At some point in our lives, most of us will take a trip to a place far away from the comfort of our own homes. It is pretty rare to not take a trip at least once. For most of us, these trips consist of traveling with others. We travel with family to go to our cousin’s wedding. We travel with friends to celebrate a bachelorette party. We go to a romantic city with our significant other to celebrate a honeymoon. We take our children on vacation to meet the characters they grew up with.

But very rarely do we find the time to travel alone. Most of us will skip out on this travel. And that's a shame. We find that it’s too scary to go off to a distant, foreign land all by ourselves. Or we simply don’t like being alone and prefer the companionship of others, especially when visiting a different place. But the reality is that solo travel can often be the most liberating vacations. Once you get past the idea of knowing you are going to be alone for a week with your own thoughts in a distant land, you’ll find that it’s an incredible opportunity to peel back a few layers to yourself and find some things you didn’t know were there. It can be an eye-opening and profound experience. You’ll probably have some fun along the way too! Here are ten essential items you should never forget as a solo traveler as well as ten things you should always account for.

20 Account For: Look Up Reviews and Ratings Before Booking

Where you stay is a big part of your trip as a solo traveler. It isn’t nearly as big a deal if you are staying in a hotel, but if you are backpacking through Europe or on a trip exploring nature, it becomes significantly more important. The dangers to a person traveling alone are more present especially if you are booking a stay in a B&B, a hostel or an apartment on Airbnb or HomeAway. Make sure that you are thoroughly researching the reviews and ratings to ensure multiple past clients have been satisfied with their stay. If you find something with very few ratings or with negative experiences, it’s probably best to pass.

19 Essential Item: A Portable Battery

There’s a pretty good chance you are going to be moving for most of the day. This is a trip for YOU so it doesn’t make any sense to waste any of it in your hotel room. Going out and exploring is going to be on the agenda most days, save for a rest day somewhere in there. If you’re out from sun up to sun down, make sure you are packing a portable charger for your phone. This isn’t vital so that you can be on your phone the entire time, but to ensure you have access to your lifeline if anything happens.

18 Account For: Inform Loved Ones Of Your Whereabouts

As a person who is going to be on your own for quite some time, it only makes sense to ensure that others know of your whereabouts. Before leaving on your trip, provide your family or friends with a copy of your itinerary or at the very least, let them know what cities you will be in each day. If any emergency takes place and you are unable to let anyone know, a loved one will be able to take action if necessary. If you aren't convinced this is an important thing to account for, watch the movie 127 Hours. You'll change your tune quickly.

17 Essential Item: Your Phone

This one might seem obvious, but it’s important that you have a way to communicate with others. After all, you are on a trip by yourself. Things can happen that we don’t account for and being able to reach someone, whether it’s family, friends, or emergency personnel is vital. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have your phone on you to simply be able to navigate your way around using the map, pull up information on the internet, or be able to use any vouchers or entry tickets you have stored there.

16 Account For: Plan and Book the Things You Have Always Wanted to Do

Traveling with others means compromise. You have to ensure that all members of the traveling party are happy, or at the very least, satisfied with the activities that are planned. This sometimes means you might have to give up going on that backpacking hike on the mountainside for a trip to one of the local outlet malls for a day of shopping. But when you are going alone, you can do whatever your heart desires. And you should! When you plan a solo trip, don’t hold back. Plan all the things you’ve always wanted to do, but couldn’t.

15 Essential Item: A Great Pair of Shoes

Depending on where you are traveling, this is a pretty big essential. If you are going on a backpacking trip through Europe or visiting a major city like NYC, you’re going to want to invest in some shoes. Make sure to break them in BEFORE your trip so that you aren’t regretting the vacation each night as you walk into your hotel room. Don’t underestimate the power of some great shoes. Your feet will thank you after 12 hours of walking through streets or hiking through the wilderness.

14 Account For: Take Pictures and Share on Social Media

This is a time to throw caution to the wind and let loose. Enjoy yourself to the fullest because a trip alone is a great time to reflect on life and in a cliché sort of way, find yourself. This might turn out to be a time of self-discovery. You don’t want to forget about all the great details twenty years from now, so document it. Take pictures of all the things that amaze you. Photograph the wonders that make you stop and gaze. Share them with the world. Not to show off, but to let others in on the beauty of the world around us. These are memories you are going to want to look back on.

13 Essential Item: List of Your Personal Identifiers On You

This might sound very doom and gloom, but it’s an important one. Make sure you have your personal identification on you at all times. Your actual identification cards like your driver’s license or passport are a given, but you should probably take it a step further than that. Make sure to jot down your personal information like your name, phone number, and emergency contact info somewhere on you in case something happens and others have to help you in any way.

12 Account For: Prepare Your Home

When booking a trip on your own, it’s likely you aren’t going to be gone for just a weekend. These are the trips that should last a week, at a minimum. These are the memorable ones that will help shape and mold you. Because it might take some time, you’ll need to prepare your home. That means putting a hold on things like your newspaper delivery and your mail. You wouldn’t want folks passing by to immediately know the tenants of your home have been gone for some time. Don’t forget to make arrangements for your pets of course.

11 Essential Item: Toiletry Bag

When you’re traveling solo, you can’t lean on a companion to lend you something you might have forgotten back in the room. Make sure you carry a small travel bag filled with essential toiletries that might be necessary during the day. This can include travel sized deodorant, wipes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, band-aids, and any other personal products you might need on the fly.

10 Account For: Avoid 'Single Supplement'

This is a term in the booking industry that applies to cruises or even some hotel stay locations depending on the type of residence. Some of these establishments always account for a minimum of two travelers and will charge you as such. Make sure to be on the lookout when planning your trip and avoid these. If you can't avoid the additional charge, it’s best to look elsewhere. If it’s a place you simply cannot pass on, then you might eat the charge and enjoy!

9 Essential Item: Light Jacket

You are going to be in a foreign place and you aren’t always going to be prepared for the major swings in temperature that many countries on the other side of the world may experience. This is especially true if you are visiting places in a natural setting like a hiking or camping trip. During the day it can be scorching hot and temperatures can drop rapidly when the sun goes down. Always make sure to pack a light jacket at the very least just in case.

8 Account For: Meeting People

The trip is about you. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a complete hermit the entire time. Not only is it okay to go out and meet new people, but it’s encouraged. You’ll find yourself at a bar alone, in a restaurant at a dining table by yourself or walking through a museum on your own, but these are all perfect opportunities to strike up a conversation with someone and make a new acquaintance. These people could turn out to be great friends in the future.

7 Essential Item: One Carry-On… That’s It

I know this one is hard for some folks, but give it your best shot if at all possible. If you can avoid packing a giant suitcase that needs to be checked, do so. As a solo traveler, you might be on the move quite a bit and getting around easily is facilitated by packing light. If you can fit all of your belongings into a small carry-on and a backpack, that’s definitely the best way to go. Keep it simple!

6 Account For: The Language

Be aware of who you are as a person. Being an introvert or an extrovert might actually play a pretty big role in where you choose to travel to. If interacting with others doesn’t come naturally to you or you struggle with speaking to others in a public setting, you might want to account for the language barrier of a country you are visiting.

If you know you are going to have too difficult of a time asking people for directions or general questions in a different language because of your shy nature, you might want to start your first trip in a country that speaks your native tongue. That doesn’t mean you can’t force yourself to break out of your shell if you’re feeling courageous. Learn some key phrases beforehand and go for it!

5 Essential Item: A Backpack That is Built for the Long Haul

This is an important one if you are going to be doing a lot of walking, whether in a major city or in the wooded area of a rainforest. If you are going to be moving around a lot, make sure you invest in a sturdy but light backpack, with different compartments that are going to make life easier for you on your trip. It might even turn out to be your best friend by the end of your vacation. If you are going to be sitting on a beach for an entire week, you can probably skip this one.

4 Account For: Try All the Local Foods

Speaking of being brave, make sure you don’t revert to eating the same old foods you have available to you back home. Truly, what’s the point of going to a foreign country if you’re going to seek fast food or chain restaurants or look for all of the familiar items on a menu? There isn’t a good reason. Try all of the local foods at least once. You are more than likely going to find yourself amazed at how different the rest of the world’s palette is to the one you are used to. You’ll probably enjoy the foods just as much, if not more.

3 Essential Item: A Good Book

You don’t want to use up all of your vacation buried in a book, even if reading is incredible. This is a time for looking up and discovering the world around you. With that said, you might find yourself sitting in airports if you are moving from city to city. You might want to pack a good read to pass the time. But if you can help it, take in the beauty of the world as much as possible during your travels.

2 Account For: Your Destination

Finally, make sure you are accounting for your destination. Where you choose to go is a big decision. You don’t know when you’ll be taking another solo trip again so make this one count. It could be the trip of a lifetime that changes your life so make sure you are choosing a place that is going to deliver. You know if you are going to get the most out of walking through a major city exploring all of the art, culture, food, museums, buildings and landmarks. That might not do it for you and a beach destination with excursions and beautiful water might be the place instead. Or you might find yourself backpacking through countries, discovering the beauty of nature. Whatever calls to you, make sure you go with the one that is going to make you happiest.

1 Essential Item: A Journal

You are likely going to be photographing much of your journey, but don’t forget to bring a small journal with you. A picture can capture the beauty of what we see in front of us, but your words can capture what you feel. Your thoughts and memories can be jotted down through words in ways that cannot be expressed in any other format. Even if you don’t tend to like writing much, you’ll find it to be a great release while on your trip. And who knows, you might read through your entries years from now and get some pretty great nostalgia from that time you found yourself.

References: Forbes, Eagle Creek