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Tips and tricks for traveling alone

A solo trip can be a unique experience, full of benefits! Exploring new places at your own pace, not having to wait or catch up with fellow travelers, eating whatever you want at whatever time you want, spending more time visiting the attractions that interest you (or less if they don't interest you!). 
Tips and tricks for traveling alone
Traveling alone is all that and more! It's time to dedicate to yourself doing whatever you want, whenever you want, according to the preferences of the one and only absolute protagonist of the trip: you. 

Why travel alone?

One of the best ways to learn about your strengths, weaknesses and preferences in life is to travel alone. When you travel alone, you travel on your own terms. You can connect with people if you feel like socializing or avoid them completely if you want time by yourself. 

There are so many benefits of solo travel that can completely affect your lifestyle. It's an experience that encourages you to get to know yourself and grow as a person: you gain self-confidence, you learn to solve problems more calmly and serenely, you open your mind to new ways of seeing the world by discovering how life works elsewhere.
Despite this, we're all a little scared of the idea of traveling alone, and that's normal! The prospect of traveling alone can put you on edge, especially if you're planning a trip abroad (where you might not know the local language or customs).

Don't be discouraged, there are many simple and smart ways to enjoy a solo trip with peace of mind and safety. So here are some tips and tricks to help you make the most of a solo trip:
Tips and tricks for traveling alone

Pre-trip tips

There are several things you can do before you leave that will make your trip easier and more enjoyable:
  • Make a "smart" budget: we all have to do the math before a trip, literally. Having a good idea of the amount you're willing to spend will keep you from wasting time evaluating overpriced trips. Don't consider only travel and hotels in the budget, try to guess also how much you would spend to eat and visit the attractions that interest you (you don't need to have a precise calculation but having an idea helps!);
  • Choose accommodations suitable for "loners": depending on the trip you want to do (and the type of traveler you are), staying in one accommodation rather than another can make a big difference on your experience. Hostels, for example, are where you'll find many young solo travelers, as they're an inexpensive and very suitable solution for this type of trip;
  • Pack light: since you can only rely on your own strength, the best choice is to pack light and essential luggage. Depending on how long you will be away and the climate of the destination, try to save space and weight for the necessary clothing and accessories, especially if you are backpacking! It's not just about weight and space, being able to figure out what you really need and what is unnecessary is another positive side of solo travel that also comes in handy in everyday life.
  • Plan the most important trips: On a trip, you don't need to plan everything before you leave, but some things do! If you are planning to travel, plan the most important trips in advance by booking the necessary tickets and always leave a good amount of time between each trip. This will allow you to face delays and unexpected events with more confidence and will make you travel more serene;
  • Talk to friends and family: "If I remember correctly, there's a little restaurant tucked away right next door". Some places we only discover by word of mouth, friends and family may give you useful advice based on their experience (of the place or of past travels, any advice is welcome!) and they will also feel more relaxed and in some way involved in knowing what are the stages and the program of your trip.

Tips for enjoying your trip

Once you've planned your trip, all that's left to do is enjoy it! Here are some helpful tips for making the most of your solo trip:
  • Chat with locals: it's true, starting conversations with strangers can be a challenge. However, these conversations can really turn your trip around! Talking to locals will allow you to learn about and discover things that aren't written about in travel guides, as well as make new friends and experience and see places you never would have discovered on your own!
  • Get to know other travelers: wherever you go you will find many others who, like you, will be traveling alone. Some of them will be first-time travelers, or they will have already visited the place where you are, or perhaps they will have great experience traveling alone. Talking to other travelers can be a way to learn and get to know places, tricks of the trade and other people. Traveling alone can be a great incentive to socialize, all it takes is a little courage and you can hear incredible stories from travelers from all over the world!
  • Don't plan too much: as we said, it's important to plan the key parts of the trip. It's equally important not to plan everything! One of the most enjoyable aspects of solo travel is discovery, often unexpected. Try to "get lost" around, explore where you are and you may find something unique around the corner, off the schedule;
  • Be flexible: when interesting opportunities arise from chance encounters or unexpected places, don't be afraid to change your plans. Visiting the attraction can be put off until another time, some random experiences cannot!
  • Be patient: the impact with a new city or a new reality can be difficult at first, you may feel overwhelmed and disoriented. Don't rush it and don't worry, take some time to wade around and understand how the reality around you moves. In no time you will find yourself to be serenely part of the place! 
  • Participate in local events: in many towns and cities you will find local events that you didn't know about, take advantage of them! Whether it's a street party, an outdoor concert or a street performance, attend local events. You'll get a deeper insight into the local culture and feel like a local;
  • Eat local food: Another very effective way to learn about a place is to taste its flavors. From the local dishes you will understand a lot about the culture and traditions of the place and you will be able to taste specialties you have never seen before! Don't be afraid to ask about what you are eating, many will be happy to tell you their piece of history related to traditional dishes;
  • Keep in touch: traveling alone doesn't necessarily mean isolating yourself from everything and everyone. A video call to family or friends can be a great way to share your day, your emotions, and plans for the rest of your trip (and then we're sure everyone will be more comfortable knowing you're okay and enjoying your trip).
Tips and tricks for traveling alone

Other useful tips

As with any trip, whether alone or in a group, it's good to remember some good practices to avoid unpleasant situations:
  • Don't bring too much cash: traveling is expensive and you'll often have cash on you, but even in your own city you wouldn't walk around with too much cash in your pocket, right? Try to bring only the bare essentials, leaving the rest in the hotel (many facilities provide a safe in the room) or use an electronic payment method when possible;
  • Avoid "dangerous" areas: it may seem obvious but sometimes we don't realize that an area is actually a potential danger for us solo travelers. Don't be afraid to ask the locals for advice on where to go if you have any doubts;
  • Inquire about local customs: did you know that tipping in Japan is extremely rude? In some places life is different from what we are used to, even a small gesture can mean something else! It's a good idea to get informed and educate yourself on local customs, you will be rewarded with a warm welcome and no misunderstandings.

Ready to go? With these little tips and tricks, we're sure you'll be able to organize and enjoy your next solo trip!
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