By Rachel Diebel
Ever wanted to sail the seven seas or backpack through Europe with only your own company? It might sound intimidating (or amazing, depending!), but traveling alone can be one of the best decisions you will ever make. Everyone should experience the wonder of solo travel at least once in her life, but planning and executing an adventure can be stressful. From choosing your destination to dining alone, here is the ultimate solo travel guide for women.
There are as many reasons for traveling alone as there are people in the world. Every woman will have her own unique experience. For anyone a little nervous about the idea, however, remember that traveling alone is the perfect opportunity to challenge yourself. Taking on this adventure means that you will grow and learn more than you ever thought you would. In addition, solo travel lets you meet all kinds of new people all over the world. You won’t really be alone, you’ll be making new friends! Lastly, when you travel alone, you get to be in charge. From where you go to what you do, you can decide every step of the way.
Planning your solo adventure can be one of the most daunting things about traveling alone. However, the whole process can be simplified if you ask yourself a few questions. If you are unsure what to do on your excursion, figure out what interests you, and where it is easiest to travel, especially if its your first time going solo. The answers to these questions should give you a good idea of what you want to get out of the trip. The next step is to ask yourself how long you’d like to be there and when you want to leave. Balancing vacation time from work and peak travel seasons can be tricky, but once you get answers to those major questions, planning is a breeze.
Choosing where to go is, of course, the first question when planning a trip. With the whole world at your fingertips, how can you choose one place? Be sure to consider things like language, dress code and public transportation when choosing your location. If traveling alone makes you uncomfortable, start close to home. Once you get used to that, graduate to a bigger trip and make sure to take your newly found self-confidence with you!
The most important thing about booking flights for your trip is to do it as soon as possible. Last-minute tickets are expensive and you don’t want to start out your trip stressed about money! Airlines sell tickets directly from their websites, but if you shop around a little using price comparison sites, you should be able to buy them cheaper. If you are nervous about this aspect of your trip, travel agents can provide you with great personal service for a bit more money.
Take some time before your trip to really think about where you’d like to stay, as it can have a big influence on how your adventure goes. Staying at a resort, for instance, is a much different experience than staying at a small hostel in the city. Both can be fantastic; you just need to think about what you want. Before booking any accommodations, make sure you look up where it is and how to get there so you don’t end up stranded at a train station! The most important thing to think about when traveling alone, however, is safety. Try to check out your accommodations online, and read reviews, as much as you can to ensure that you can have a good night’s sleep.
One of the major benefits of traveling alone is the opportunity to meet the locals wherever you go. Larger groups of people traveling together often keep to themselves, but when you are alone there are many ways you can get to know the locals. Become a regular at a pub or ice cream shop. Volunteer somewhere and get out in the community. The people you come to know through these experiences could be the best part of your trip.
Depending on where you chose to stay while on your trip, you may want to consider how best to keep yourself safe while in your room. If you are sleeping at a bigger hotel or resort, you shouldn’t have to worry. In some smaller hostels however, especially in developing countries, you need to take a little more care. Simple things like keeping your key safe or bringing a rubber door stop to shut the door to your room securely will ensure that you have a spectacular time on your trip without the worry.
When traveling alone, there are a few easy steps you can take to make sure that you stay safe and have a wonderful experience. Making sure to copy all of your important documents (have a copy with you and a copy with loved ones at home) will allow you to get a new passport or ID much more quickly should they get stolen. Trust your gut about people and places that may seem unsafe–no one knows better than you how comfortable you feel! Even if you are off on a soul-searching journey, make sure that you check in with those you left at home a few times. They want to make sure that you’re safe too!
For some people, one of the hardest things about traveling solo is eating alone. It just isn’t something we are used to doing, and it can be uncomfortable. To help you feel a little more at ease, do things like carrying a book or journal to keep yourself occupied while eating, or sit at the bar so you can chat with the bartender or the people around you. Try to avoid ordering room service even if it’s tempting; it’s more expensive and you won’t get out of your room and try new and fantastic restaurants! Eating alone doesn’t have to be an awkward experience if you don’t let it!
Woman in Spain: David van der Mark via Flickr
Woman in Shiodome Tokyo: Fabrice de Nola via Flickr
Woman Holding Globe: Amy Riddle via Flickr
Woman Solo in Hotel Pool: Grand Velas Riviera Maya via Flickr
Solo Woman at Hotel: eyeliam via Flickr
Beth with Locals: WanderTours
Hotel Balcony: Sean and Lauren via Flickr
Man in peep hole: Itiro via Flickr
Solo Dining: â˜»â˜º via Flickr