I’m equally comfortable traveling solo or with others. What I like best about traveling alone is that I can follow my own path. I’ve done it for a while now, so I’m pretty comfortable almost anywhere. If you’re thinking about taking a trip alone and never tried before, there are some ways to make it an adventure. At the end of this post, I link to my other solo travel posts if you need more tips.
Discover secret spots by getting to know people that work at stores, in hotels or security guards, taxi drivers, and bartenders. If I’m staying at a hotel, I always grab a drink at the hotel’s bar. Bartenders have the scoop on things to do, and if you feel nervous dining alone for the first time, you have someone to talk to while you grab a drink or snack.
Learn from those who live in the country you’re visiting. Make it a point to avoid other travelers occasionally and start conversations with people that live there. People across the world speak basic English, so it’s easier to communicate than you might think. Hand gestures and body language also help express messages.
If you feel uncomfortable talking to strangers or think people seem unfriendly, try making eye contact and smiling. If they smile back, say hello in their language and take it from there.
Make new friends. You can couchsurf for a place to stay, or if you’re not comfortable doing that, try citysocializer.com. Through this site, you can find people to meet up with for dinner, drinks or a show.
Choose your adventure
Try to do things that push you outside of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be something extreme like bungee jumping or cliff diving. It could be anything you wouldn’t consider doing at home like singing in front of strangers or taking lessons doing something you’ve never tried. You might be surprised to discover what you’re capable of when no one is watching.
Try volunteering or lending a hand
The smallest acts of kindness are always appreciated, no matter where you are in the world. It can be as small as opening a door, helping someone that is elderly to walk across the street or taking a picture. You can even volunteer some of your time while you’re there. It’s not only rewarding, but you’ll learn more about the country and its people. It can also help you make new friends.
Grassrootsvolunteering.org recommends volunteer opportunities around the world.
Don’t skip the dining journey
If you feel awkward eating in a restaurant alone, try to force yourself to go into them. You don’t want to miss out on fantastic food and culture because of it. Some of my favorite parts of travel are my dining experiences. People that work at the restaurant are easy to chat with, and can also recommend some great meals. You may want to start off by eating at the bar and work your way to a table if you’re really uncomfortable.
Resist touristy restaurants when you do go
Taste a bit of everything when you travel. Each country has its specialties. Ask people for recommendations. Try staying away from touristy locations to get more authentic tasting food. Tourist spots sometimes make the food a bit different than you would normally find; it helps appeal to a broader range of taste.
Don’t take yourself too seriously
Don’t be afraid to mess up. You’ll most likely do something foolish at least once when you’re visiting a new place. I learned a long time ago not to get embarrassed. Instead, I laugh at myself. Try it! Laughing at yourself is much better than feeling bad or shame over doing something you might think is silly.
These are some of the things I have tried traveling alone. What are some of your ideas?
For some other posts on solo travel, I’ve written: