Have your first solo trip planned? Or your 50th? Then, this is for you!
We know how daunting traveling on your own can be. Whether it’s your first trip or your 50th, butterflies before are common. We’ve helped countless ladies embark on their first solo adventure and learned a lot through our own experience. So our cofounder, Meesen Brown, shared her top solo travel tips for you, from her 10+ years of adventures.
Meesen’s Take on Solo Trips
Traveling solo can feel down right overwhelming. New places, new faces and new spaces can be a lot of change. However, there are countless benefits to traveling alone; from getting to choose what you want to do, when you want to do it, to moving at your own pace, meeting new people, experiencing new things, and growing and learning along the way.
I’ve experienced these benefits, and many more, firsthand from my years of solo travel. They are a large part of the reason we started Behere, to make it easier for women to experience new places, while maintaining their routines. I’ve shared my top tips for solo travel to make it less daunting, and more fun!
1. Download ebooks, podcasts, music etc
For long flights, train rides or an afternoon relaxing — having time to yourself is essential when traveling by yourself. You might feel the need to make new friends and always be social, but the quiet moments alone are underrated while traveling — make time for them.
2. Share your itinerary with family / friends
Paying special attention to staying safe while traveling alone is essential, so share where you’ll be and when, with loved ones. That way they know where you are and when to check in — and if you have a few days without your phone because of a retreat, they’ll see it on your itinerary. Don’t forget to send friends and family an update text, or a quick FaceTime but also remember to enjoy the moment and where you are.
3. Explore the city on foot
Taking an Uber or cab might be more convenient or faster, but you’ll always see the most of the city, and the way people live there, when exploring by foot. Plus you’ll save money, get some exercise and find unique places that you wouldn’t have found otherwise — happy walking!
4. Be cautious, especially alone at night
As much as I believe people are good and kind, you can never be too careful when in a new place. Do some research on areas/neighborhoods that are safe and always try to arrive to a new place during the day. Also, plan your transportation route ahead of time and learn the local emergency number, just in case.
5. Purchase a local sim card or get a roaming plan
Safety when traveling is always a number one priority, so I recommend getting your phone unlocked before you leave the country then purchasing a local SIM card. That way you will be able to access the internet, use Google maps and Google translate, plan on the go, and call home. In addition, it’s important to have the local emergency number saved, as well as the contact details of wherever you’re staying.
6. Book your accommodation ahead of time
I always try to book apartments vs hotels for a more authentic, and comfortable feel. Firstly, I do research to find the best/safe areas of the city, then I choose the more expat friendly areas vs the touristy one. That way I can find a more local cafe for coffee, and shop at the markets and local stores vs being pushed around in the overpriced tourist markets/cafes. This is the reason I started Behere, to help you feel more comfortable, safe and settled from the get-go in a new city.
7. Keep a routine
I’ve said this time and time again, maintaining a routine while traveling keep me productive, sane and grounded. I always do research ahead of time to find local fitness studios or yoga, or use Behere. It can also be a great way to meet people in the city, and have a nice community feel. If you prefer running, look up some running routes around the city, it’s also a great way to explore a new place.
8. Work from a coworking space
If you’re bringing work on your trip, working in coworking spaces is a great way to meet new people, attend events, build your network and learn about business in that country. It’s how I’ve met great friends, brainstormed ideas and connecting with brilliant people at masterminds. Also we shared helpful tools to stay connected with your team while you’re traveling (Slack, Skype, Google Docs, Uber Conference, to name a few)
9. Find local communities, meetups etc
Attending meetups and events for things your interested in, in a new city is a great way to meet people with similar interests. I love finding and connecting with female focused/founder communities while traveling and always try to cohost meetups and events with them. There’s often meetups in english, so if you don’t speak the local language, don’t be afraid to sign up.
10. Pack light and roll your clothes
As much as you think you might need 12 t shirts, you won’t. Pack strategically and layout all your clothes beforehand. If there’s anything you haven’t worn in a while, take it out – you won’t wear it while traveling. Remember to pack for the weather of your destination, and to bring a few warm items that you can wear on the plane (saves suitcase space). Most things can be purchased where you’re going but remember to pack any medication or toiletry items that you know you can’t find elsewhere. Roll your clothes before putting in your suitcase, this will give you more room and ensure they come out less wrinkled.
11. Learn a bit of the local language
Knowing the basics and common phrases will go a long way in your experience in a new place. Practice a bit beforehand using apps like Duolingo, and Google Translate (this also has a feature where you can point your camera at a menu and it will translate for you). Don’t be afraid to try, people will appreciate the effort and might even help with your pronunciation.
12. Have a meal on your own
This may seem strange, but there is something delightful about dining out by yourself. Taking the time to just enjoy the meal and observe, teaches you about the culture and people of that city. If dining out isn’t your thing, cook for yourself and take it to a park or spot to watch the daily life go by. People watching is a great way to learn about the local culture and take a break while in a new place.
We hope these help you get excited and feel more at ease before your first (or next) solo trip! And if you’re ready for a solo trip, but want some help planning, and finding reliable accommodation we can help at Behere or get started choosing a city below!
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