There is something about being outside your comfort zone that shoots a buzz of pleasurable adrenaline through not just your body but also your soul. The thrill of the unexpected, the wonder of discovery and the mystery of the unknown combine in a palpable wave of mixed, conflicting emotions that leave you breathless… but excited.
That is your first solo vacation in one paragraph.
Anyone who has traveled alone before knows that it can at times be intimidating, scary and nerve-wracking. Yet, you would be hard pressed to find any solo traveler that will advise you completely against it. They will offer bits of advice to make your first (and subsequent) solo trip a great one, and here is our own list.
- Stay Contactable – Mom is going to worry, that’s a given. If you are female, mom, dad, brothers, sisters and the neighbors will worry also. Put everyone’s mind at ease by being easily reachable. There really is no excuse for you not to be; in a world that is so wired today. There are very few places where you will be completely out of reach. Set up a schedule for contact to update them of your location so they are reassured, and can also seek help if you get into trouble and are not in a position to do so yourself.
- Mind the Alcohol – If you are with a group of friends, the responsible one of the group will ensure that you and your belongings are looked after. When solo, there is no such safety net so you will have to ease up on your alcohol intake to avoid becoming another intoxicated victim of crime.
Alcohol can be much cheaper around the world but be careful, please.
- Be Wary and Trust Your Gut – It is an unfortunate reality that you will probably look like an inexperienced solo traveler to people who are up to no good. Keep your guard up at all times and avoiding being too trusting of every person you meet in a strange land. If a situation feels uncomfortable, remove yourself – you can always go back later if you want. Incidents during New Year’s celebrations in countries like Germany with large immigrant populations proved that individuals might not even be safe in crowded areas.
- Carry ID – Your ID affords you many protections when you leave the country because of your nationality. It is a great tool to be able to show authorities to both establish your identity and get the full force of consular help behind you in case of emergencies.
Solo travel can be trying, even for veteran travelers. The world is a complicated place and it can throw up some stunning roadblocks. Our next piece of advice is probably the most important:
Make friends, laugh with strangers, smile at the people, the sky, the wind and the sea. You are Solo and the world is smiling back at you.