour because it’s a great way to get the lay of the land, plus it’s cheap. You can book excursions through Viator, Get Your Guide, or Expedia. You can also wait until you arrive and go through the brochures at the hotel. The concierge at the hotel can assist you with booking excursions.
Sign-up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so you can receive the latest safety and security information for your destination. Moreover, the US Embassy will be better able to assist you in an emergency.
This free program is for US Citizens and Nationals.
Share your itinerary with a family member and check-in daily. Sis, this ain’t the time to be grown and tell folks to stay out of your business.
Be selective about what you reveal to strangers. Trust your instincts. You don’t have to tell everyone you are traveling alone. People are intrigued by solo travelers and will try to get all up in your business. You don’t owe them anything. It’s OK to lie and say your family is back at the hotel.
Never post to social media in real-time. Greece is magical, and you want to share it with the world. But your pics will still be amazing the next day or week. Posting pics in real-time isn’t safe, and you will get tons of messages on Instagram.
Visualization is kinda like daydreaming. I saw myself on a beach in Curaçao listening to the waves, eating red snapper, watching the sunset, meeting new people, and enjoying life. Play the movie in your mind until it feels real. Feel what you would feel when it happens.
Basketball players use this technique all the time. They see themselves making the free throw or taking the game-winning shot. Then beautifully execute on the court. Use your mind to create amazing experiences.
Set an intention, which is simply stating what you want. Visualize and set an intention to have an amazing solo trip.
As the saying goes, a little prayer never hurt anyone. I pray for a drama-free flight and safe travels.
Rome2Rio is my new favorite app. This app shows you different methods of transportation and includes the cost. This app comes in handy when an excursion doesn’t offer pick-up and drop-off services.
I hate driving, so I never rent a car. If you want to rent a car, find out if an international driver’s license is required.
GlobeConvert Currency and Units is a lifesaver. No one has time to do mental math while on vacation. This app converts any currency to USD, kilometers to miles, and Celsius to Fahrenheit.
Bring your Visa or MasterCard because they are widely accepted nationwide. It’s a good idea to have at least two credit cards and cash on hand. Leave your Discover and American Express cards at home because fewer merchants accept them. Get local currency by withdrawing cash from an ATM at the airport.
Savor each moment! Let your travels feed your soul.
You got this!