Traveling solo is freedom. Travelers pick their destinations and stay as long as each area interests them. These independent folk only visit the attractions that intrigue them. They eat what they want where they want and when they want it. Accommodation choice? Solo travelers pick that too. There is no negotiating or waiting around while others get ready to go out. Traveling solo is more than just a way to see the world--it's an opportunity for introspection and personal growth. It's also a way to forge new friendships with other adventurers. Read on for tips on choosing a destination and accommodation, coming up with a budget, and staying safe.
How To Choose Where To Go
Solo travelers can go anywhere they want, but for people setting out on their own for the first time this wide range of destinations represents a daunting choice. For an initial trip, travelers should pick places where they speak the language and it's easy to get around on foot or public transportation. Some examples for English speakers could be Montreal, Nashville, London, or Sydney.
Once solo travelers have narrowed down potential destinations, they should research them. Solotravelerworld.com is one place to do this. It is a community for people who venture out on their own. The modifiers of the website have dedicated a large amount of content to discussing destinations and their accessibility for solo travelers. Additionally, the creators of the website manage a Facebook group called Solo Travelers. Experienced adventurers share information and make suggestions to newbies. This is a great place to ask questions about a destination.
After defining the location, the next step is finding someplace to stay. Accommodation choices will depend on people's age, budget, and taste. Many solo travelers are young people in their 20s. The next largest group are people over 50. Some adventurers will prefer staying with others from their age group. A noisy hostel with shared bathrooms and steep stairs will not be the first choice for older travelers. Quiet seaside B&Bs may seem boring or stuffy to the younger crowd. Keep in mind that traveling alone can be an isolating experience. Heading someplace with common areas is a fantastic way to meet like-minded folk. Hostels, campgrounds, and singles hotels are examples of such lodging. Other individuals may prefer the privacy of renting an apartment through Airbnb.
How To Plan A Solo Travel Budget
Travelers usually base their budgets on one of two things--how much money they have for a vacation, or on their dream destination. For example, an adventurer may have always dreamed of visiting the Maldives. This is not a cheap destination, so travelers would need to come up with the amount they'd need to get there and stay for a week. Then, this person would need to wait, and save up that much before setting out.
On the other hand, some travelers already have money they set aside for adventures. The experience is more important than the destination, so they just have to plan a vacation that fits within that budget.
Either way, trip planners should set up a database on their computer and create cells for the following:
- Transport to the destination (plane, train, and bus tickets or gas)
- Transport around the destination (car rental, gas, public transport, parking)
- Entertainment (concerts, park entrance fees, sports equipment rentals, guides, museum fees)
- Souvenirs and shopping
- Pocket money
- Travel insurance
- Emergency fund (should be around 15% of the budget and allows some cushion for if people exceed their expected expenses in another area of the budget
People should write down how much they expect to spend in each category. When they finish, they'll know if they can afford their trip or not. Then, while they're traveling, to keep track of spending, budget keepers can use apps like TravelSpent, Spent, and Trabee Pocket. If they spend in excess in one area, they can cut back in another.
Credit cards are a great tool for travelers, but no one should go into debt because they had a great vacation. People should only spend the money they have. They should try and pay off bills for things like accommodation and flights before walking out the door. This means they'll be able to relax and enjoy exploring a new corner of the world.
Some people may worry about how safe it is to travel solo, especially for women. As long as people take a few precautions, traveling alone is no more dangerous than traveling in a group. For example, it's a good idea to stay in public places with new people. It's best to leave expensive jewelry and watches at home. Travelers should always hide their valuables and never give their passports to someone else.
One way to keep safe is to make sure that family and friends know travel plans. The BSafe app sends updates about travelers' locations to contacts that they select. Geosure is an app that provides crime statistics about specific neighborhoods and destinations. The State Department publishes information about international destinations on its website and app.