How to Plan Your First Solo Trip
Solo Travel? The mere thought of it is scary and intimidating. The main concerns being absence of safety net, loneliness and boredom… But you know that it’s possibly the best gift you can give to yourself. The benefits of solo traveling are a LOT. It not only empowers you but helps you to come out of your comfort zone and boosts your self-esteem too. You may read my earlier posts on some compelling reasons to travel solo and tips for solo travel…
So, how can you keep your concerns regarding solo travel aside and take up the most wonderful adventure of your life? Well, by planning it right! Here’s how you can get started with your first solo trip…
- Start Small – You know big change starts with small steps. Before you undertake your maiden solo trip, you can first test the waters by going out for a movie or lunch at a new restaurant on your own, or you can visit the local touristy destination alone. When you have successfully done that, go on a weekend trip to a place near your city. These will help you to step outside your comfort zone. Once this is done, look out for a place that’s relatively ‘easy’ and comfortable and then work your way up from there. Yes, you don’t have to travel to the other side of the world on your first solo trip.
- Gather Information – Do extensive research. Research all that your destination has to offer and list the things that interest you the most. Check out details of the destination, hotels/BnBs/home stays, rules and regulations, maps… Read blogs to know the experiences, stories and recommendations and tips of other travelers. Women solo travelers, should check out details about the culture and traditions of the place. Do you need to dress a certain way to visit religious places? Are there certain behaviors that you can downplay to avoid problems? Check out these details.
- Make a Plan – Not knowing what to do in a new city can be terrible. Your research will help you in making your itinerary. So plan your schedule, though this plan can just act as a guide or a back-up.
- Know Yourself – If the place boasts of having the best spot for scuba diving and you are scared of water, you need not do that. Do things at your pace. Know what excites you and what puts you off. Know that you have to be cautious and responsible for yourself, so know the real you. But it’s ok to stretch your boundaries too. When I went to Kuwait, we were invited by our local hosts for dinner. They had prepared a lavish meal comprising of ducks, crabs and prawns. I am a non-vegetarian but restrict myself only to the chicken and mutton. The spread was certainly not in my comfort zone, but I ate all that was served that day. And then even tried beef and camel’s meat at a restaurant.
- Be positive. You may be scared inside or people (family and friends) may doubt you, but keep an open mind and be positive. Like they say, universe always gives you what you want. So think happy and positive thoughts. Also the place you’ll go might be a contrast to your culture, beliefs and traditions. Be open to respect and understand the differences and adapt to the given situations.
- Sign up for Group Activities – You don’t have to be all alone on your trip. You can be a part of a group guided tour to a historical place or cycling expeditions. Find opportunities to meet locals and fellow travelers and talk to them.
- Trust Your Instincts – If there’s anything that makes you uncomfortable or nervous, you don’t have to worry about being rude or weird, you just have to get out of that situation. You need to trust your gut feeling and your safety is your number one priority.
Solo travel is easier than you think, just let go of your fear and inhibitions. Believe me, taking your first solo trip might even be the catalyst to an intense and deeper love for travel.
Have you traveled solo? How has been your experience. If you haven’t, will you give it a try?
April 21, 2018 12:36 am|
I’ve travelled solo before on flights to get to other destinations where I was met. I’ve driven tout sole long distances and stayed overnight halfway. I haven’t thought of long long journeys on my own but I reckon I could, if only to know that i can-
April 21, 2018 12:49 am|
i always travel alone. sometimes i meet friends sometimes not. traveled cross country with just my dogs. taking a 10 day road trip through tennessee next month alone.
April 21, 2018 12:56 am|
Great suggestions Shilpa. One more I want to add. While staying in an unknown place solo, walk the streets with a purpose and not just wander around. This will avoid many unwanted troubles.
April 21, 2018 5:21 am|
I love travelling solo and with Internet and GPS life is even better!
April 21, 2018 5:59 am|
much of my life I traveled alone and loved going where I wanted, spending money where I wanted to, eating…
Now I have someone who is a joy to travel with.
April 21, 2018 9:40 am|
Wow.. traveling solo is both my dream and nightmare. Never done it. I am an introvert but I need my close people when I travel. An interesting prospect. It will help me come out of my comfort zone.
April 21, 2018 12:34 pm|
this is completely a package shilpa. I have never travelled solo buty would wish to. Even if i wish to, i doubt whether my family will allow me to.. One of my dare in the bucket list. hope to get it done some day!
April 21, 2018 12:46 pm|
Yup solo travel can be pretty daunting yet liberating too! I think its my favourite mode of travel now and you have identified the perfect steps to undertake it for a novice.
Great post on this one Shilpa.
S is for The Indian Sherlock Holmes #atozchallenge
April 21, 2018 1:07 pm|
I have enjoyed lunch, breakfast, ice cream alone,never went to cinema hall, don’t feel comfortable, As a single yes I did travel alone all the time as my work demanded. Recently I travelled alone to chennai and checked in the hotel, later on met my friends and attended a workshop . I travelled alone for vipassana meditation for continuously 4 years and managed quite well. I never attempted out of our country… thanks for sharing your experiences ..
April 21, 2018 1:12 pm|
Nice post with great tips to start solo travel
Thanks for sharing
April 21, 2018 3:17 pm|
I always enjoy traveling alone. Traveling is an experience that helps me to dream and be in trance.
April 21, 2018 7:33 pm|
I agree my dear solo travel boosts our self confidence multifolds. I have taken a lot of work related national and international travels but somehow I enjoy they only in company dear, may be that’s an individual need.
April 21, 2018 7:45 pm|
Your post made me think of my first solo trip to Europe. Here are my rules:
1. Take advantage of bathrooms when you see them, not necessarily when you need one.
2. Be wary, but trust in the kindness of strangers for help
3. When in Rome, follow a nun for the best things to see 🙂
April 21, 2018 8:29 pm|
I have always traveled solo – work or personal trips. It might be daunting at first, and it’s certainly simpler for some people than it is for others. But spending time alone on the road is among the most rewarding travel experiences out there. There is no need to compromise when travelling alone. No need to appease a friend’s unfortunate craving for an overpriced burger and fries, or their incessant complaints about mosquito bites in a jungle where you’re on travel cloud 9. As a lonesome wanderer you travel where you want, when and however you want to – all with a liberating degree of indulgence.
April 21, 2018 8:59 pm|
I’m stuck on that first step–trying a lunch alone. I have trouble going to meetings alone!
OK, I’m thinking about this.
April 21, 2018 9:51 pm|
I cannot believe I’ve forgotten to mention how timely your theme for this year is. I have a neice who is going to live in another country for 3 years and who has never traveled to another country in her life. She’s just turned 21. I have plans to share much of your writings to her as soon as she’s settled in and has reliable internet connections. So all your efforts are much appreciated!
April 21, 2018 10:38 pm|
I really want to take a solo trip this year. Your post provided the perfect motivation that I needed. Thanks for sharing these amazing tips 🙂
April 21, 2018 10:43 pm|
Such helpful tips and suggestions. I’ve done some short solo traveling, but not any great long trips. But I agree it’s both confidence-boosting and an opportunity to do things exactly the way you want.
April 21, 2018 11:00 pm|
Travelling solo is like lot of time to think and also discover your spirituality at different parts of world.
April 21, 2018 11:26 pm|
Okay, don’t laugh, but I have done as you suggested at the beginning of this post. I went on a date with myself to a mall half an hour from where I stay. I had lunch, spent time at the bookshop there, indulged in some window shopping and returned home after a few hours — relaxed and rejuvenated, and feeling fantastic!!
I do wish to go on a solo trip to, maybe Pune, for starters. I guess I can do that, too. It’s just the fear, you know, that does not leave me in peace! Yaar, Mumbai to Pune if I can manage in a bus, I will be jubilant! 😛
April 22, 2018 12:01 am|
After my first solo trip to UK in 2010, which happened quite by accident when a friend I was to go with backed out, I was hooked! I now travel solo domestically as well as internationally and absolutely love it. My favourite post of your A2Z series so far!
April 22, 2018 1:55 am|
I have been to shopping alone in India few times, but that never felt fun. Then I ate alone, and somewhere I felt too sad eating alone especially outside home!
Until I am not shopping for clothes, I am fine doing it alone. 😀
But those pointers are great, I will share this with people who are planning their solo trips. And probably one day, I may end up planning it for my self. 😀
April 22, 2018 1:12 pm|
Honestly, this is something I’ve never wanted to do. I’ve traveled alone for months together on work and it has been one hell of a boring experience. No matter how beautiful the place is, without having someone to talk to or share it with, the experience falls flat.
I’ve seen a lot of people advocating it, mostly women, but it doesn’t lure me enough.
April 22, 2018 5:03 pm|
Solo travels are fun, they are a liberating and exhilarating experience. I have had few Solo travels before daughter was born, and each one of those were amazing. Taught me new lessons and filled with confidence.
Great checklist for first time Solo travelers.
April 23, 2018 12:41 am|
Yes travelled solo. That’s a different level of power, freedom & responsibility 🙂
April 23, 2018 10:32 am|
I agree travelling solo, requires that bit of planning. So that one doesnt get lonely on the road as well is do complete justice to the travel.
April 23, 2018 1:45 pm|
Very practical suggestions. I have never been out on a movie date with myself ever, or lunch for that matter. Yet all i do is fantasize Elizabeth Gilbert’s solo travel in three countries. And Queen- Kangana Ranaut’s adventures in Amsterdam.
It’s time to start small now atleast, and stop just dreaming things. Thanks for this awesome piece.
Studio Ghibli: Favorite Movies
April 23, 2018 5:51 pm|
I really like travelling solo and I do pretty well everything on your list. My first trip, however, was totally unplanned – all I did was to book a flight from London to .Delhi without as much as a hotel chosen for the first night! It was one of the best holidays I’ve ever had!
A-Z of My Friend Rosey!
April 23, 2018 7:22 pm|
most of my life has been a solo trip… i would really prefer to find someone to travel with 🙂
April 23, 2018 10:35 pm|
I’ve traveled by myself in the past. I was with people when I got to my destination, however. The last big adventure that I experienced was language school and a volunteer project in Ecuador. It was good but I really would prefer to have a traveling companion.
April 24, 2018 10:11 am|
Excellent tips and insights, Shilpa.
I am loving this atoz series of yours.
April 24, 2018 11:01 am|
I have never travelled solo, but would like to. Just to see how it feels like to. I am sure to follow your tips and insights, when I do. An awesome post, once again, Shilpa!
April 24, 2018 3:04 pm|
I have made two solo trips from South Africa to America to attend writers’ conferences. All I can say is, it’s scary! The first time I was away from home for five weeks and traveled to see many of my cyber friends. In the entire five weeks I didn’t meet one person whom I’d ever met before in the flesh. That was fun. But I did miss my husband by my side! S is for Stress and how it helps Improve your life, Improve your mind.
April 24, 2018 4:50 pm|
Sound advice, all of it!
May 24, 2018 12:54 pm|
Thank you so much for sharing a great information. I appreciate your time and effort in your work. Keep posting.
May 29, 2018 2:57 pm|
So that one doesnt get lonely on the road as well is do complete justice to the travel.