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A Guest Post by Mariam Simmons*
Solo Traveling – 10 Lessons I Learned So Far
You might have a strange feeling the first time you travel alone. The travel schedule is your decision, and you’ll be wandering cities and natural landscapes solo.
First-timers take a while to get used to that fact, but once you do, you’ll be in for a fantastic time. The valuable hours you spend exploring the world, but also your inner thoughts, will be a memorable experience. As a passionate solo traveler, allow me to share tips that will improve your trip!
1. Learn to Strike up a Conversation
I recently picked a cottage in a small village as a starting point to explore a region I visited for the first time. The house was owned by a local, so I asked him to help point out some hiking trails nearby. He even agreed to come with me, and we ended up having a memorable day exploring springs and enjoying beautiful nature!
The fact you travel alone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk and make friends. Furthermore, locals will be more encouraged to talk to you if you are solo. I’m proud to have dozens of friends from Europe and Asia. They helped me have a great time in their countries and try things tourists usually don’t get to experience.
2. Don’t Forget Your Camera
As a passionate hiker, I often explore forests on foot. My friends love checking the photos of unique nature moments I take during my travels. I remember I was near a river in the mountains once and noticed a fawn bathing. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen and a moment worth capturing.
Unfortunately, it’s when I realized I had forgotten my camera. I hold that image in my head but realize it’s not the same as if I photographed it. So always double-check you have your camera to capture fantastic moments during your travels!
3. Create a Capsule Wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe is an approach to clothing I adopted several years ago. The simple explanation is you only buy items you can easily combine and interchange. That ensures you have a huge number of outfits while ensuring you don’t have too many clothing pieces.
It’s an approach worth using when going on a trip. It’ll help to be more organized and pack lighter. The majority tend to bring things that they never use during the trip, and that’s something to avoid. (See more tips from Solo Trekker on packing light.)
Keep Your Money Safe
I used to love keeping cash in my pockets, but then I had a terrible experience in the Dominican Republic. My idea was to tip the bag carrier with $5, but I never realized that $100 accidentally fell out of my pocket while reaching for it. I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but no one told me. It only took a few minutes before I realized what had happened, but it was too late.
Another thing to consider is that thieves lurk everywhere. That’s why keeping your money safe is imperative, especially if traveling solo. A secure wallet with RFID protection isn’t only a safe place to store cash, but it will ensure no one steals information and funds from your cards.
4. It Doesn’t Have to be Daunting to Eat Alone
I’m not talking about ordering food and staying in your room, but going out and enjoying a meal. It might seem weird, but it comes with many advantages. First, you decide the schedule and when you’ll eat. Also, you can pick the food, and there’s no need to share it with anyone.
Finally, you’ll end up having an amazing time once you master this art. And if you dress up and head to a restaurant, you could at least expect some glances and compliments, which would be a true self-esteem booster.
5. Do the Planning
You might not have the privilege to travel alone often, so pick your destination carefully. For example, do you prefer lying on the beach and reading books the entire day? Or do you want an active vacation with hiking and other adventures?
Once you settle on the destination, explore the potential things in the area. It always helps to know more about the location you are visiting to simplify planning your trip.
6. Plans Are Made to Be Broken
Even if you are a person who likes to stick to a schedule, embrace the opportunity to break it during your trip. There’s no need to discuss an itinerary with anyone, so enjoy doing whatever you like.
Did you plan on getting up early to go hiking but ended up having a great time in a local restaurant the evening before? Instead of leaving the restaurant early, postpone the hike for another time. Go with the flow, and don’t hesitate to be flexible!
7. Look After Your Belongings
It’s not only about money but also personal items and other essentials. If you have a safe in the hotel room, leave your passport and important documents there. Once you leave the room, double-check if you took your keys. Decide on a pocket where you’ll keep the keys so you don’t end up looking for them.
8. Learn to Live with Less
You’ll be surprised how little you need to enjoy and have a fantastic time. Active persons like me enjoy hiking through the woods and observing the scenery. I have many friends who are solo travelers who enjoy sitting on a shore and watching the open sea. But the point is you don’t need fancy clothes, gadgets, or technology. You’ll learn how little a person requires to enjoy every moment.
9. Make Peace with Yourself
Alone time is healthy, and you’ll love the chance to become your best friend. You’ll discover new likes and dislikes and think about your life, including past, present, and future. Solo travels are often times when we make important life decisions. But even if you don’t, you’ll appreciate the time and opportunity to make peace with yourself.
I have so many amazing memories from solo traveling. You’ll learn to chill and appreciate time for introspection while having the chance to explore the world. It’s a win-win combination, so don’t hesitate to give it a shot and become a solo traveler!
Mariam Simmons is a fashion enthusiast and Content Manager at Alpine Swiss. She loves traveling to the world’s top stylish destinations and gets inspired to create helpful fashion and lifestyle guides. With over a decade of writing experience, her main goal in creating content is to ensure readers learn something useful and provide value instead of noise.