Hello everyone! In this post I want to share a few tips that I myself have been using for quite a while now while traveling solo. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I'm always traveling and sadly enough to say that although I'm not visiting many countries in my travels I have definitely visited a good amount of cities in North America. Primarily cities all across the entire eastern coast, parts of the west coast and a couple of cities in Canada and the Midwest. 8/10 I am by myself... I mean of course if you have been keeping up with my blog about long distance relationships you'll know that once I reach most of my destinations I have friends waiting for me :)
Traveling alone? Are you used to traveling with your parents? Perhaps a better question is, are you currently dependent on anyone? Do you rely on your parents or older siblings for help with everything or are you too shy or scared to get things done on your own?
One of the biggest challenges you'll face when traveling alone is having to make decisions all by yourself. Doesn't sound so hard right? Well it's really not, unless of course you're dependent on others. If you haven't traveled alone just yet, now is a good time to practice being out an about by yourself... Try this.
Book a few activities for you to do by yourself in your city and take an entire day to do these things, but take it up another notch and try using public transportation, limit the use of your cell phone or your friends for advice. This will be a great way to get you acquainted with your behavior in the future.
2. Do You Research!:
Knowing everything you possibly could about the destination you're visiting before actually getting there will make a world a difference. A couple of weeks prior to your departure try this:
Get Online and read "Things to do" in that city
Visit TripAdvisor and read the reviews
Go on that City'sWebsite (Ex. NewYork.com) Read about transportation services, prices, crime rate, holidays and major events going on in that city
Read about the bad areas so you know where to stay away from
Most Importantly! research the cost of living, or the average amount of money tourist spend in that city.
3. Streets Smart:
Ive been on plenty of solo trips and have had my share of creepy encounters, and I'm not talking about spiders 😒. Knowing how to handle yourself in a sticky situation can save you a bunch... It'll save you from getting robbed, killed, humiliated or beat up. Try These:
Learn to say NO! I gotta admit I'm not always the best at this but being in enough situations where i had to say No, it kind of made me an expert. If you're walking in a busy city 9/10 you'll come across people in some of the busy areas that are trying to sell you something. In most cases its best to just say NO. A perfect example was in NYC, I was on my merry way and some guy handed me CD... to my knowledge thats free.. however the guy followed me and continued to demand 20$. I tried giving him back the CD but he wouldn't take it... he actually tried to fight me... I simply placed the CD on top of a mailbox and walked into a busy store to avoid any confrontation.
Know how to talk with people. If you're a good talker the chances of you getting good deals are going to be higher. In most cases If you're offered something in a busy tourist area you'll have a greater chance of talking your way into some perks or getting a couple of dollars off. Of course you can't talk your way into a free meal at a restaurant... unless the waitress has the hots for you :P
Know when to walk away. If you find yourself in a bad neighborhood or you see something fishy going on, simply turn around or walk the other way. try not to draw any attention to yourself and don't look so nervous either. For extra protection i always carry something sharp with me... Keys, pen, or small pocket knife.
4. Know Somebody!:
Knowing somebody in the city you're visiting will have many benefits. You'll save time and money and you'll have someone who can give you a real experience of that city as a local rather than just spending time in the touristic areas.
5. Get A Camera:
Buy a camera! It's worth the investment. Trust me, I've been on many trips where I wish I would've had my camera with me to capture memories that I wish I can share with my loved ones. If you can't afford to buy a camera that's ok, try using a New generation IPod or your smartphone!
6. Sit. Breathe. Take It All In:
This is probably the most important tip of the bunch. Countless trips have been shared with many people whether friends or family and the downside to them have been the fact that I was with them. Don't get me wrong, taking trips with people is fun and better in some cases, however the downside is that in most cases they are trying to do so much in so little time or they can't agree on what to do.
Youll sometimes find yourself doing so much that you forget why you went on vacation in the first place, and it can become overwhelming or stressful. That's why when I travel alone I make sure I take maybe 1-2 hours throughout the day, everyday and I just sit and relax and observe everything.
I'll use that time to really zone out and forget about bills, friends, family problems, school etc... I'll use the time to really think about myself and what I want in life or just go over how much I've accomplished. It's called "Me" time or "you" time.
Think of it has creative time to find yourself and figure out what direction you want to go in life, think about positive thoughts. Another helpful thing to do is to write things down. Don't forget to look around and "take it all in"