These easy tips will help you to have a good start on your solo journey!
Being independent and having the freedom to go wherever you want to go. Spending time alone and growing in experiences and ideas. Building up self confidence and meeting new people from all over the world. Yes, there are countless reasons to travel solo.
However as exciting as it sounds. Not knowing what to expect in a new destination for the first couple of days can be a bit worrying for many travelers. Not only for you but for your family as well. The dream of the big move turns into reality. You wake up and notice that the beginning is a lot of planning and organizing.
Sometimes it even happens that people put their travel plans aside because they simply just don’t know how to start or what to expect. But if you never have the courage to start how will you ever know?
The good news is that it sounds more scary than it actually is. So don’t worry, you will be totally fine!
The first couple of days traveling are the most important ones, because you will always remember how your journey began.
To make your start as smooth and easy as possible here are some easy tips you can do before and after departure.
Book a day tour in a group at your destination
I can highly recommend you to go on a guided tour within the first few days on your trip. In most destinations you will be able to do some tours that are not expensive. They are mostly fun, you get to know the area and can socialize with other travelers. Some tours are just designed for young people or backpackers. There are so many options to choose from, like half day city tours, walking or cycling tours or day trips to some popular attractions. Ask at the reception of your accommodation what options they offer.
Sign up for a language course
Traveling somewhere people speak no English or you are not familiar with their language? Then why not signing up for a language class to learn some basics and words that will help you on your trip? It is a lot of fun and you get to know new people, perhaps also other travelers. Just inform yourself if there are language schools at your destination and if they offer short term courses.
Book accommodation with good reviews
To make yourself feel comfortable check out some reviews before you book your accommodation. During the first days it is important that the place you stay at makes you feel safe and welcoming. There is nothing worse than checking into some creepy and messy hole, where people are unfriendly, that you wanna leave as soon as possible again and think your whole trip was a bad idea. Trust me I have been there and it’s no fun.
Also if a place sounds good I am also happy to pay a bit more, as long as it makes me feel comfortable.
For example, I don’t like to check into a party hostel where people drink all day and night and where the music is playing 24/7. I don’t mind partying at all, but it should not be at the place where I stay. Instead I prefer cozy, small guesthouses or hostels with a kind of home atmosphere.
Prepare for your flights and stop overs
Check in advance how long before take off you have to be at the airport. Have you packed all essential items in your carry on luggage to have a comfortable flight? How many layovers do you have and how long are they? Have you thought about comfy clothes and enough entertainment? The best if you make a list and tick off everything to make sure you have not forgotten anything.
Plan your transport from the airport to the hotel
If you are not sure how to get from the airport to your accommodation contact them in advance. They can help you to arrange transportation or what’s the best way getting there. After a long flight you gonna be very tired and happy about a smooth ride. Same with taxis. If the fare is within your budget, why not?
Prepare your finances
Check with your bank if you gonna be able to withdraw and pay with your credit and debit cards and how much transaction fees you have to pay. In that case you avoid some unexpected and expensive surprises.
Always carry some cash
What you should NOT do at airports is to exchange currency, because they will rip you off. Either do that before your trip or withdraw some cash at an ATM at the airport.
Always have some cash with you when traveling. It could be that in some places like buses or taxis they only accept cash. Even in some restaurants don’t expect them to take every credit cards.
Get a local sim card
That should be the first thing you should do after arriving at your destination. Get a local sim card with some data as soon as possible. If there are some shops at the airport you can get it right after leaving the plane. But why so early?
Simply because it will give you a secure feeling and WIFI is not available everywhere. If anything happens with your transportation you are able to call a taxi or your accommodation for help. Or to access Google maps for orientation. The prices at the airports for sim cards are mostly the same as anywhere else.
Ask at the reception for a walking map around the area
Go out and explore the area. Maybe you find a nice café to unwind after your journey or you go to the next beach or explore the city. Get to know your surrounding and just enjoy your time.
Contact your family at home asap
That is one of the first things you should do. Talking to your parents after your trip will let you relax and feel happy a lot. It is just nice to hear a familiar voice after your journey and to let them know that you are ok and arrived safe.
Get to know people with other nationalities
From day one when you travel you gonna meet a lot of people from different places all over the world. Of course it can happen that you also meet people from your own country. However try not to stick to groups of people who originally are from the same place.
Be open minded to talk to people with different backgrounds and languages. Especially if you travel to a country where you are forced to learn a new language.
Same with people from Europe or countries where English is not the main language. If you wanna stay with people from your own home country you don’t need to travel. That´s not the point.
Smile, be friendly and get to know new friends from ALL over the world.
Write down your new impressions, emotions and things you have done in a diary
To be honest, i never was a fan of writing a diary in my life. However that changed with the first day of my solo trip. There is simply so much happening, new places, new impressions, new feelings, that you might feel overwhelmed first. Start to write a travel diary, so you can always remember those first days of your solo trip. No matter if you continue writing for the whole duration of your trip, but the first days are always the most memorable ones.
Even now, many years after my first trip, when i read my diary again it transports me back to the most exciting days in my life. And every time I just can´t stop reading until the end.
Your first days traveling alone
As you can see there is not much to worry about during your first days traveling. All it takes is a bit of preparation and organizing and you will have a great start of your journey.
I hope these tips where helpful for you as well.
For more solo travel tips check out these articles:
I would like to hear from you in the comments what you do to prepare for a journey and your first days in a new destination. Do you remember your first days in a new country? What was your first impression? What did you do and was there anything you wish you would have known before?
Share your story with others!