So you want to strike out as a solo traveler, but you’re still a little apprehensive. Maybe you haven’t traveled much before, or you usually go away with friends. Perhaps this trip is just more daunting, for whatever reason. Nerves are a natural part of solo travel, particularly if you’re a woman – we’ve all had the experience of feeling less confident or safe than our male counterparts in certain situations. But how can you equip yourself to master solo travel and become a fearless female explorer? There’s no perfect recipe for easy solo travel, but these skills will certainly help.
When there’s no one else to carry your baggage for you, the weight really starts to matter (there’s a life lesson in there somewhere…!). Be realistic about what you’ll wear, read, and use, and leave the rest behind.
Chances are, you’ll encounter some questionable situations when traveling. If you’re out there alone, you need to give off the impression that you are strong, determined, and not to be messed with. And guess what? Once you’ve started acting that way, it’s basically true.
You can’t rely on anyone else to make the plans for you, so you need to spend some time figuring out transportation and directions when you’re on the move. This is the perfect excuse to flex your planning skills, or to finally develop some!
Trusting Your Instincts
This bar feels dodgy? You don’t like the guy who’s sat next to you on the train? Trust your instincts; find a safe crowd, or get out of there. Politeness doesn’t matter when you’re traveling solo, so learn to trust your instincts.
Adapting To New Situations
Here are things you will find when you’re traveling: Food that seems weird. Bathrooms that seem weird. Customs that seem weird. Adapting and making the best of odd situations is part of solo travel, and it really will make you richer.
Talking To Strangers
If you’ve always been shy about talking to strangers, or prefer to let others handle it, solo travel will really flex your social muscles. Checking in, ordering at restaurants, and asking for directions, often in another language…this is your chance to learn to socialize and negotiate for yourself.
As a single female traveler, you’re an easy target for salespeople, hopeful men, and other travelers who want to socialize. That can be great, but it can also lead to a lot of uncomfortable situations if you don’t learn how to firmly and clearly say no when you don’t want to do something.
On the flipside, when you’re traveling alone, people want to get to know you. On top of that, every day can be spent exactly how you want to spend it, so learn to say yes to new things! Take that tour, hang out with the locals, and accept me-time when you need it.
Solo travel can be eye-opening, energizing, terrifying, and hilarious, often all at the same time. Once you’re in the swing of it, you’ll forget that you ever even worried, but getting to grips with these skills will help you take the first few steps.
by Erin Weaver