Make no mistake about it: traveling the world is on nearly everyone’s bucket list, and many people love the thrill of doing it solo. Exploring a new country and areas of the world by yourself can be a cathartic experience filled with adventure and excitement.
Needless to say, if you’re thinking about making an extended trip by yourself, it’s best to be as prepared as possible. Luckily, there are plenty of tips from expert solo travelers that will prove to be invaluable during your next foray into the unknown.
1. Save Money Beforehand
One of the single best tips for solo travelers is to save money – as much as you can – before you begin your trip. “It’s much easier saving beforehand than attempting to make money on the road,” said an expert traveler.
As much as you may think money will be easy to come by via odd jobs in small towns, nothing is guaranteed.
2. Balance Hostel Stays With Hotels and Private Rooms
Don’t get us wrong, nothing beats hostels when it comes to saving a few bucks, but it can get monotonous and a little noisy at times. “Hostels are fantastic for not spending a lot of money and the social aspect,” one traveler revealed. “However, I found my best approach was staying in a hostel for 6-7 nights and split with a hotel in between to recharge.” That sounds like solid advice to us!
3. Don’t Plan More Than 2-3 Months in Advance
There’s nothing wrong with being prepared, but when you’re dealing with an extended trip by yourself, it’s advised not to lock things down more than a few months in advance. The reasoning? “Your plans will change, guaranteed,” said a traveler who admitted she didn’t give herself enough leeway to live in the moment during her last trip through Europe.
4. Be Smart With Your Cards
This specific piece of advice goes a little farther than the typical “make sure you bring a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.” Instead, savvy solo travelers said to take multiple copies of the same card with you! “It’s wise to bring a debit and credit card, or multiple of each. Hide them in different places for yourself,” they instructed. This serves as a safeguard against losing a credit or debit card and not being at the mercy of your bank sending you a new card overseas. It’s a pretty simple traveling hack that will yield big benefits if you happen to misplace a card.
5. Don’t Overpack
Trust us when we say the less you pack for your trip, the better off you’ll be. Other travelers agree – it’s just not a smart move to overpack! “I have a bad habit of accumulating things,” one person admitted. “I already sent two packages by sea back home to ensure that I have a light load to carry at all times. It is so much easier to lug small bags around if you’re on the move.” Plus, your back and shoulders will thank you for traveling lightly!
6. Don’t Budget Based on Travel Blogs
There are plenty of bloggers out there who have written useful guides about traveling, but let’s face it: they’re only writing from their own perspective, and what worked for them may not necessarily work for you.
Often, travel influencers leave out important financial information about their trip, like if their hotel stays were paid for by somebody else. “It took me a while to learn that these are not very accurate,” one traveler said about these blogs. “They often vastly underestimate spending, oversell how ‘cheap’ it is to travel elsewhere.” Our advice? Do your financial homework yourself.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Socialize
Just because you’re embarking on a solo journey doesn’t mean you have to completely cut out socializing with other people while on your trip. “It’s important you know yourself enough to realize when you need company and when you’re okay to be by yourself,” a long-term traveler advised. “When you need the social aspect, hostels and meetups can be invaluable.”
8. Get Your International Driver’s License
Obtaining an international driver’s license in most foreign countries is easy, assuming you already have a driver’s license issued by your home country. “You’ll never know when an opportunity presents itself, either to rent or become the additional driver,” somebody revealed. Even if you have no intention to drive a vehicle while on your trip, it’s always better to be prepared for any situation that arises. If you don’t, you might miss out on making some unforgettable memories.
9. Embrace Smaller Towns
There’s nothing wrong with big cities, tourist traps, and waiting in line to see some truly breathtaking art and building. However, many people swear by giving smaller towns on your journey just as much attention as the larger cities, simply because a lot of authenticity can only be found away from bright city lights! Take it from us, some of our favorite memories in Europe have been off the beaten path.
10. Remember to Enjoy Your Trip
Thanks to the adrenaline rush that will surely accompany you on your journey, it’s important to remember to take everything in and truly enjoy your solo trip. “You’re traveling, and many people don’t have the opportunity to do so.
I would say my biggest regrets while traveling are when I don’t take the opportunity to DO the thing I want to do,” one well-known traveler said. When embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, you don’t want to have regrets. After all, it’s YOUR trip – make the most of it, and fill it with people, places, and things that will make it memorable!
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