How to Prepare Yourself for Your First Solo Adventure
Always fancied spreading your wings and flying off on a solo adventure but not quite found the right perch to take the leap from? It’s understandable: each year over 75,000 people decide to go it alone and book a solo trip. Solo travel can be a daunting experience for a first timer though. But, with these tips and tricks, you’ll learn how to prepare yourself for your first solo adventure, and we guarantee it’ll make booking that ticket a little bit easier.
Start With a Ton of Research
As a first time solo traveler, it’s probably nerves holding you back more than anything else, which means research is key to ensure you get the most out of your first solo adventure. Researching the best countries to visit as a solo traveler, as well as the best hostels for solo travelers to meet other likeminded individuals is the most important first step to take. Throwing a dart at a map of the world may look like fun in the movies, but you don’t want to end up in the back streets of a country you’ve never heard of looking for your accommodation.
Safety is Key
This once in a lifetime adventure is something that will take a lot of preparation, and nailing the basics is the first step towards a safe solo trip. Wen you’re researching your country, check for crime rates, check what other travelers are saying, and check whether the country has a good background when it comes to the police and healthcare. You want to know that you’re in safe hands should something unexpected happen. It’s the same with your accommodation; does it have great testimonials from other solo travelers? Have the people in charge of the accommodation been running it for years and have a good track record? Research is key.
Create an Itinerary
Once you’ve nailed your research and found one or two places you’d like to visit, it’s time to make an itinerary. Uh-oh, I hear all you pantsers screaming in agony at that one, and all the planners fist pumping. If you are a pantser, it’s definitely time to grit your teeth and work through this important planning stage. Would it make it any easier if I told you you didn’t have to make a concrete itinerary?
Creating a (rough) plan can save you a lot of hassle when you arrive at your destination, which is fantastic for a nervous first timer. Writing down important times for flights, trains, or busses, or even making a spreadsheet tracking your expenses can help you feel a little more at ease and in control of everything going on when you’re in a new country. Plus, linking in with our safety talk from the last point: always make a copy of your plan to give to your family and friends back home. They should know where you plan to be at all times. And if things change – make sure you let them know. Should anything happen to you, it’s important that someone trustworthy knows your whereabouts.
Write Down Important Details
Whether it’s for your accommodation, a few of the local amenities, or in fact the police station, doctors, or hospital, having important names, numbers, and addresses stored somewhere safe (and passed onto trusted family members) is a sure fire way to keep you as safe and secure as possible on your journey.
Learn a Few Lines of the Native Language
Look, no one’s expecting you to be able to belt out the national anthem, or have a full blown conversation with locals, but learning a few lines of the native language of the country you’re visiting can not only make locals like you a lot more, but can save you the trouble of using your hands and feet to try and find help or buy something in a shop. Plus, it’s only polite to learn how to say please and thank you, and to not expect everyone you come into contact with to speak English.
Important things that you may want to learn include: how to order in a restaurant, how to pay for groceries or souvenirs, and how to ask for help. On top of that, learning numbers, days of the week, and months of the year can also come in handy. Why not download DuoLingo, or pick up a phrase book to help you master a few lines before you set off?
Let’s Talk Cash
It’s no one’s favourite thing to talk about, but thinking about the initial funding of your trip, plus the cash you’ll be taking with you is truly important. As we already covered above, spreadsheets can be super helpful when dealing with money. An initial spreadsheet to track your savings that’ll go towards your trip, then a breakdown of the difference in currency and how much that leaves you to live off day-by-day would also be a great place to start.
Some countries are cheaper in than others, that’s for sure. For example, if you’re heading to certain countries in Asia like Thailand and Vietnam for example, you’ll find you’ll spend much less than if you were heading to Australia or New Zealand, and your cost for the entire trip will change. Having an idea of how much you should, or can spend on your solo trip will help you squirrel away emergency funds and spending money a little bit more fairly.
Prepare for memories
If you’ve gotten this far, congratulations, you’re about to embark on one of the coolest experiences in your life. Are you prepared for the memories you’ll make?
Whether you’re a dab hand with your camera, or prefer pen and paper, paintbrushes and a sketchbook or collecting souvernirs, you should make a promise to yourself to capture your solo trip in a way that’s personal to you. Having mementos from your journey are physical moments captured forever. Pack light on your journey, but don’t forget to add your own personal memory making materials to your backpack.
If you’re a lady looking for a little more inspiration and a few more ideas, check out some of our earlier blog posts; this one, all about the safest countries for female solo travelers, this one, with the top pieces of advice we have for female solo travelers, and this one for the benefits of traveling solo.