Traveling solo is scary, challenging, stressful, invigorating, and wonderful, all at the same time. Being alone in a foreign destination helps you to grow in ways that you never thought possible. While it may not be for everyone, most people will find that once they’ve traveled alone once, they want to do it again.
If you are embarking on a solo trip, it’s best to do some research and avoid the classic mistakes that all first-timers tend to make. Your first solo trip won’t be perfect, but you can avoid some major common blunders if you’re prepared! Check out our list below of mistakes to avoid when traveling solo.
10 Flashing Your Wealth
Flashing your wealth is never a good idea when you’re traveling, but it’s especially silly when you’re traveling by yourself. Showing off how much money you have makes you a target for thieves, and traveling solo makes you that much more vulnerable. Not a good combination!
Remember that what you don’t consider a big deal could be considered very expensive in another country. Things like iPhones, tablets, and even jewelry might seem normal to you, but in some countries, people will take these items to mean that you have unlimited money.
9 Being Too Shy To Speak Up Or Be Assertive
You don’t get anywhere in life if you’re too afraid to speak up for yourself. While you can get away with being shy and overly agreeable when you’re traveling with someone else, you have to take control and be assertive when you’re by yourself. If not, you won’t get the things you want.
In some countries, if you’re not assertive, people just won’t leave you alone. You won’t be able to cross the street because you’ll be politely waiting for the traffic to stop (it won’t—you have to cut through). Don’t be afraid to speak up when you need or want something.
8 Staying In Hotels Instead Of Hostels
The decision of whether to stay in a hotel or hostel should ultimately come down to the type of traveler you are. Some people are better suited to hotels while others are better suited to hostels. But if you’re a solo traveler, we recommend staying in a hostel.
Hostels are perfect for meeting new friends when you’re on the road by yourself. The opportunity to mingle with others might never come along in a hotel. But in a hostel, you’ve got communal dining rooms and dorms and social events. These will help you to stay connected with others and meet friends on your travels.
7 Staying Somewhere Without Free WiFi
In the world we live in today, WiFi is important to every kind of traveler. But it is especially important to solo travelers. You will rely on WiFi more than you would if you were with someone else. You might have a bunch of solo travel apps that you need to use, or you might have your itinerary information stored on your cloud. So it’s a mistake to stay somewhere that doesn’t offer free WiFi.
If nothing else, you’ll need WiFi to stay in touch with the people that you miss and to let them know where you are. It’s a necessity, so make sure you have access to it!
6 Not Doing At Least One Tour
Tours are another great way of meeting people when you’re by yourself on your travels. Even if you’re not the type of person who enjoys being led by a tour guide, it’s a mistake to not do a single tour when you’re traveling by yourself. It’s important to maintain that connection with other people, and tours are such a great opportunity for connecting with others.
Even if you think you don’t like tours, there are so many different types of tours that you could do. Think walking tours, cycling tours, historical tours, food tours, and the list goes on.
5 Only Eating In Your Room
For some reason, society seems to have this obsession with being too afraid to eat alone in public. That’s why some solo travelers are too scared to eat at local restaurants by themselves and simply order room service so they don’t have to be seen in public eating.
The truth is other diners are actually too consumed in their own lives to judge you for eating alone. And if they are judging you, a total stranger, for doing something that requires confidence, how sad for them! Don’t let this silly fear keep you from enjoying delicious food and dining experiences during your travels.
4 Not Learning The Local Language
When you travel by yourself, you have to take extra care to make things as easy as possible for yourself. This often means learning a few words in the local language of your destination. Knowing a few key phrases will help you communicate with locals when you need help. It will also portray you more positively in the eyes of locals, who will be more inclined to help you than they would if you were an ignorant, disrespectful tourist.
You don’t need to become fluent. Just a few keywords and phrases will help you more than you think!
3 Not Researching Your Destination In Advance
You know what they say: knowledge is power. The more you know about your destination, the more power you have and the less likely you’ll be caught off guard. Of course, you can never know the true feel of a place until you get there, but by researching the basics before you go, you’ll be better equipped to handle anything that comes your way.
For example, researching will tell you which areas to stay away from because they’re not safe. It will also tell you about the best modes of transport, where to eat, and silly mistakes not to make in your destination!
2 Never Asking For Help Or Directions
Solo travel certainly makes you more independent. But even so, you’ll still have to seek help from others every now and then. There will be certain things that you just can’t do for yourself, and that’s okay. Sometimes you just need to ask for help. There’s no shame in that.
Coming under the umbrella of asking for help is asking for directions. In some destinations, Google Maps will only get you so far and you might have to as a local for assistance. Use your best judgment when deciding who to ask, and then ask confidently.
1 Ignoring What Your Gut Tells You
Traveling solo will give you plenty of opportunities to tune into your inner voice and make decisions. You might not have anybody else there to ask, so you’ll have to find the clarity within yourself. Your gut reaction to something is usually the right one, so ignoring it is a mistake.
If you have a bad feeling about a certain person that wants to buy you a drink, trust it. If you feel that you shouldn’t walk down that dark street, then don’t. Don’t ignore what your gut tells you. Often, it’s the best form of guidance!