Our members have answers to your questions about pretty much everything travel-related. From cheap cell phone options in Canada to best backpack for traveling around Thailand, they’ve got you covered. That’s why we decided to introduce Forum Finds, a series dedicated to smart tips and strange facts we discovered in the forums.
Solo travel can be incredibly rewarding: Who figured out that transport map? You did! Who ordered their dinner entirely in Dutch? ALSO YOU! But taking that first trip by yourself can be a bit nerve-wracking, especially for women. You might be worried about whether you’ll be safe when you’re visiting a new city, or whether you’ll get bored with your own company, or whether you should travel alone at all.
Our forums are filled with people who have been there, who have had to ask themselves those same questions – and who would almost unquestionably tell you to take that trip! Here are a dozen of their best suggestions for first-time solo travelers
1. THERE IS NO PERFECT PLACE.
“There is no one perfect place for your first solo trip. The factors to consider in selecting an international destination for a solo trip are (1) which places do you feel drawn to, (2) your language skills, (3) budget, and (4) timing.” – retrofuturistic
2. START WITH A SHORT TRIP, CLOSE TO HOME.
“Have you ever gone anywhere on your own for even a couple of days? Have you had to figure out transport, the schedule, organize money, get food? Well if so, then solo travel is like that – but longer. If you haven’t done any of those, then I suggest before you make a longer term plan, do a short trip away. You will see how you feel about being alone, and you will have gained experience organizing your own logistics. Do this sort of close to home, and you will know that even if something doesn’t go quite right, you have someone not toooo far away.” – Quiltingmamma
3. DO SOME RESEARCH.
“I remember on my first solo trip, that the unknowns were the scary part of travel. So what did I do? I bought some travel books and read up on the nuts and bolts of travel, so those unknowns were not so scary. Now I’m on my 8th solo trip […] I didn’t hide in a corner about the scary thing, I put a name on what i was scared of and did my research to bring that unknown into the light.” – r c
4. TAKE PRECAUTIONS.
“The world is a somewhat different place for a solo female traveler than it is a solo male traveler, especially a young female solo traveler. Yes, it’s not fair. Yes, it’s not right. But it’s the world that we live in. And while there are a number of precautions that all solo travelers should take – male or female – the number of precautions for solo females is a longer list. Things like never leaving your drink unattended anywhere ever, and not just alcoholic drinks in bars.” – retrofuturistic
5. BE ORGANIZED—AND PACK LIGHT!
“I think the main thing about traveling alone is to make sure you have all your paperwork in order, sufficient travel funds, and means of getting local currency, since you have no one to fall back on. Also pack *light* so you don’t look vulnerable trying to haul a big suitcase around.” – suze2you
6. MAKE A PLAN FOR YOUR FIRST DAY (BUT ALLOW FOR JET-LAG).
“I’m a Senior female traveler, so take that for what it’s worth […] I tend to feel a little shy if I’m in a new city or area so I try to have a concrete plan for the first day – either a reservation for a museum exhibition or a plan for a walk such as the ones through Paris Walks or London Walks. I just walk around on my jet lagged arrival day, then start my plan on my first full day.” – D0bby
A post shared by Houston’s Newest Hostel! (@wanderstayhouston) on Feb 8, 2019 at 8:44am PST
7. STAY IN HOSTELS.
“If you are worried about being lonely, then staying in hostels is a good idea. Keep an eye out for hostels that organise things in the evening as it is a good way to make friends/travel companions that way and you might meet a group to go and see a tourist attraction with. Just be careful and use your common sense with the people you meet.” – EBC1294
8. HAVE LOCAL CASH—AND DON’T PUT ALL YOUR MONEY IN ONE PLACE.
“On my travels, I always have some local cash. What I found out is that in some places, you may need some cash or change (coins) to use a public toilet. I know its a silly thing to pay for a toilet, but when you have to go, you do what’s necessary […] Also, don’t put all of your money and cards in one place.” – r c
9. MAKE EYE CONTACT!
“Be aware of your surroundings. Keep your purse next to your body, but in front of you. DO NOT be distracted by or have your electronic toys ‘out and in use’; keep them securely stored away inside your purse. Do not be afraid to make eye contact or conversation with others. Safe travels.” – LonestarGumby
10. TRAVEL WITH A PURSE THAT CLOSES SECURELY.
“I use a purse that closes securely and I don’t put anything in my pockets. At restaurants, don’t put your bag on the floor or hang things from the back of your chair if you’re sitting in an open space. If you’re in a very crowded place, try to keep one hand on your purse. To me, a purse or travel bag is more secure than a backpack because you can keep an eye and hand on it. If you get pushed, keep a hand on your bag!” – Lisarose
11. DRESS DOWN.
“Don’t show your personal wealth. Dress down and do not wear expensive jewelry or jewelry that looks expensive. Even a small diamond ring that you have worn for years may attract unwanted attention. Don’t flash around large amounts of cash, or thousand dollar phones or expensive cameras […] The best place to carry your valuables is in a pouch under your clothes. if it is a hassle for you to get to it, it will be almost impossible for a pickpocket to get it.”– Captvic4
12. EVERYONE GETS HOMESICK.
“Yes, you will have a moment or two of depression and anxiety. Yes, you will have that moment when you suddenly think ‘What the hey did I just get myself into?” Yes, you will have a bout of homesickness. It’s natural. Modern communications technology will allow for you to talk with the people back home if you enter a period of overwhelming homesickness. Just use that as your ‘break glass in case of emergency’ moment rather than an every night thing.” – Retrofuturistic